The Great Pizza Quest
Carbone Coal Fired Pizza offers pizza made in a way like no other pizza you'll find in the city. The majority of pizzerias and restaurants currently operating utilise electric-deck ovens or bake the pies on stone bricks above a heat source; more high-end restaurants will bake their pizzas in wood-fire ovens. However, Carbone bakes their pizza in a coal oven, which is heated by burning anthracite. This particular type of coal adds to the great difficulty in operating a coal-fire oven, as it not only needs to be ignited by a source that exceeds 900°F (482°C - and wood ignites at about half that), but it also does not allow the fire to be moved or around or stirred - thus, you've got to load the fuel right or you'll have trouble keeping the heat at the perfect temperature. That being said, a pizza can be baked quite a bit quicker this way than in other ovens.
While it may be a challenge to run a coal-fired pizzeria, Carbone seems to know what they're doing. At least when it comes to baking. As far as constructing their specialty pies, there's a thing or two they need to know.
When my wife and I tried this pizza, my parents ordered the Tyrol and the Peppino. The Tyrol came topped with sausage, ham and mushrooms, while the Peppino was topped with juicy tomato, arugula, parmagiano, and proscuitto. But I used 'topped' rather loosely. The ingredients were placed almost hesitantly, so restrained my mother called them 'stingy.' They were, however, of what seemed to be quite a high quality of ingredient, but there was so little of them it was in fact hard to tell (the proscuitto was so thin it looked like the wrapping of a pepperoni sausage was put on the pizza). The pizzas both certainly had enough cheese upon them, but overall the pies were sort of bland, even if baked to an exceptional degree. The crust was reminiscent of McDonald's pizza crusts from when they offered pizza: crispy, yet tender, and perfectly thin. But they were not so sturdy that they wouldn't buckle under the weight of what (little) they held, folding on its own in my hand. The crust had a grainy quality to it, perhaps from cornmeal and other spices, but it was the crust that gave the pizza most of its flavour.
The moment I noticed the sign for Carbone Coal Fired Pizza, I knew I had to try this unique yet traditional style of baked goods. And while I'm glad I did try the pizza, I would not go out of my way to return. Although, perhaps if they make more money they might start adding more toppings to their pizzas.