Thursday, March 14, 2013

Restaurant Review: Big House Pizza

Sometimes when you are trying to review a place, the attitude of the owners and servers defeat you. Big House Pizza is a new pizzeria at Danforth and Donlands that serves pizza, bread, wings, salads, fries and patrons of local bars.

The place is big on puns and flavour. One of their pies is named the John A. MacDonald that includes, (and I quote); Ground All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheddar Cheese, Pickles, And Onions On A Sesame Seed Crust. Stop humming. I know you are doing it. My kid states that this is better than a Big Mac but I pretend not to understand what he is talking about.

Their pies that state that they are hot as in spicy hot not temperature hot are, at best, a medium heat for those accustomed to a little something something. Most disappointing pie in this vein was the Buffaloes Have Wings? Now, I am going to moot this criticism and the one that follows as well. This place is quick to respond to criticism. It  is quick to suggest changes and make efforts to fulfill reasonable requests. For example, I had originally looked at the Wing pizza and was a little iffy due to the ranch dressing. I hate the stuff. The cook at the time was a little hesitant to remove the cooling liquid as how could you properly replicate the wing experience without the sauce. Okay, he didn't say that directly but you could see it in his eyes. Also, they still gave the sauce to me on the side. Some places would do this grudgingly without pointing out their reason for having the pizza this way. They care about their food.

More importantly, when I mentioned the issue on twitter, they were more than happy to let me know that they had homemade hot sauce available. The sauce is good...soooo, that criticism cannot stand.

Okay, so after having a slice and some fries, I decided that this shop was good enough to order some for my boys. The next pizza night, I ordered a John Candeyed Ham (another pun. Who knew?) with ham, sausage, bacon, back bacon and some things that were not meat. A lot of toppings on these pies require a thicker crust, so if you are a fan of thin crusts, this place is not for you. My wife liked it but wished there was more sauce. Next order, I asked for more sauce without a problem. This attitude of compromising with the customer without compromising the food happens too seldom in Toronto.

Look. This place has restaurant pedigree. The owners are opening another restaurant out west soon and I hope this place does not suffer because of this. The basic premise is good ingredients on a crust with sauce enough to hold it into place. The flavours are typically bolder to cut through the doughiness of a thicker crust and could sit as flavours for a main course.

Remove the crust. Change the ingredients around a little and add a starch and you could have a meal. I am focussing on their pizzas but their fries are really good. The Greek fries were cut to resemble eggplant slices and served with olives, feta and fried veggies. They are smart enough not to call any of the fries poutine but rather let them be their own thing.

This isn't a destination pizzeria but rather a really smart neighbourhood joint that understands its customers and the area. The prices are reasonable for this mixed income area. I am surprised that no one else has stepped up to pair with the Only Cafe before now. It is only time before these two places start menu pairing with beers and pies. I, for one, will be the better and heavier for it.

Big House Pizza on Urbanspoon

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