Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chazz: A Bronx Original

Chazz: A Bronx Original
August 2, 2011

We were a little confused if they were still in their soft opening phase. It looked as if they were still figuring out their pizza menu; we even observed a taste testing. We decided to leave them to it and not ask too many questions. They gave us carafes of both sparkling and still water.

90s alt-rock was playing the entire time we were there. This seemed to be a strange choice considering they are going for a New-York City (Bronx?) theme. The entrance is decorated like a subway station with line numbers and lots of murals of trains and skyscrapers in monochrome. There were two men in chef jackets manning the pizza making station. You were able to sit at a counter and watch as they shoveled pizzas into the coal fired oven. Yes, this pizza is made in a coal fired oven, take note. The pizza makers toss dough in the air and are surrounded by the ingredients. The question is, is there a difference between New York and Bronx pizza?

We ordered three pizzas: the Funghi - wild mushrooms, smoked gouda, and garlic, the Margherita - tomato, mozzarella, and basil, and the Prosciutto - parmesan, prosciutto, mozzarella, fontina, garlic and arugula. The "h"s were intentional, perhaps Bronx style pizza means you add an "h" to the name.

The Fughi was found to be sweet, smokey, creamy, savory, and had fancy mushrooms. The crust was very good with an almost buttery, flakey quality. We decided that this mushroom pizza was even better than the beloved mushroom pie at Iggie's. It was perhaps a mistake to eat this one first as this pizza made the others seem inadequate. There was debate if we loved this one because it was fresh out of the oven or because it was the best.

The Margherita was very average. It was a little on the boring side. The sauce on this pizza was sugary. This one was a little harder to eat and was chewier. The crust was slightly thinner on this pie.

The Prosciutto was the saltiest of the three. Perhaps the arugula is supposed to counter it, but it wasn't that successful. If you are a big fan of prosciutto, you probably will like this pizza more than we did. The slices of meat were thin and each slice was covered with it.

It seems that they are still trying to figure out what they are doing, though the waitstaff was extremely nice. The atmosphere was a little weird. There were a couple of different themes going on: wine cellar, sidewalk bistro, standard dining area. There were different chairs in each section. We were in the sidewalk bistro area were there was a wrought iron fence, cafe chairs. and was up on a riser. There was also a distracting video display of New York landmarks playing on a loop. We initially thought that this was a second, outside of New York location, but the Baltimore Chazz in actually the flagship restaurant.

Wait, it's not over yet! Dessert pizza time! We had to order this in order to say we did thorough pizza research. The dessert pizza had nutella and powdered sugar on it. The crust was crunchier than the other pizzas we sampled, but thicker and chewier on the outside. The nutella was soft and creamy, but we felt that this pizza needed something else. We would suggest adding strawberries or even ricotta to this pizza.

Finally we just have to ask, WHERE WAS CHAZZ? We would have been more than happy to see Chazz Bono, but don't expect to see Chazz Palminteri. We didn't!

Funghi - 8/8
Parma Prosciutto - 4/8
Margharita - 4.5/8

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