after4ever (230) Brier, Washington | April 7, 2014
64 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 7/10 SELECTION 9/15 FOOD 8/10 VALUE 7/10 OVERALL 12/20
I know at least one person who considers this the best pizza in Seattle, and heís a maniac for good food, so take my indifference with a grain of salt.
This is a very fun and cool place to hang out and have a beer and eat some pizza. They have a bar and restaurant side, so kids can tag along. Itís in a very cool reclaimed space--gotta love Georgetown and what a great job this neighborhood does of reusing existing buildings to float new businesses.
The place has two big rooms. The all-ages side has tons of tables with bright orange plastic chairs; the bar side is a mishmash of booths and tables laid out around a cool rounded bar. The decorations are pretty much a mishmash of whatever they could find at a good price, with an eye toward making it feel like thereís a mid-century space-race vibe happening. Thereís seating in a little fenced-off sidewalk section out front, complete with water dishes for the pups.
The service is super friendly and funny and cool; itís all a bunch of pierced and tattooed kids ranging from rockabilly types to people who probably have art spaces within a couple blocks of here. (I hate to reduce people to types, but some people really do wear their clique ID on their sleeves--still, theyíre awesomely fun and great at their jobs.)
The wine and cocktail lineups might or might not include much of any big interest, but theyíre definitely trying to get some kegs that not everybody has. The beer lineup has a nice variety, dark and light, forceful and restrained, and so on. Theyíre really programming kegs for a wide variety of palates, not just throwing stuff behind the faucets.
The food unfortunately is just OK. Maybe I came in hoping it would be distinctly above average, having heard the hype, and put too much pressure on it or something. The caprese was definitely lacking in flavor. Comes out with some herbed, limp, un-toasted bread. Maybe it was a little stale from the day being a little warm yesterday, but it didnít add anything either with the caprese or as a mop-up. The tomato, cheese, and basil all tasted stale or otherwise underpowered, and the tomatoes were oddly oversweetened, so the effect of the dish was just a mushy mouthful of tomato sugar. Not the explosive flavors you want from this dish, and we didnít even finish half of it.
We had the Ellis pizza. The hand-tossed crust has good flavor and is nice and chewy, but itís just a huge mouthful of bread in the end because itís so heavy. I like some heavy crusts now and then, but you really have to turn the whole thing into a lasagna when you have a heavy crust, so a couple slices feel like more than a meal in terms both of how full you are and how sated the flavors leave you. These guys are looking for a light touch with the toppings, and the crust ends up overwhelming whatís on it. The Ellis has some incredibly mild sausage on it, some red peppers that didnít add much other than sweetness, and some very intermittently applied roast garlic that didnít really light up with flavor until the next morning.
These guys definitely know what theyíre doing, but it seems like they need to bump up the quality of their ingredients a little to get across the flavors and the impact of the recipes. Still, Iíd happily hang out here again. If I opened a pizza place, Iíd want it to be a lot like this. They have the vibe and the approach exactly right.