Margherita Pizza at Stonefire Grill - Irvine
Perhaps I liked it so much because I didn't think I'd like it, like the film Idiocracy, which I saw with very low expectations but now has me chuckling every time I pass by a Fuddruckers.
This pizza is like that. It surprised me. What I anticipated was a dense, doughy crust--a pizza that tasted more like something you'd get in Naples, Long Beach rather than Naples, Italy.
I expected a pizza more like the one Stonefire's closest competitor makes, which shall remain nameless but rhymes with Flo's. What I got instead was light and thin-crusted, a pie that was hand-formed, coaxed to have bulbous crust you wanted to eat, baked in an oven that blistered it to charred pock marks similar to Batali's much-lauded pies.
I even liked the crust here better than the one I had at Newport Beach's Mozza during its first month in business, which was overworked at the time. Stonefire's has an elastic-but-not-too-taut pull. The toppings were applied with a measured amount of restraint. It was a good, honest, serviceable, impressive pizza pie.
Like Idiocracy, it charmed me, but I think I may need to try it again at least several more times. A friend who was similarly delighted at Idiocracy, saw it again, this time convincing his wife to watch it with him. Afterward he told me he thought the film was still good, but he saw more flaws the second go round...and his wife thought it was rubbish.
3966 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606
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