Earth Wood & Fire
21407 Clarkview Road, Baltimore

Maybe I’m spoiled having lived in New York until I was ten. When it comes to pizza, I have a high standard. Admittedly, I have yet to taste any pizza I like as much as Phil’s Pizza in Massapequa, Long Island, and believe me, I’ve tried. So with that background, let’s move on to our dining experience at Earth Wood & Fire. It was a busy Wednesday evening, the dining area was completely filled, so we were seated at a high-top table over by the bar. We were pleasantly surprised how spacious the bar area is – not at all cramped.

Off the drink menu, Nick had the French 75-9 (Beefeater Gin, Proseco, simple syrup, club soda, with fresh muddled lime – $9) while I had the Bare Hills Sangria (Select wine, fresh fruit, orange juice, and Brandy – $9). We both enjoyed our drinks along with the Nana’s meatballs appetizer (served with arugula and parmesan cheese – $8). There were other choices of specialty cocktails to select from, such as the Moscow Mule, Electric Lemonade, or the Strawberry Mojito, all of which sound divine. From the Small Plates menu, besides meatballs, there were other interesting options. My favorite would be the Grilled Marinated Hanger Steak with Cucumber-Wasabi Dressing ($11).

Nana’s meatballs were cheesy and fantastic, and devoured in minutes. The serving size of four felt right for the price, considering the fresh ingredients. However, I felt there could have been more sangria. Served in a stemless wine glass, there was far too much ice.

Known for its coal-fired pizza, we decided to bypass other meal options that includes burgers, salads, and various sandwiches. Being a purest, I ordered the ten-inch Traditional Pizza, which consists of plum tomato sauce, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and olive oil – $11.00), while Nick had the ten-inch Rustic Pizza, which had plum tomato sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, and oregano – $16.00).

The other specialty pizza choices were: White, Pugliese, Scampi, Vegetable, Neapolitan, and Pesto, all ranging from $14 to $16 for a ten-inch and $17 to $19 for the larger 14-inch size.

So with a wine glass full of ice, and no more sangria for me, and no more French 75-9 for Nick, we waited for our pizza. The wait wasn’t terribly long; we were watching the Orioles game on the big screens. Finally, our pizzas did arrive, and they looked delicious. Alas, both seemed to be undercooked in the middle. The outside crust was crispy, as it should be, but as you move closer to the center of the pizza, it became very doughy and drippy. Maybe there was something off with the coal-fire oven that evening?

Now back to the high standard of Phil’s Pizza, for obvious reasons, Earth Wood & Fire came up very short. We did like the location, the atmosphere of the dining room and bar area, and the overall vibe of the restaurant. The service was inconsistent; there were times we did not feel attended to. We did leave the restaurant feeling as if we had overspent considering what we had ordered, and disappointed in the drink serving size, and the undercooked pizza. Even with our first experience there, I would still consider returning because everyone, even a restaurant, deserves a second chance.