Tuesday, March 12, 2013

M Wood Fired Oven

Mmmmmmmmm wood-fired pizza... M Wood Fired Oven is a located in East Hyde Park, right next to the beloved Haps Irish Pub. Lest one not believe the cuisine is bona fide wood-fired, there are pedestals with flames to either side of the entrance (Side note: If I ran this place, I'd hang a sign over the entrance proclaiming "Abandon all hope of mediocre crust ye who enter here"). The inside is modernly decorated and the layout is dominated by a large bar. That bar includes the restaurant's namesake, a prominent wood-fired oven (filled with actual wood, unlike some pizzerias).

We started our meal with an Artisan cheese plate, along with a house salad. The cheese was the basic type of creamy deliciousness you would expect. The portions and price were reasonable ($6, as were all other Small Plate appetizers). The salad was fine also, if a tad on the dry side.

Now on to the important stuff: The pizza. M offers six gourmet pizza combinations. Pistachios, pine nuts, apples, and raisins are all listed as potential toppings. Each are 12" (roughly the size of a large plate) and cost $12. We opted for numbers 1 and 4.

Number 1: Mozzarella, Basil, and Tomato (a Margherita pizza). The Margherita is a classic for a reason; This was an all around well crafted pie. Of note is the prominent, thick, and flavorful red sauce which we believe could be a contender for best sauce in the city. A great pizzeria has to be able to do a Margherita well, and M clearly passed this test.

Number 4: Tomato, House-made Sausage, Smoked Mozzarella, and Apple

Note the excellent bubble structure in this side shot:

I would have liked them to leave the pizza in the oven another 30-60 seconds to get more of a char on the edges. Also, it was a bit thicker than a traditional Nepolitan-style crust. Nonetheless, we were both impressed by this delicious chewy and soft crust. It was the type of crust could be consumed on it's own and is one of the better wood fired crusts in the city. While the crust was delicious, the toping offerings at M were... ambitious. The house-made crumbled sausage on the number four was delicious and very flavorful. The apple bits added an sweet taste and different texture to the pizza. They weren't bad and it was an interesting try. But in the end, we believed they subtracted from the overall pie. We began scrapping off the apple by our last couple slices. The Margherita was our preferred pie of the two. however, while perhaps too conventional to be on the menu, a straight sausage pizza is excellent here.

An excellent decision that M made was to include a couple sauces for the pizza on each table. The first, a no-brainier, was a bottle of olive oil. The second, more ambitious inclusion, was a thicker house made hot sauce (not that far from a sirachi). It was a spicy and delicious addition to the pie. I love the inclusion of sauces because it allows you to give different taste accents to different slices. The two sauces pleasantly reminded me of the "chili oil" (spicy olive oil) one finds at many European pizzerias.

Wood-fired pizzerias have been popping up like wildfowers in Cincinnati lately (could there be a "pizza bubble"?). As such, there's bound to be some over-reach. Going into this meal, I was prepared to dismiss M as another Hyde Park mediocrity. But after experiencing their pizza, we left full and impressed. Also of note, they have a nice craft beer selection (although who doesn't anymore?) priced at $4-$5. Thus, you can go and have a nice night of revelry at M Wood Fired Oven without losing an arm and/or a leg.

M Wood Fired Oven on Urbanspoon

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