|BricknFire Pizza from opening day|
On my list for this summer is an afternoon walk up a shady trail from Main Street to brick oven pizza.
The new BricknFire Pizza is operating from the parking lot of the Breadery in Oella. The bakery is worth a walk on its own, but BricknFire is running a portable pizza oven that takes the place up a notch. It all sits next to the Trolley Line #9 trail that runs up a shaded hill from downtown Ellicott City up into Oella.
When I wanted to try last weekend, BricknFire was out at winery. But friend of the blog Adam checked out some pies at the early May opening, and he sent me a thoughtful piece that talked up the good:
There’s a lot to like about BricknFire Pizza, but there are still some elements to work out. Set outside the rustic façade of the Breadery and adjacent to the Trolley Trail, Brick’n Fire has a pastoral ambiance which bolsters the ethos of rustic, Neapolitan style pizza. Based on my initial tasting, they’re not far from it.
The opening day menu consisted of three pizzas; Cheese ($9), Margherita ($10), and Soppressata ($10). A brochure promises various “Chef Creation” pizzas at “market price” for the future, although specifics weren’t enumerated on.
I chose the Margherita and was delighted to see the pizza come out with a few fat air pockets and a number of charred spots dotting the outside of the crust. The pizza, about 10-inches or so, received an eight cut slicing, which I thought was unnecessary. My first thought when taking a bite was the dough had amazing flavor in the areas where the char hadn’t completely overtaken the crust. The dough has definitely been fermented and developed, but in spots it wasn’t just charred, it was burned and left a bitter taste. Judging by the one entire pizza I saw in the trash and the comments by the man rotating the pizzas in the oven, I’m guessing there are still inconsistencies to work out when it comes to getting the pizzas just right. Likewise, the four slices of basil on my pie was scorched beyond taste; a big no-no for a Margherita.
|The pizza oven|
The good news is that the sauce is very flavorful, and the mozzarella is some of the best I’ve had on a pizza in my entire life. I asked where the sourced their mozzarella from and unfortunately couldn’t nail down a purveyor, but the cheese is milky-sweet with a touch of whole-milk richness that really rounds out. And, unlike some pies I’ve had at Facci, it doesn’t bleed excess water onto the crust. The sauce tends to the sweet side—necessary given the charring—but it had good balance and a bright tomato flavor. It’s definitely a light, lunch-style pizza, and one which most people should be capable of polishing off without problem.Seriously, the walk up the Trolley #9 Trail is just beautiful, and it's spectacular on a hot day because the thick trees keep the trail much cooler than most other places you could walk. Call the Breadery to confirm that the pizza oven is firing that day. But I promise that the breads and other items at the Breadery are worth the walk as well.
Overall, Brickn Fire shows promise, but it leaves me wanting more. The pizza felt maybe a dollar or two overpriced, and it could have used a few more slices of mozzarella and basil (of the non-burnt variety). More importantly, I hope the guys manning the fire can get a better feel for their flames because burning such a flavorful dough, even if only in spots, brings down what otherwise is a great pie. I’m also hopeful the team will experiment with some seasonal and nontraditional flavors. Now that the county had Coalfire and Facci, it’s time to accept that old world style pizza isn’t at a premium anymore, meaning somebody has to step outside the sometimes narrow confines of topping combinations. I’ll continue to monitor Brick’n Fire Pizza because as a concept, they’ve got real promise. Now, it’s time for the hard part: consistent execution and innovation.
I have been out of commission for weeks with travel and illness. I'm trying to start up again, and I'll do a bunch of short posts about news that happened when I was home. This way, people will be able to find the posts if they're looking for a specific restaurant. Check them all out by clicking on Reset May 2014.