Thursday, September 15, 2011

Egyptian Pizza of Belvedere Square

August 25, 2011

Baltimore Pizza Club realized we had been spending too much time in the South so we ventured to the Northern border of Baltimore City, to a foreign land called "Belvedere Square". As we entered the pizza restaurant we were yet again transported, this time to ancient Egypt. We had been tipped off that Egyptian Pizza had a falafel pizza; we needed to investigate.

We were seated in the ruins of a ancient temple where disgruntled high school students and the elderly mixed. The shadows of pyramids towered over us. We looked at . . . the menu and a whole new world opened up to us. Although we were there on pizza business, the menu had many middle eastern delights. The pizza list was also extensive, it was up to us to find the path to pizza enlightenment.

We decided to sample an array of pizza beyond just the falafel pizza. We ordered: New York, New York, Maser, Giza, and the Sunset Boulevard.

New York, New York - Leek with marinated potatoes, mozzarella, goat cheese, basil pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and red peppers.

The tomato sauce traditionally found on pizza was replaced by pesto. This is good. This was not the most flavorful veggie pie, but it was still very good. Uncommon toppings such as potatoes are always a treat. We also ordered a vegan version of this pie which was referred to as "very solid.

Maser - Italian tomatoes, mozzarella, feta, falafel with tahini and salsa on the side.

We we all very excited about falafel pizza. We all had different visions of what this food collision would look like. When it came out of the oven, we felt a little let down. It wasn't that exciting, it was just cheese pizza with sliced falafel on top. They seemed like an afterthought. We were hoping for embedded falafel, each bite recreating a falafel sandwich! but with cheese! General disappointment was expressed. After getting past our initial feelings, we decided we were getting a 2 for 1 deal. The tahini sauce was really delicious.

Giza - Mozzarella and feta cheese, marinated flank of lamb, fresh dill, cilantro and parsley, black olives, roasted red bell pepper, served with spicy cumin sauce on the side.

The sauce was really great as was the feta. After eating a slice of this, one pizza eater exclaimed "I'm so excited to be eating pizza right now!" The lamb was phenomenal and very flavorful. Our only qualm was that there should have been more meat and it could be spread out on the surface more. We also wished they had given us more sauce, though we could have easily asked, intent is important.

Sunset Boulevard - Curried lamb, mozzarella, wild mushrooms, topped with "golden flakes of puff pastries" with mango salsa on the side.

Again this had delicious lamb on it that was piled in the middle. There was an unexpected taste of cinnamon on this pizza. The sweet chutney was a fantastic addition to this sweet and savory pizza.

The crust overall was very good. It was doughy, yet crunchy at the same time. All the ingredients were fresh and Egyptian pizza deserves props for some innovative flavor combinations. That said, all they needed to do was push those a little bit further to fulfill their promises of exotic pizza delight. The fundamentals are solid, but the falafel pizza of our dreams remains just out of reach.

NY - 6/8
Maser - 3/8
Giza - 7/8
Sunset Boulavard - 6.5/8

The threat of a hurricane wasn't enough to keep us from pizza!

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