Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tomato Pie

Having attempted to sample and review this north-side bistro more than once and been turned away due to it's unusual hours of operation (seriously, check the website or call ahead to make sure they're open!), we were finally successful. Our first impression, strictly from the name, was that Tomato Pie was a pizza joint. But upon arrival, we found that it is actually Tomato Pie Bistro, who proudly serves their pies alongside other classic Southern Italian cuisine.

We walked in upon not one, but two large birthday parties squeezed into the restaurant's very small, but open dining room. The single server was literally running between all the tables. After a breathless request to wait at the door, a very young hostess cleared and seated us at a table. The decor is sparse but well aimed and pleasant, if a bit dark.

Having already made up our minds prior to our arrival, we immediately put in our order for a green tomato pie and a dinner salad. The salad was spring mix, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, strawberries, and black olives with balsamic honey dressing. The name of the salad escapes us, but it was outstanding. Certainly a salad which could stand up as a meal by itself. The dressing was unusual and delicate in flavor. A real winner. It was accompanied by a simple garlic bread that became Ozzy's dinner.

The pie itself was a thin crust, pesto sauce with green tomatoes, fresh sliced mozzarella, chopped garlic and egg, sliced roma tomatoes and the thickest chopped bacon we've ever had. Yum-O as Rachel Ray would say. We couldn't put it down our gullets fast enough. The 14" was devoured much to our later dismay. With the very low lighting, it was hard to pick out individual ingredients on the pie, but each bite was different in flavor combination. Absolutely wonderful. Although the crust was thin, it was not exceptionally crisp -- just barely enough to hold up the pie.

Libby took a moment to read the wall of fame and found some interesting information: The owner's mother is Sicilian and he has been cooking since the age of 14. He has over 25 years of restaurant experience and all 9 of his children staff the restaurant in different capacities.

One particular difference to note about their pies -- all ingredients are sauteed in olive oil before they are ever placed on the crust. There are no cold toppings applied before it is put in the oven. This allows the flavors to meld and it certainly worked for us! It left us asking why no one else seems to do this?

While scarfing down the amazing pie, we couldn't help but notice the attractive pastas passing our table. There are 3 different marsalas on the menu along with the usual lasagna, ravioli, etc. Everything that passed reminded us that we must return for a more in-depth review!

Wrap Up
Price- $-$$$, $14.50 for a 14" specialty pizza! A steal!
Atmosphere-**, Poor lighting and the corner table was obviously used as an office. But there was a definite personality to the place.
Service-***, Even while handing two huge parties and a few other tables, our server never left us waiting for anything.

Fred - A-, Great pie at a great price. I can't wait to sample their regular entrees. An amazing marsala would push this place into a possible A+ in my mind.
Libby - A-, Ditto. The chef and his family obviously puts their heart and soul into the cooking. I can't wait to have more.
Ozzy - C+, No kids menu. But he was certainly welcomed by the staff and entertained by the faux fireplace.

Tomato Pie on Urbanspoon


Rebecca said...

I've never heard of Tomato Pie, but now it's on my list of places to try. I'm intrigued by the idea of sauteing toppings before putting them on the pizza. I may try that at home. Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see a positive review. I had a very different experience here and have yet to return. That pizza looks good!