Last week, I asked fellow blogger, Foodie Buddha if he would be a guest blogger on my site. He enthusiastically agreed and what follows is his detailed review on a new Pizza restaurant in Buckhead. Thanks Foodie Buddha, hope you’ll be a guest blogger again soon!
Pizza Fusion: Proof Of How Far Atlanta Has Come, And Of How Far Atlanta Has To Go
First Impressions: In the words of FoodieBuddha
There are a number of things to love about the new Pizza Fusion [Gluten-free crust, Atlanta's only LEED certified restaurant, and so forth]. Unfortunately, the taste of the food just isn’t one of them. The amount of love dished out by Atlanta foodies for this new Buckhead pizza shop shows just how far this city has to go before the restaurant scene here matures to the point where it is on par with a city like Chicago, let alone New York. The number of people who have called this place top notch is disheartening. That said, we would not have had a place like this 15-years ago.
Our beloved city is bustling like never before; and, despite our ravaged economy, new restaurants are popping up all the time. Pizza Fusion opened just three months ago and a number of people have touted the restaurant for its high quality ingredients and their flavorful pies. Based on my one meal there so far, I’m not so sure I can agree with them on the later.
We stopped in for lunch this past Wednesday and only a handful of tables were occupied – so much for the scene. The decor is a deadpan copy of Tin Drum meets F20. The Artwork and accessories take a definitive backseat to signage that promotes the various eco-friendly aspects to the business.
I think the franchise, which has been around less than three years, spends too much time promoting how great they are for the environment and not enough time accepting the fact that they are indeed a restaurant that needs to serve good food. That said, it is really wonderful to see a business take such a proactive role; and I do suppose that if you want to spread some love, you have got to rustle some leaves to do so. I recognize the inherent contradiction in my previous few sentences; however, it is what it is. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
The menu, which is a little busy for my eye aesthetically speaking, delivers the message loud and clear. Fusion offers a few salads, a couple of sandwiches, two appetizers, and some sweets. The rest of the menu is dedicated to pizza. Their focus is clearly on their specialty pies. These are 18″x9″ pies that are the offspring of Neapolitan pizza making it with a Sicilian pie (or what Americans call Sicilian). The resulting form is rectangular in shape and slim in thickness. That’s kinda cool if you ask me. The ten pies in that section include some combination of the expected. There is a strong emphasis on the veggies, a handful of cheeses, and your basic proteins.
In addition, there are personal pizzas and the option to concoct your own. The personal pies are 9″x6″ versions of their specialty pies. Unfortunately, your only options here are the cheese, veggie, and meat. I am not clear as to why they don’t just offer the specialty pies in two sizes, but that’s not a question I can answer. The build your own is just what you would expect.
One big selling point for Pizza Fusion is the selection of crusts. They offer an organic flour crust, a multi-grain crust, and a gluten-free crust. We only had one pizza, so I have not had the chance to sample the multi-grain or gluten-free.
Our server stopped by shortly after we were seated. She was delightful and attentive, while making sure to provide good service without pestering us. Before you overlook that fact due to the lack of business in the place, I will tell you that there have been many a time when my service was bad at a restaurant that was not busy.
After ascertaining that it was our first visit, she went through the menu and spent the time to elaborate on the green initiative that is clearly part of their culture. 75% of the ingredients used are organic, everything is energy efficient, the menus are printed on recycle paper, the tables are made from recycled wood, toilets are low-flow, and delivery customers who return the boxes get a special discount. Phew! now take a breath! They also make a note to tell you that each pizza takes around 15 minutes to prepare. I really don’t have much to say on that. We’re not at dominos, so I don’t know why (or how) they think that separates them from others in the market.
We opted to split a specialty pizza, their version of a basic cheese pizza on the organic flour crust, crispy of course. It was fairly disappointing. The crust was incredibly gummy and the execution left something to be desired. The cheese on top was scorching hot, the sauce in the middle was warm, and the crust was lukewarm. That is a pretty bad offense in my book. The flavors were balanced and the ingredients were quality, but nothing here gave me the impression that the taste of the food is vastly superior to some of the other pizza places already open and established around the city. That’s a pretty disappointing statement, considering that Pizza and Seafood are the two least well represented cuisines in this city. Even if we overlook the temperature issues, I kind of got a ho-hum feeling from my menu. Not horrendous, but not noteworthy.
Before we left, the server brought us a couple of pamphlets, each with a slew of coupons, announcements, business cards, and other information. We were informed that they offer delivery (inside of a 3 mile radius) and that there is a special super bowl party at the restaurant. I found it somewhat humorous that an eco-friendly establishment dumped more advertising crap on my table than even the most adamant of activists. It sort of reminds me of someone who adds vegetables to their burgers in order to delude themselves into thinking that what they are about to eat is now healthy. Yeah, I know that recycled paper is recycled paper, but it’s still paper nonetheless.
If you are looking for pizza that espouses quality ingredients with an environmental conscience, you are better off visiting Dynamic Dish on Edgewood. They serve pizza every Saturday night. Based on my samplings there, I think Pizza Fusion has a long way to go.
I do have to cut them some slack. After all, this was just a single experience, and I did not have the opportunity to sample their proteins, but still, a first impression is a first impression. With that certain pizza guru sitting over in the corner, ready to open no more than a block away, I’m not optimistic for the future. I’ll return before I render a final verdict, but so far not so good. If pressed, I would say that this place will probably fall into one of our options for delivery at the office, and nothing more.
Post Script: For those of you who like the idea of leaving a small footprint, I suggest you look into a service like Green Dimes. For a nominal fee ($20/year), they help to curtail the amount of junk mail you receive. All at the same time, they take that money and use it to plant trees! Though they have not completely eliminated the amount of junk mail I receive, they have done a fantastic job!!!!
FoodieBuddha is an amateur food critic with a blog (and mind) of his own. His full musings, rants, and diatribes are available, in all their glory, on FoodieBuddha.com Atlanta Restaurant Reviews | Atlanta Food Blogs | Dining In Atlanta