Carmela’s Brick Oven Pizza

Usually when I walk past Carmela’s the parking lot is packed. A sure sign of a good dining experience, so I’ve been anxious to give it a try since we moved in down the road. At 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon there were plenty of tables available and our server had plenty of time to be attentive. So now the difficulty wasn’t finding a parking space in the small lot, but agreeing on a pizza to share between the four of us: myself, my husband, mom and sister.

See, first you have to choose your crust, which don’t go by boring names like “thin” or “deep dish,” but Neopolitan, Grandma, and Sicilian. Then you have to choose either one of their specialty pizzas or build your own with whatever toppings you prefer. Now, I have always loved the thick, garlicky crust of Sicilian pizza, but I had heard good things about the Grandma crust (thin crust), too. But with four of us sharing, we went with the hand tossed White Pizza: mozzarella and ricotta with garlic. On one half onions and red peppers, on the other spinach and broccoli. Call me crazy, but I love broccoli on my pizza.

The pizza didn’t take too long to arrive, but I found it a touch bland. I added crushed red peppers, salt and pepper several times, but couldn’t get it to really impress me with flavor. Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly tasty, and they didn’t skimp on the veggies, but my socks just weren’t knocked off like I’d hoped they’d be. My husband agreed that it wasn’t well seasoned, though he enjoyed the combination of cheeses. My sister loved the crust, though she spent several minutes picking off the onions on her slices.

Of course, we had to try the garlic knots, as well. They were fluffy and had enough garlic and butter on them to appease my finicky taste buds. They were a hit at the entire table.

Each pie was at least $14 to start and was equipped with meager to no toppings. And while there was a long list of toppings to choose from, including traditional and more exotic items, I thought the prices for adding them to be relatively high (at something like $1.50 per topping). So expect to spend at least $16-$20 per 8-slice pizza. On a positive note, however, one pie and four garlic knots filled up four of us and there were even enough leftovers for us each to have at least a small slice the next day for lunch. Leftovers always make a high price seem a bit easier to swallow in my book.

While I wasn’t terribly impressed with my first trip to Carmela’s, I will certainly give it another try again soon, next time with perhaps a more traditional red sauce and cheese pizza so I can give a more accurate overview of what to expect from the popular local pizza joint. Drop by and indulge!

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