It’s bad enough that I’m backed up on my restaurant reporting (though starting to catch up of late), but I’m really far behind on my pizza eating, with Delancey the big one on my to-do list. First, though, I had to get to Flying Squirrel Pizza Company, on the south side of town. I’d been pining for their pizza ever since reading Michael Natkin’s review back in March. Michael’s a talented cook who writes the Herbivoracious blog documenting his vegetarian culinary pursuits; I almost took the name Carnivoracious to contrast my meat-loving ways. (I think that domain name is still available, if it interests you!)
A reminder that as a native New Yorker, I’m partial to that style of pizza. The kind with air bubbles that you admire. The kind that you fold and then hold above two paper plates, allowing some oil to run off before taking your first bite. The kind with the crust you want to eat: slightly charred, and crispy yet pliant (the same way I like my bacon). The kind that DiFara’s been making for decades. The kind that so many transplants in Seattle complain we can’t find here, only to have others complain that we shouldn’t be complaining.
The good news is that Flying Squirrel’s pizza comes close. I ordered a simple pie of mozzarella and tomato sauce (as seen in the first photo) to test the quality, as that’s the standard-bearer. Good char, some oil, and a little bubble action – but falling a bit short on the taste and texture I so miss. Still, quite enjoyable.
But behind that simple pie you probably saw a special one. It’s the pie Michael raved about in his review, and since I’m loving egg on everything these days, I had to try it, too. We’re talking toppings of free-range egg, organic arugula, fresh buffalo mozzarella, parmesan cheese, red onion, and sauce. I like this combination of flavors, reminiscent of what I had earlier this year at Serious Pie. Flying Squirrel’s was comparable in quality. Interesting, though, was how different my pie looked compared to Michael’s. The abundance of arugula on mine was fine, but somehow his looked more majestic, with restraint in the toppings, shavings of cheese, and more visible evidence of the egg. The stretched-out dough can be a canvas, I suppose, with each pizza-maker an artist in the kitchen, resulting in a different pie each time.
And yet those New York pizzas I love are so consistently perfect. (Okay, go ahead and complain…)