A Brick Oven Chain in Destin, FL
April 22, 2013
The RedBrick Gourmet
RedBrick Pizza in Destin, FL is part of a small California based chain that promotes "brick oven fire-roasted" pies. The setup is similar to Your Pie, and they tout a host of 28 mostly ambiguous and somewhat erroneous reasons why they excel. A few are below:
1,000˚ Oven Temps - Try 675˚.
3 Minute Cook Times - Not even close, expect at least 5.
New World Technology - Do they mean the gas assist and sheeter?
Real Wood Smoked - Perhaps they are talking about toppings. No wood here!
No Lard - They're probably not planning any Naples locations soon.
Ordering is done "a la" Subway style where the customer can see all of the ingredients as the pizza is being prepared. Assembly involves a sheeted and docked ball of dough that is placed on a cardboard round, and topped. Then it's taken to a rack next to the oven to wait like a passenger plane on queue for takeoff. These uncooked pies may sit for quite a few minutes before being slid off the cardboard by hand into the mouth of the EarthStone oven. The ovens are designed for wood and/or gas, but RedBrick uses only gas. After a fairly lengthy cook, the finished pie is again placed on a cardboard round to be cut and served.
The system is streamlined, and the quality has been consistent over several visits. If you're wondering about why the multiple visits in an area with some remarkable competition, the answer is simple. This pizza truly tastes good! Before I get anyone's hopes up, I'm not saying that it is stellar, but appealing in a childhood pizza cognition theory sense.
The taste experience of this pizza is evocative of memories from Shakey's Pizza in the early 70's. Back in those days they used a blend of smoked(probably artificial) provolone, Cheddar, and mozzarella on a paper thin sheeted dough. The sauce had a level of sweetness derived more from the caramelization of cooked tomatoes than from added sugar. My enjoyment of this style should be antithetical to what I love now, but it still works for my adult palate. A mixture of smoke, sharpness and hint of sweetness is an indelible flavor from my earliest pizza memories.
RedBrick's four cheese consists of mozzarella, provolone, white Cheddar, and Parmesan. The the cheese is a stringy sharp delight, and combined with a sauce that I would normally snub, it is now a surrogate for a lost childhood fave.
The crust is fairly thin throughout the pie and has a slight but consistent crispness. With the exception of a few white folds, the undercarriage is a fairly even golden brown. The somewhat soft pretzel-like flavor and texture are a standout when compared to the large chains.
The specialty pie combinations aren't outlandish. The RedBrick Gourmet had pepperoni, ham, bacon, Italian-style sausage, mushrooms, black olives, red onions, bell peppers. It was heavily topped enough to please popular tastes, and everything was fresh and of high quality. The veggies retained a mostly raw look and flavor indicating freshness, but this was also a sign of only slight radiant heat from the dome.
When venturing away from NY style, a few toppings are usually an improvement. The worse the quality, the more a heavy and plentiful assortment of items can compensate. While this is nothing like a Northern pie, it is a style where the plain tomato and cheese variety shines brightly. For all of its pretenses and flaws, my relationship with RedBrick is a bit like a crush on a pizza that is not really "my type".
RedBrick Pizza - 4144 Legendary Dr Destin, FL 32541