Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coalfire Pizza

Location: 1321 W Grand
Cost: About $15 per person

I got off my shift a few Friday's back when The Professor told me about some nerdy gadget conference at Tribune Tower. I wasn't all that excited for the conference, but there was a good crew going. Plus, I was assured there would be lots of free drinks. After a good hour of listening to technology pitches in order to get free giveaways, we all (Marc, Spencer, Jordan, Michael, Professor, and myself) had worked up quite an appetite. The Professor had heard of this pizza place from a work buddy that we just had to try. So the six of us piled into a single cab and headed west to Coalfire.

It'd be easy to miss Coalfire if you didn't know where you were going. It's a moderately small storefront that goes pretty deep to make room for a decent amount of seating. We called ahead while driving over, and they had a table waiting for us when we got there. The inside looks pretty rustic and there's a nice feel with little things like upside down tomato sauce cans used to prop up the pizza on the tables. There's plenty of street parking around there too.

Our waitress was friendly and efficient. She had good suggestions, and we ended up ordering the perfect amount of food with her help. She had a little difficulty keeping our drink order straight. The impressive point in the night was when our pizza came out in what seemed like less than ten minutes. Each pizza was around $16, and the three pizzas we ordered were able to fill us up.

The Food
Like I said above, we got three pizzas: the Sausage and Garlic, the Pesto, and the Prosciutto with Egg. Lets talk toppings first. The sausage came with well distributed crumbles. The pieces were juicy and well seasoned. I expected a bit more with the extra garlic than what came. The pesto also had kalamata olives and ricotta. The flavoring on the pesto wasn't particularly strong, and the ricotta laid a moderately bland blanket over the slice I had. For the prosciutto and egg we got half without meat to accommodate for some of our fellow diners. Again the white cheeses masked some of the other flavors in this pizza, and unfortunately I didn't get an egg (which didn't stop me from dipping my slice in the Professor's yolk). The fresh basil was a nice touch, and the prosciutto itself had a refreshing and rich presence. As for the crust on all of these pizzas, there was a really nice char. Some bites were a bit much, but it really added a distinct flavor. The bitterness of the burnt parts overshadowed any potential sweetness. The chewy consistency of the crust was pretty enjoyable too.

The Sausage and Garlic

The Prosciutto

The Pesto

With all of these thin crust pizza reviews of late, it's pretty easy for me to rank a new place. I gave an order of my favorites recently. The strengths of Coalfire were the quality toppings and burnt crust flavor, but a lot of that came across a little muddled. I'd say Coalfire would rank in between La Madia and Sono Wood Fired. The service and atmosphere were nice touches as well. I'm giving them 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.

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