I was really looking forward to a slice of Arnie's pizza, but then...but then, the queen of the kingdom exclaimed, "Thou art a doofus. Tis not as ye spake. The target of our gastronomic arrow is Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza."
"Well, okey dokey," says I as we piled into the royal carriage. Then off we went to the Anthony's on South Dale Mabry here in the Big Guava.
My bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, had mentioned several times in passing Anthony's that she would like to give them a try. I was a little less enthused since some of the reviews I had read about this South Tampa location were less than stellar. One recurring complaint was "burnt black" pizza crust.
I decided to ignore the negatives and see for myself what Anthony's had to offer.
Upon entering this pizza palace I noted that the decor was pleasing, but not plush. As I have said before, we dine out for the food experience and leave it to others to evaluate the interior design. We were greeted at the door and offered our choice of seating - indoor, outdoor, or at the bar. We chose an interior table.
Our butt cheeks barely had time to warm our chairs before bubbly Brooke, our delightful server for the evening, plopped a couple of menus before us. Brooke then began describing the restaurant's soda pop options. How precious is that? She obviously mistook us for someone else, so I caused her to pause and take our order for two glasses of St. Cristina Chianti.
Along with our wine, we were presented with a complimentary plate of Coal Oven Roasted Chicken Wings smothered with caramelized onions. This was a tasty, crispy treat that I enjoyed all by myself, as the Belle is not a fan of chicken wings. I have always considered this to be some sort of character flaw, but I am way too smart to say so. Ooopsie daisy!
To begin our gastronomic odyssey we decided to share an order of two meatballs with ricotta cheese basking in a sea of Italian gravy. We relished those large hand-rolled balls that had been slow cooked in the gravy, or if you prefer, tomato sauce.
As much as we enjoyed our two beginning dishes, we were there for the Coal Fired Pizza, so Brooke, bring'em on!
My bride chose the White Pizza with three cheeses: ricotta, mozzarella, and Romano. She waited impatiently for me to take the picture. I did hurry, as I could see her beginning to salivate.
Did she like this white pizza?
I think I took Brooke somewhat by surprise with my pizza selection. What I wanted was the more traditional Italian pizza with the colors of that nation's flag - plum tomato red, mozzarella white, and basil green. When Brooke asked what I wanted on my pizza, I told her nothing more, just a classic Margherita pizza.
That pizza more than met my expectations. It was light, tasty, and had a heavenly crispy crust. Yes, it did have burnt edges, but in my opinion that just added to the flavor and authenticity. But, as "they" say, "Different strokes and all."
For dessert, Anthony's has a New York style cheesecake that we were way too stuffed to try. Maybe next time. As it were, we both brought pizza home with us to enjoy again as lunch another day.
We were both seriously impressed with our gastronomic adventure at Anthony's.
Dinner for two with several glasses of Chianti came to $66.56. We added 20% for Brooke.