Restaurant Review: Mikey’s Late Night Slice Downtown
Things could have started out better at the fancy, new Downtown version of Mikey’s Late Night Slice. All it took was one bad choice to burn a searing memory.
Mikey’s is famous for selling pizza by the slice. Diners can pick from all sorts of classic slices, as well as a featured weekly option. As luck would have it, the fateful featured option during the go-see was Fiery Death with Hate Sausage. Cute name. Who could resist? Sure, the request was met with a warning and a liability waiver, but you know: restaurants like drama; restaurants like superlatives. Places like to have liability waivers because it’s part of the hype.
And the slice of Fiery Death doesn’t really look that scary. It looks like a regular piece of pizza. The house makes an airy, chewy old-school crust for the foundation, and the slice had little crumbles of sausage and melted cheese populated with seeds and a few pepper rings. No big deal. A few tentative nibbles on the meat indicated it was hot and spicy, but doable.
So, dig in, right? Yeah right. One bite into the pizza slice itself is molten death. You might even start to take a second bite, but halfway through that decision, you realize that the heat from the first wave is still building. Your mouth is on fire. And then, your stomach is on fire too. You’d think all the stomach acid would somehow destroy the searing power, but it doesn’t. It feels like the pizza is burning a hole through your stomach lining in an effort to escape. That is exactly what it feels like.
And then you start to wonder about the liability waiver. And whether people can end up in the ER from eating one bite of a spicy pizza.
After copious amounts of water and several mints, things improve. Still, the process is exhausting and draining. And no one can say that the establishment didn’t dutifully warn me. The current version of the hateful pie has Bhut Jolokia Ghost peppers, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers and Carolina Reaper peppers. Not recommended.
It took a while for the drama to subside enough to recognize some nice things about the other pizza options. The slices are $3 each. To some, that might seem steep, but it’s a huge slice of pizza; no complaints here. The regular sausage pizza uses sliced sausage with an old-school licorice-y spice. The mushroom slice was a surprise favorite (the house uses lots of mushrooms in the pizza, and they have a nice roasted accent). There’s also some briny garlic bread — it’s sold in triangular slices, just like the pizza.
Mikey’s has some deeply weird things on the menu too. The Cheezus Crust ($7), for example: it’s two pieces of pizza fused together with American cheese. It tastes exactly like the sum of its parts, and was given a resounding thumbs up by the table pizza junkie.
There’s also a Pizza Dawg ($5). It’s a hot dog wrapped in a piece of pizza. That option was actually better than anticipated; perhaps because the hot dog is lovingly split open and layered with pepperoni and cheese. It’s that extra step that gives it some odd appeal.
And there are vegetables. Kale Salad ($7) is everywhere on Columbus menus, you might as well eat it at a pizza place. It’s torn in big shards, and mixed with carrot shreds, cucumbers, tomatoes and regular lettuce. It can also help soothe the searing pain of Fiery Death.
Or forget the kale, beer can soothe pain too. The new location is decked out with a full bar boasting ten taps to deliver a classic beer and pizza combo. Also intoxicating is the decor featuring paintings of muppets and star wars figures in classic art themes. You can find it all downtown at 268 S. Fourth Street.
For more information, visit www.latenightslice.com.
All photos by Lillian Dent. Photos are taken at a different time than review, so discrepancies between photos and review may occur.