Food: Flying Squirrel Pizza Co.
In Seattle there has been a lot of hype about pizza places the last several years, and Portland also has absolutely excellent options in Apizza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan Pizza. While we feel that many of these offerings are quite delicious, they all seem to lack something. It seems that no one place in the Northwest has the pizza that has it all but this isn’t to say, that there should be a place that can make a “perfect pizza”. Some pizza joints have excellent crust, some creative toppings, or really tasty sauce. And then, there is the debate about the different types of crust: thick, thin, pan, chewy, crunchy, slightly burned, or flaky. In Capitol Hill, we tend to like Via Tribunali, especially for their delicious calzonne, which comes slightly charred on top, bubbled up, and packed full with goodies. We really enjoy the salads a Tutta Bella, although we feel that the pizza doesn’t have the quite the same quality it had before they decided to franchise the place throughout Seattle.
A newer place, which has generated considerable buzz in the food world of Seattle is Delancey, over in Ballard [Rebekah Denn’s post here]. Delancey is fantastic! It really lives up to the hype, but it is in my view a “gourmet pizza place.” What do I mean, by this…read on. The toppings and the crust at Delancey are arguably the very best the city has to offer. However, there seems to be some debate in this regard. Some people in the Seattle blogosphere feel that Flying Squirrel Pizza in the Seward Park neighborhood can compete with Delancey for the best pizza in Seattle so we decided it was time to see what this Flying Squirrel pie was all about.
We waited till 8pm on a Friday night to venture out, knowing that is a popular spot and Friday nights always seem like the perfect night for pizza. We bellied up to the bar and each ordered a local pint. I had Georgetown Brewery’s 9lb Porter, and Robin a Manny’s Pale Ale. They don’t have a wide beer selection, but they do carry three local taps which is respectable. Pizza and a good beer is a must pairing. Seeing people order cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) with their pizza did get under my skin, but I digress. The pizza choices at Flying Squirrel are enormous. They have about 7 classic pizzas, 5 specials, and another 3 special-specials on a separate list. With only 2 people, we were only able to try 2 varieties. The nice thing is, they let you split the pizza 1/2 and 1/2 of the toppings you like…with the exception of a few of the more complicated pizza options (i.e. one’s with egg on top, and reportedly delicious).
We started out by sharing a bowl of their daily soup special, a roasted garlic cream soup which had a strong garlic flavor, curry, and rich creamy texture. There was a subtle sweetness to the soup which complimented the savory and nutty components. A piece of bread could have been left out of the soup because it tasted well, flavorless. For pizza: we had half a “Maggie’s” which is essentially similar to margherita pizza, thinking we should taste a simple slice first. This one has fresh mozzarella and aged mozzarella on it. The other half of the pizza was one of their specials, containing artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and salumi coppa. The large pizza came out piping hot, with some browned and blackened edges. I started with a Maggie’s piece…and I was immediately impressed with the crust. It had a crispy-crunchy exterior with a softer-chewier interior, and the pizza crust itself was robust all the way to the tip of the slice. This is something nearly every specialty pizza place fails at doing. The pizzas are almost always soggy in the middle, I understand why, but it isn’t something I don’t particular care for. The specialty slice was a balanced mix of acid from the artichoke heart, salt from the coppa, and roasted peppers. I wish we could have tried more pizza…but I was quite stuffed at the end of sharing one pizza, something we took note of…
Robin and I were not in complete agreement about “how good” Flying Squirrel’s pizza is. We both were impressed, but didn’t agree to what level. Personally, I think it is damn good pizza place, and a new favorite. Robin argues that it is perhaps well above the standard local chain place of Pagliacci and not quite on the gourmet side of things, which would have a more bubbled airy crust, chewier interior, and a really great sauce. Although Flying Squirrel certainly has creative toppings on the pizzas, and they have 2 types of house-made sausage (pork and turkey), which we will try the next time. Flying squirrel’s sauce wasn’t bad, but it certainly missed high marks. If you haven’t been because it is kind of a drive south, make the trip, you’ll be asking and debating these same questions. BTW, FSPC also has lots of veggie and even vegan options. What do think makes the best pizza?
4920 South Genesee Street
Seattle, WA 98118