Originally posted on Blogger on August 16, 2011
Every time I’ve ended up in the Dr. Phillips area recently, I’ve spotted Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and thought about how I needed to try it the next time we went out to eat. Of course, my silly overloaded brain always forgot when the time came to choose. So, just imagine how excited I was when I got the opportunity to try them out last night! I brought my dad with me (he is a fellow foodie and also a lover of beer, so it was perfect), and I have to say, we had an absolute blast. We were overwhelmed by the quality of both the service and the food.
We had gone in planning to try two of their newer items, the roasted cauliflower pizza and the craft beers. Try those we did, but we also got to try several of their other menu items during our meal. First we sampled two of their salad options: the classic Italian salad and the mozzarella and tomato salad. This may sound silly, but I could not believe how good the Italian salad was. If I hadn’t known I needed to save room for more food, I would have devoured the entire thing. It was not your normal house salad at all, as it had basics like romaine lettuce and red onion slices but was then embellished with garbanzo beans, olives (pitted!! Hooray!!), hard-boiled egg slices, and even gorgonzola cheese (on the side, and it is an extra addition; I highly suggest getting it). Not only did it have these extras, the simple vinegarette was delicious. Seriously. Freakin’ AWESOME. The mozzarella and tomato salad was also wonderfully fresh tasting. I don’t normally like raw tomatoes, but I ate the entire thing. The combination of the fresh (and generously sliced!) mozzarella, tomato, green pepper, and basil was perfectly balanced. Try it. Go. Now. Do it.
Next we sampled two of Anthony’s “Italian Soul Food” options and the coal oven roasted chicken wings. The wings are, as indicated in their name, roasted in one of the restaurant’s two coal ovens and come out with a ridiculously crispy texture. I am not much of a chicken wing fan myself, but I did find these very tasty and I loved the perfectly caramelized onions and foccacia bread that accompanied them. My dad did say that the wings he sampled were a bit dry or overcooked, but that the flavors surrounding them were very good.
We also tried the meatballs with ricotta cheese and the pork ribs with vinegar peppers. My dad positively devoured the ribs. He could not stop raving about them, both before and after we left the restaurant. I did not try them, but according to him they were insanely tender, fall off the bone, and they, unlike many barbeque pork ribs, actually tasted of pork (imagine that!). They are not your “typical” pork rib, and that, I think, is one of the reasons he enjoyed them so much. Instead of having a sauce that disguised the flavor of the meat, this white wine and vinegar sauce enhanced it.
The meatballs, though….the meatballs, along with the classic Italian salad, were my favorite of the night. The plate that came to our table had two large meatballs (you can also order four….I may have to, next time) resting on a bed of super delicious marinara sauce, with a scoop of creamy ricotta cheese nestled next to them. The meatballs were just….so moist, so tender, so flavorful, SO GOOD. Did I mention they were amazing? It took everything I had not to scarf them both down. The best way to eat them (in this blogger’s opinion, anyway)? Slice off a piece of meatball with your fork, add a scoop of ricotta, dip in sauce, and EAT. So yum. The only TINY complaint I have is that the ricotta was very cold when it came to the table. I imagine that is to keep it fresh in the kitchen, but it did make for a weird temperature contrast on first bite. Order these. Because I said so.
Finally….finally, there is the pizza. Did we try just the roasted cauliflower pizza? Of course not. These gluttons for deliciousness had to sample the traditional pie, too. The people sitting around us must have thought we were nuts, the amount of food we had on our table, but we didn’t care. Guys, this food was good. The roasted cauliflower pizza was super flavorful, with a strong garlicky flavor that somehow managed to not overpower the taste of the roasted cauliflower. It was topped with toasted breadcrumbs which added a yummy crunch to the pizza. If you are a veggie and garlic lover, this is absolutely the way to go.
When it comes to pizza, especially New York style pizza, I am absolutely a purist. Cheese, sauce, and maybe a topping or two. I want to taste the crust, I want to taste the cheese, I want to taste the tomato-y goodness. The traditional pizza at Anthony’s provided me with just that. The crust is so crisp and perfect (or “well done” as their slogan proclaims), the tomato sauce tastes so fresh, and the mozzarella cheese is so melty and stringy and delicious….y.
My dad also got a chance to sample a couple of Anthony’s craft beers, and he both loved the flavors and got a kick out of one of the names. The first that he tried was Arrogant Bastard Ale, by Stone Brew Breweries. He said it was similar to other beers he has tried in the past, just…hoppier. Plus, in a pint bottle and at 7.5%, it packed a bit of a punch.
The second beer was Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Label One. This beer made me wish I could drink. It had a creamy look and texture to it, and it smelled almost like…fermented cream soda. I don’t even like beer and I wanted to try this one! Dad said it was nothing like any beer he had ever tasted (and trust me, my dad has tried a lot of different beers, craft included, over the years). This one was even stronger, at 9%, and came in a 1 pint, 9 fl oz bottle! He didn’t manage to finish that one, and it was definitely a good thing that I drove!
|Dad, savoring his beer and pizza|
The food at a restaurant can be phenomenal, but if the service and atmosphere don’t match it, I’m left sorely disappointed. Luckily, Anthony’s excels at both. The decor feels like a traditional pizza joint with a bit more class, to me. The black and white photos on the wall are great, as is the woodwork and the semi-open kitchen. The only thing that I would change, and it is strictly personal opinion, is the televisions that are scattered around. They tend to give it a bit more of a sports bar feel than an Italian restaurant, but because the sound was muted they didn’t bother me.
The service was….awesome. Deborah, the manager, made us feel welcome from the moment we sat down, and our server, Billy, just went above and beyond. He is passionate about craft beers himself, so my dad had a field day chatting with him about all of the options and the various flavor nuances in the beers that he tried. Not only that, he was attentive but not too attentive, and was able to anticipate when we needed something.
I also got a chance to get a glimpse of the coal ovens that are used to make the majority of their dishes, including all of the pizzas and the chicken wings. They keep the ovens running all day, at a temperature of 800-900 degrees (aiming for about 850). All of their vegetables and other ingredients are prepped daily, not frozen or pre-prepared, and it absolutely shows. There is clearly pride taken in everything that comes out of that kitchen.
Deborah runs an amazing show at this Anthony’s location, and if you haven’t been before (or if it has been awhile since you’ve visited) I would highly encourage that you go try them out. Just as it says on the wall, and on their takeout boxes, their pizza is absolutely “well done.”
Disclaimer: I know the photos stink. My camera wasn’t charged, and my iPhone wasn’t too fond of the lighting. The photos on Anthony’s website are a bazillion times better. Go look for yourself.
Disclosure: Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza provided our meal free of charge, but the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.