Orange County is now home to one of Los Angeles County’s pizza restaurants and local foodies are taking notice. Pitfire pizza has taken over the former location of Marie Calendar’s in Costa Mesa and joins a developing culinary scene along 17th street. What really stands out at Pitfire Pizza is the signature pizzas made with fresh ingredients and a near perfect execution of their wood fired pizza. There have been many gourmet pizza restaurant openings in the past year, although Pitfire pizza clearly differentiated itself in both quality and execution. I recently visited Pitfire pizza as part of a grand opening tastings and tried out their most popular items. Here is my reaction to their food:
The pizzas at Pitfire are all cooked in a wood fired pizza oven in a cross between Neapolitan style and New York style preparations. Neapolitan style is slightly charred on the exterior and soft under cooked in the center, forks are a must. New York style has a dry crust resulting from a long cook time; this style allows you to fold a slice. Pitfire Pizza splits the difference between these two styles and provides a pie crust that has a crispy exterior with “cheetah spots” and soft elastic interior.
Here are my favorite pizzas at Pitfire: Green, Eggs and Ham Pizza – This is perhaps one of the most original and fun pizzas I have experienced. The pizza’s base of a light red sauce and burrata and topped with rapini and fresh prosciutto. Before the pizza is put into the oven two farm eggs were cracked over the pizza. When the pizza comes out of the wood burning oven the rapini is snappy tender, the prosciutto is slightly crisped and rendered and the eggs are cooked to a runny over easy. I loved the balance of creamy, salty and acidic. $10.25
Sausage Party Pizza – This is a grown up version of the classic meat lovers pizza that uses artisan meats. The pizza has a base of tomato sauce and mozzarella and topped with Huntington Fennel sausage, natural bacon, salami & prosciutto. The entire pizza was finished with a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Meat lovers pizza’s typically are not my favorite because they can be a little heavy on the palate, although this sausage party had a good blend of sweet, salty and aromatic herbs. $11.25
Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Pizza– This is perhaps one of my favorite pizza’s on their menu because of my new found obsession with Brussels sprouts, although I think most people who don’t yet like Brussels’s sprouts. The pizza is made with sprout leaves, Panna, Natural Bacon, Garlic wedges and fresh mozzarella. The flavors of this dish were near magic with the balance of flavors. I really liked how the garlic played well with the thick cut bacon and Brussels sprout greens. $11
Roasted Pumpkin Pizza – A very sexy pizza that plays together several different textures and flavors together. The pizza is topped with brown butter roasted pumpkin, Sage roasted squash braised chard, fontina cheese, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). This dish is seasonal, so if you see it on the menu I suggest you order it before it is done. $10
Gluten Free Pizza Crust – many of my friends and family have gluten intolerance. Pitfire pizza offers any of the pizzas with a gluten-free crust. I tasted this pizza and it was pretty good. I plan on bringing in my Brother to get an expert’s opinion. Add $3 to the base cost.
Shredded Kale Salad – Chopped Tuscan Kale, honey dates and almonds are tossed with lemon champagne vinaigrette and topped with shredded parmesan cheese. I liked the freshness of this salad and the interplay of flavor between the bitterness of the kale and tanginess of the vinaigrette and sweet dates. $8 You can add chicken to this salad for $2 more.
Farmer’s Market Vegetable Platter– This appetizer is a rustic vegetable style dish that places the emphasis on fresh ingredients. The dish came with roasted carrots with Chili honey and rosemary; roasted Brussels spouts with Garlic parmesan dressing, roasted cauliflower tossed with parmesan and lemon dressing ; Faro (an ancient grain with arugula, cranberries and hazelnuts. This is a great way to experience fresh ingredients in their pure form. $9.95
Short Rib Pappardelle –This dish is comprised of 9+ hour braised short ribs, served with a red wine just over egg noodle pappardelle ribbon pasta. It is mixed with mascarpone cheese and Parmesan. If you feel like pasta, this is the dish to order. $12
Pitfire Smothered Cookie – You can enjoy a meal like this without a proper dessert. I loved the chocolate chip cookie fresh oven backed and presented table-side with ice cream. $4.95
My Final Thoughts
With the gourmet pizza craze taking hold, there are clear leaders emerging, Pitfire Pizza. They have only been in Orange County a couple months, although they have already won the hearts of many Orange County’s Foodies. If you go, I highly suggest you try their signature pizzas like the green eggs and ham, you will not be disappointed.
Check out Dani’s Decadent Deals review of Pitfire Pizza: