Saturday, February 23, 2008

Review: Humble Pie - Scottsdale

Last week we had dinner with our Chowhound friends Seth and Winedubar. Originally we were going to try an Uzbekistan cuisine restaurant called Samarkand suggested by Winedubar, but it was closed on President's Day when we went. Instead, we went to our backup choice, Shish Kebab House, who has our favorite hummus. During this meal, both Seth and Winedubar gave a big thumbs up to Humble Pie, a new pizza restaurant open for a couple months in Scottsdale. There has been a recent CH thread on it and I've been curious to try it. With the dual recommendation of our buddies, I decided to try it sooner. Last night Tara and I jumped into her car and headed down.

Since it was a Friday evening in Scottsdale at a possibly popular new place, we had Osha on our backup list. Luckily, despite having to park a long distance away, the restaurant wasn't quite full and we were seated immediately. Also immediately, I wished we'd brushed up on our sign language, as it was oppressively loud. The music was at a too-high level and with the noise from the conversations going on, it was almost painful. We were seated at a smallish two-top. The tables were very close together and it almost felt like we were eating at a huge communal table. The interior is very nice. A long winding bar with seats is along two walls, with a large wine room visible through a large window along the south side.

We were given menus and looked over the pizzas. Several looked very much like pies availabe at Pizzeria Bianco. A waiter came by and took our order for two Cokes and we debated what we wanted. Eventually Tara opted for the pizza with wild mushrooms, pancetta, il'oti onion, and fresh mozzarella. The shrimp, Burrata, basil, and lemon zest sounds good to me. We ordered and settled in with our own thoughts, as any attempt at conversation devolved into "what? huh?" shouting matches.

The pizzas are about 10" or 11" in size, basically enough for a single person. Ours arrived in a few minutes and looked really good. Tara's was loaded with dark toppings and mine was very white, with the shrimp and cheese and green from the basil. We let them cool a bit and each put a piece for the other on the small plates and traded. The immediate problem that arose was that the extremely thin bottom crust was too soggy on Tara's pizza to hold all the toppings. Any attempt to pick it up created a topping slide. Mine fared a bit better, but I had to be careful. We both managed to find ways to eat them eventually.

Both pizzas tasted excellent. Mine had a strong lemon flavor, but I could still taste the shrimp and basil. It was really good and the outside crust was perfectly cooked. It was crunchy outside, but with a tasty, chewy interior. It's some of the best pizza crust I've had in a long time. Tara's pie, outside of the bottom crust, had nice flavors as well. She ended up preferring mine, as did I, but we agreed that both crusts were outstanding. Both pizzas were gone in short order.

The one problem we found was that having ordered no appetizers, we were still hungry after we finished. Our bill came to about $31 before tax. It's not a huge deal, as we both really enjoyed the pizzas and will definitely go back, but next time we'll probably get a salad or fries to supplement the pizzas. Or maybe just a third pizza.

As we were leaving, I mentioned to the hostess that the music was too loud. She said that they turn it up when they get busy. I'm not sure what kind of sense that makes, as it would just seem to exacerbate the situation. Once it warms up a bit and the outside tables are viable, it might not be too bad. Since our only complaint about the food was the overloaded and soggy thin bottom on Tara's pizza, I'm sure we can make due. While it might not be quite as good as PB, we did enjoy it more than Cibo.


David SB said...

Since becoming a dad, I've come to appreciate noisy restaurants more. No one cares if your baby or toddler is fussing if she or he can't be heard at the next table. On the other hand, turning up the volume when the restaurant gets busy just seems to create a vicious circle. Customers talk loudly to be heard over the music, the restaurant turns up the music, customers talk even more loudly, the restaurant turns up the music again, everyone gets fitted for hearing aids, and so on.

David SB said...

Finally got to Humble Pie tonight. The noise level didn't bother us, and it even provided auditory cover when our toddler got tired and fussy toward the end of the meal. The food was good but not great. See my comments on Chowhound for details.