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Pitfire Pizza: Neopolitan meets New York Style pizza on Fairfax

By Jill Weinlein, 1/10/2013

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Walking into the newest Pitfire Pizza on Fairfax Avenue, just one block north of Melrose, I sat down with a group of friends to try their new seasonal menu. Known for producing rustic, fire-singed pizza pies, they arrived at our table crispy, golden and topped with luscious ingredients. The dough is made with just three ingredients: flour, water and yeast.

The Brussels sprout and bacon pizza gets an extra taste of richness with cream, garlic and parmesan cheese — a very satisfying pizza pie. (photo by Jill Weinlein)

The first restaurant opened in North Hollywood in 1997. Lawrence “Larry” Rudolph is the General Manager of the five Pitfire Artisan Pizza restaurants.

“Our pizzas are part Neapolitan and New York-style,” he said. A Neapolitan pizza can be cooked in less than one minute, while a New York-style cooks in 20 minutes. Pitfire’s pizzas are finished between 5 to 7 minutes. The dough isn’t really wet, so it takes less time to cook into a golden crispy pie.

We tried four of the seasonal pizza pies. I enjoyed the sweetness of the roasted pumpkin pizza with Fontina cheese, toasted pepitas, and a sage roasted winter squash. It was sensational.

Next, a slice of the Brussels sprout and bacon pizza arrived. The aroma of the baked brussel leaves, cream, bacon, garlic cloves and fresh parmesan cheese made this pizza so savory with a crispy crust. Both are under $11. Pizza goes nicely with wine or beer. I enjoyed a glass of Pushback Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc from Napa. It had notes of honeysuckle, fresh melon and a wisp of banana.

They also offer craft beers for $6 or $18 a pitcher. Try a South Bay Strand Brewing Pale Ale with the pumpkin pizza. The Black Market Hefeweizen pairs nicely with the tasty brussel sprout pizza.

The last pizza delivered was their “Tuscan” pizza. This is one of the original pizzas made 15 years ago. It’s a super simple, yet tangy pizza made with fresh local mozzarella cheese. It’s topped with roasted potato and sprinkled with rosemary, gorgonzola and a pesto drizzle on top.

We split the new roasted pear salad with Bosc pears, ricotta cheese, toasted pine nuts, mixed lettuce and a fig and olive vinaigrette. The sliced dates make this salad pop with sweet and slightly salty flavors.

Pasta lovers will enjoy the housemade rye rigatoni topped with Huntington fennel sausage, heirloom cranberry beans, oven roasted vine ripe tomatoes and mushrooms, and roasted butternut squash. A nice size plate of pasta is $11.

The roasted pear salad with ricotta cheese, toasted pine nuts, sliced dates and a fig and olive vinaigrette is a refreshing side to the savory pizzas at Pitfire Pizza. (photo by Jill Weinlein)

Kids will enjoy the smaller pizza or a mini mac and cheese. Organic soft serve ice cream is a sweet treat after their meal.

With five locations in Southern California, Pitfire Pizza works with a selected group of local artisan purveyors. They purchase their ricotta from DiStefano, lettuce is from Kenter Canyon Farms and soft serve ice cream from Strauss Creamery. The soft serve for adults is poured into a cup and topped with Superba wine poached pears. The luscious dessert is topped with a slightly sweet rye crumble. It’s a sweet ending to an extremely satisfying meal.

Pitfire Pizza also delivers. Just log onto www.pitfirepizza.com and click online ordering.

Pitfire Pizza has six locations: North Hollywood, Dowtown, West L.A., Costa Mesa, and West Hollywood. Located at 801 N. Fairfax Ave. (323)544-6240. Hours are Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sat. and Sun. the restaurant opens at 12 p.m.

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