Sunday, April 13, 2008

Serious Pie

Serious Pie
A Tom Douglas restaurant featuring pizza variations

The first time we saw "Serious Pie," we thought it was, y'know, pie. Blueberry, blackberry; blackberry, boysenberry; boysenberry, huckleberry; huckleberry, raspberry; raspberry, strawberry; strawberry, cranberry...peach. But no, these are pizza pies, baked with the same craft and enthusiasm we've come to expect from Tom Douglas's restaurants.

The space is tucked behind the Dahlia Lounge, up Virginia Street from 4th. It's a small, intimate setting, with high tables, stools, and dim lighting that give it a bar feel. The staff is friendly and casual, knowledgeable and attentive: perfect for an upscale pizza place. And the menu is simple: a few appetizers, pizza, desserts.

The appetizers have a few interesting items, but we opted to go right for the pizza. After all, it's a pizza place, and we love our pizza, so we preferred to share a couple pizzas than share one and get some other appetizer. The two we ordered were a margherita pizza (tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil) and a wild mushroom pizza.

Now, we both prefer thin crust pizza, though we'll enjoy any kind of flat bread with sauce, cheese, and toppings. Serious Pie's pizza reminded us most of San Diego's Basic Kitchen: good, crisp, thin crust and fresh sauce and toppings. We were especially impressed with the tomatoes on the margherita pizza, and I'm not generally a fan of tomatoes (though I love tomato sauce). The wild mushroom pizza brought out the great earthy flavor of the mushrooms along with the crisp, chewy bread, the cheese adding a nice complement to the whole.

We were fortunate enough to interview Tom Douglas a little while back (we hope to post it soon), and we asked him specifically about Serious Pie. He told us that his favorite part of the restaurant was focusing in on pizza, really being able to dig in and figure out how each of the different parts worked: the bread, the sauce, the cheese. The way he puts it, they have a "theory of pizza" now. His joy and boundless interest in food really shows through in the fabulous results.

We thought we'd have some pieces of pizza to take home--usually we only split one. But the crust was thin, the pizza not too filling, and we each ate a whole one. The tables are so close together that as we were eating, we were eyeing the pizzas our neighbors had ordered and seriously contemplating whether to ask if they'd swap a slice to try one of ours. In the end, we decided to enjoy what we had and make sure we return to keep trying the pizza. Serious Pie has another benefit going for it: it's open 'til eleven most nights, making it a great place for a late-night snack.

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