Having seen a few posts for the new pizza restaurant Coals, I was excited to give it a try. Specializing in grilled pizza with fresh toppings, I was expecting a lot of flavor to follow up on the hype.
Mom (my local dinner date of choice) and I stopped in around 6pm on Friday night. Both the bar area and the restaurant were crowded, with a promised wait of about 10- 15 minutes. The beer offerings were atypical, and I was excited to try something while we waited. I asked the waitress for a lighter beer both in flavor and APV, but I can tell I confused her in that she thought I meant low- calorie. For future reference, is there a better way to phrase this?
I ended up with a pilsner; unfortunately the combination of a loud bar and confused waitress, I’m not sure what the beer actually was to give more information. It was pretty unremarkable, so you’re not missing too much.
The 10-15 minute wait was definitely an underestimation, though I didn’t keep track of time, we didn’t start eating until after 7. We shared the arugula salad: it was really good, and I was so hungry that I didn’t get a good picture of the full dish! Arugula, grilled pears, walnuts, grana padano, and sherry vinaigrette, $9.00. My only complaint with the salad, is that I wish it had more of the stuff; you had to sort of hunt for anything other than the dressed arugula (as evident by the plates above!)
Although they are marketed as individual pizzas, we weren’t really sure how big they were; we decided to share the “Pure Bliss” instead of over ordering. Covered with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, tomato, basil pesto, and pecorino ($16.00), we were sold. The menu is a little confusing for pizza though, with about 9 options, only one or two seem to have radically different topping than the other. The rest seem to have the same handful of toppings in a different order, or omitting one or two in comparison to the other options. Nothing really jumped out as a “must-have” or unique offering.
By the time our pizza hit the table, I was two beers down and very hungry. It looked great, although a lot thinner than either of us was really anticipating. We didn’t let that quell our excitement as we dug in. While caught up in conversation, we munched away. A few pieces in, we both commented on how soggy and limp the pizza was, surprised at the result of grilling.
Since neither of us had this style of pizza before, or had visited this restaurant previously, we didn’t really know if this was their specialty or the failure of a busy kitchen. I decided to consult one of the waitresses that had been helping us (sidenote: there were a ton of staff, but no consistency in who was helping which table. personally, I think this contributed to slow table turnovers).
The waitress took a look at our floppy bites of pizza and confirmed our suspicions, the pizza wasn’t cooked enough and had gotten even more soggy with the topping soaking in to the crust. She was great about getting a new pizza to our table within minutes, profusely apologizing and letting us snack on the edges of the first one while we waited.
The second one was much crispier, and the flavor was on point. I’m just not sold on this style of pizza as a meal. I would think that a family would near half a dozen of these just to feel somewhat satiated; more like a snack or appetizer than main course.
The crust was so thin, without any beloved chewiness or bubbles, that it seemed nearly identical to the free pizzas given out with every drink purchase at the City Beer Hall in Albany. Those are great for what they are; free pizzas. I’m not super sold on Coal’s pizza as a meal, but rather a great option to have with a beer while catching up with a friend.