When a new restaurant opens I’m prepared to be delighted and thrilled. I’m always on the lookout for impressive service – after all they’ve just opened– and innovative cooking in a fresh setting.
Unfortunately the latest pizza venue on Elgin wasn’t up to meeting my starry-eyed expectations. The small venue dominated by a front service counter and open kitchen has the look of an upmarket take away & eat in joint. There is a small bar area, high stool seating and a handful of booths nestled in the corners. The rich red walls paired with glossy polished- wood and dangling Edison bulbs is stylishly on-trend and wine comes in stemless glassware while cocktails are served in jam jars. Had the menu and service followed suite to the décor we’d have been on to a winning laid-back local.
But here’s the disconnect; if “Slice” is in the name you’d do well to offer that option. Our misguided idea of grabbing slices with sides for a menu sampling was shot down leaving us slightly befuddled but innocently confident we’d solve this conundrum. Let’s simply choose two small pizzas: one meat and one veg. Well that wasn’t going to work as specific pizzas come in specific sizes and no they can’t be swapped out. That’s right you can’t choose what you want in the size that you want. Wanting a small veg and a small pepperoni is not an option. Naively we thought we’d circumvent this problem by adding ingredients but this too failed. A simple add-on of pepperoni to one of the small vegetable pizza was also disallowed as there are no substitutes.
If we’d not ordered drinks we’d have fled as this amount of inflexibility didn’t bode well. After all these are pizzas not Heston Blumenthal creations so it’s worrisome that an ingredient might throw off the kitchen. Properly admonished we did as told and had a medium pepperoni prepared to the chef’s preference. The 24$ medium was adequate though the thin crust slightly undercooked even soggy at its centre and the sauce needs, at a minimum, greater lashings of garlic and some oregano. The cheese was generous as was the pepperoni but there was nothing that lifted our pie above the ordinary.
Finally, though the service was satisfactory, “uniform” outfits really have no place outside of chains. Prescribed black shorts and black deck shoes remove the individuality of any server and are out-dated in an urban-casual interior design.
Despite my disappointing visit I’d like to see this eatery do well – ideally a slice-only take away window, a pared-down eat in menu making room for greater flexibility in their signature pizza offering, and a firm farewell to the outfits. I’ll stay alert to changes and any improvements will be duly noted as they bed in to the local neighbourhood.
399 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 1M9