Sunday, October 2, 2011
Five Points Pizza
1012 Woodland Street
We’re not saying anything new here for folks in the Five Points neighborhood. They’re already well acquainted with Five Points Pizza and the joint has only been open for a month. Why the popularity? It’s a combination of quality food and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s also a restaurant of necessity. Five Points has needed this type of spot for some time.
It’s a long and narrow room, Spartan and yet stylish. They have big wood booths and plenty of seating. The menu is simple and straightforward. Start with the garlic knots: buttery, salty, crispy and cheesy rolls. Continue with a salad. They have four choices and each one comes out in an overflowing bowl full of fresh greens. The house salad has big slices of raw white mushrooms, olives and our choice of a good balsamic dressing. The spinach is snapping fresh in the gorgonzola salad. Walnuts, mushrooms, red onion and dried cherries round out the personality.
Five Points prides itself on producing the N.Y. style pizza that has just begun to emerge here in recent years. Their take is a wide and flat slice with a thin, crisp crust that has a chewy finish. It’s not as thin as what you might get in a typical N.Y. pizza joint, but it’s quite good. You can order by the slice or in a 14 inch or 18 inch pie. A little experimentation shows that the pepperoni slice is quite foldable and that’s an important characteristic of N.Y. style pizza. A solid tomato sauce and well-chosen herbs give the pie some zip. A cheese slice is just as satisfying- basic but good. The Old World pizza is a simple blend of fresh mozzarella and basil. Once again the herbs elevate the pizza. The crusts have been ranging on our visits from a bit chewy to quite crispy, with the Veggie Eater preferring the chewy and vice-versa. We get the Bianca white pizza on one visit and find it nicely crispy with fresh mozzarella and ricotta. The waiter convinces us to get prosciutto on one side of the pizza and it is good advice. This isn’t fancy pizza by any means. It’s very good pizzeria pizza. The paper plates and napkins reflect the philosophy well.
Five Points has a good draft and bottled beer line-up with many local favorites and a few twists to keep things interesting. The well-trained staff seems to have service down to an art, even in the first weeks. The only issue may be with the popularity of the place. We saw 14 pies go out in a fifteen minute time span. Thankfully, the take-out situation has been managed carefully. Visit their Facebook page for the latest. As of this writing, they were restricting the take-out hours to avoid jamming up the kitchen. There seems to be an emphasis on the dining room as the top priority.
Veggie Eater: This place buoys my spirits about the pizza scene in Nashville. It was slim pickings eight years ago when we moved here, and in my opinion, we now have at least three respectable options in town to choose from (you’ll have to look at older blogs to figure out what the other two are and I refuse to rank them for fear of the ensuing squabbling) (we actually just had a fight regarding which is which…I would say five respectable options-M.E.). We’ve had a reader point out that the pies seem a bit pricey in comparison to the other well regarded joints in town (as well as in comparison to New York and New Jersey pizzerias). That may be true, but the salads and garlic knots seem very well priced for the portions offered and there is always the option of mixing and matching individual slices if you don’t want to mortgage your home to buy a large pizza. I found the crust thin, but a bit too crispy to achieve the delicate balance of floppy and foldable. Ingredients used are high quality and applied lovingly and with restraint, so all the elements can be tasted. Many of the pizzas sport fresh herbs, which complement the tomato sauce and other ingredients (especially the fresh mozz and ricotta). On both of our visits, our servers were attentive, knowledgeable, and down-right darling (both male and female variations). Five Points Pizza provides a wonderful after-bar restaurant option for a neighborhood which sadly, despite many great bar options, has been lacking in really good food options.
Meat Eater: 70’s tunes pumping out on the stereo. An eclectic mix of East Nashville residents. Five Points Pizza already seems like a fixture in the neighborhood. It’s comfortable and well-settled. We’ll be back soon.
We paid $40 with tax and tip on one visit and $42 on another visit.