Last night four of us wanted to try out this Wood Fired Pizza Place in Barrie- called PIE.
It had been reviewed on Food Networks “You gotta eat here” It was hard to find we had to wend through a busy parking lot.
The pizzas are made right at the entrance and I could see flies on the waiting dough. The restaurant was freezing as the AC was on high even thought it was chilly outside. We had to wait for a table in a restaurant that was about 1/4 filled. We decided we would be warmer outside- It took a long time to get seated and to get service. The wine and beer list were limited – and I decided to order a beer- The menus are on the table tops.
At first glance the menu items looked appealing – but they do not accurately describe the food that you get. I started with an arugula pear blue cheese and walnut salad; my companion ordered a mixed salad. Mine took a long time to arrive and it came in a faux wooden bowl packed in so that you could not toss it.
This salad was insipid to say the least with wilted warm arugula – some leaves were yellow, the walnuts were rancid and there was barely a teaspoon of blue cheese. Swiss Chalet has better salads and they have some colour- there is no excuse to charge 7 dollars for a sub par colourless flavourless salad. The dressing was an emulsified balsamic and was ordinary. I was disappointed not to see any mozzarella salad on the menu. It is truly considered a standard and most Italian restaurants.
My companions salad arrived only after we chased the server down and even then it came after his main meal – it had no flavour, it was overdressed and the leaves were soggy -the vegetables were old and cut in irregular shapes. I even tasted a rancid red pepper that I had to discard. I am not sure enough cooks realize how important it is that how things are cut impacts their flavour. This is a common problem that I’m finding more and more especially in Mexican spots. The salad dressing had barely any salt or vinegar in it.
My companion ordered the papperdale (sic)with braised beef. There were barely enough noodles to meat ratio and the meat was cold and it was pretty flavorless. To me it looked as if the dish had been made at least one day before we ordered. It did not look one thing like the picture of the dish they have on their website.
I ordered the four cheese pizza and I ordered it underdone because I find that Wood fired pizza tends to burn the crust. Another dinner companion ordered the pepperoni pizza. My son ordered the meatball sandwich, which cost $14.50. He was probably the most disappointed of all. This sandwich with two meatballs cut in half sat on a couple of pieces of grilled tuscan bread. The tomato sauce was so thick it was more like tomato paste and there was barely any cheese on this hard to eat sandwich.. The meatballs looked pink and overly processed- more like a sausage. The accompanying french fries were cold and tasted as if they have been fried in oil that had not been changed in a long time. The catchup that came with this sandwich was homemade and had an overly spiced flavour. My son missed Heinz ketchup. He did not eat his sandwich and remarked how hard could it be to make a good meatball sandwich. This modern take was an utter failure. My pizza was probably the best item in all of our four dishes. The crust was thin, white and it had corn meal on the bottom and was soggy which is so often the case with wood-fired pizzas. They were generous with the cheese but I could have used some chilli flakes or fresh ground pepper. The last pizza ordered was a pepperoni pizza it was cold however it did have lots of pepperoni on it. When you picked it up it went limp – not crispy but it had good flavour I was told. You had to cut your own pizza- not easy when the crust extends beyond the plate and the surface is not flat.
Two of us ordered the $25 Summerlicious menu, which includes an appetizer, a main and a dessert for $25 a person. So to finish the meal we ordered cheesecake. It came in a glass with Barely a drizzle of fruit syrup on the top and with about 2 inches of pure cream cheese filling and just a sprinkle of Graham cracker crumbs on the bottom. We had order the desert in the hopes that we would be able to take it home. So in the end what we ended up doing was ordering a couple of extra takeout dishes and I scooped out the cheesecake into the stainless and aluminum container and covered it the pizzas cost $15 and beers were $7.
The pop was $3.00 and my son told me it was flat and too sweet.
This was one of the worst dining experiences that I’ve had in a long time. It makes me wonder how a place like this makes it on to the food network and gets promoted as a wonderful place to eat. While I will give the pizza some credit – with respect to flavour- the rest of the meal just fell so far short of Italian expectations. The menu tries too hard to be “hip” and perhaps that was an indicator of the kitchens approach to what an Italian place should offer. Why does it offer chicken with tomato salsa?
Our meal cost $106 and it would’ve been far cheaper and tastier to have stopped in and bought a pizza at my local Pizzavile. We all concurred that a much better meal could be found almost anywhere Mr. Sub makes a better meatball sub. I have a real problem when menus do not describe what the dish is going to look like or taste like. If you are going to offer a meatball sandwich you should be told it’s going to be on two slices of bread not on a bun. Most people think that if they order cheesecake it’s going to be a slice of cake it’s not going to be in the glass –
I would never come back to this pizza place I did not think that the service was very good. On several locations we had to try and find the server to get the food we ordered. Once again I witnessed staff with their spray bottle with chemicals cleaning as I waited for my salad. We were not offered Freshly ground pepper nor extra Parmesan nor Chili flakes – all basic condiments at Italian restaurants. I had to go and take our own condiment kit -( salt, pepper oil and malt vinegar) from another table. If a restaurant decides to have a patio open they should make a commitment to serving the customers that are seated on the patio with as much detail as the ones that they are paying attention to at the bar.
In summation, the food was poor, the service was poor, the bathrooms were new but very dirty and the price point was far larger than the value delivered. I have better places to go and eat.
One last thing – you can order “bread service” for $4.00.
P.S. The cheesecake was terrible!