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Restaurant Review: East Coast Pizzeria

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: East Coast PizzeriaPhotos by Lauren Sega.
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East Coast Pizzeria sounds like the name of a big pizza chain. It probably is the name of a pizza chain, somewhere. But it’s also the name of a locally owned pizza joint just north of Morse Road. Although the digs are modern, it’s got an old-school, familiar feel. There’s a big list of options that hang up high near the entrance. There’s also slices of cheese pizza on display in a heated counter, and guests can customize them with extra toppings for a quick lunch.

Beyond pizza-by-the-slice, though, the menu gets serious. ECP offers a long list of custom pizzas, strombolis, and cute appetizers formed from the modest foundations of pizza ingredients.

Case in point: Pepperoni Rolls ($4.49). Those are dangerous. The idea of rolling up slices of pepperoni (with cheese added on for an extra buck) inside bread dough is nothing new. You can probably find that on the menu at a lot of places. You won’t find pepperoni rolls prepared with as much love and lavishness as ECP offers, though. The rolls are sprinkled with seasoning and extra cheese that caramelizes like a crackling shell on top of each roll. Honestly, this version wrecks you for other rolls.

But onwards, to pizza. There are plenty of types of pizza in Columbus, and exponentially more views on exactly how that pizza should be executed. Billing an establishment as “Chicago Style” or “New York Style” engenders a set of (often contradictory) public expectations. The moniker “East Coast” creates fewer expectations and controversy. Here, it’s on the thinner side, but not Donato’s thin; the crust is thick enough to be chewy. A good starter for assessment is the Pepperoni Pizza ($10.99), which is crowned in a dense lid of thinly sliced pepperoni, cheese, and sauce. It has all the requisite elements for satisfaction.

After a modest introduction, it’s time to go to work on the specialty pizzas. Big love for the Taco Pizza ($15.99). It boasts a great deal of jalapeño slices, not to be carelessly mistaken for briny banana peppers — ECP’s jalapeños will set your mouth on fire. In the tradition of any proper taco, there are also tomatoes, ground beef, cheddar, and cute little mini rounds of corn chips. Score.

Skip the Meatball Pizza ($15.99), though. Somehow, the expectations were for something that would deliver robust whole or half-meatballs. Instead, it offers crumbled meatballs sprinkled randomly. The coverage is disappointing, especially when contrasted with the generous meat coverage on the pepperoni pie.

If you want to do a meatball, it’s best to go to something from the sub section. The East Coast Meatball Parmesan Sub (12” for 8.99) delivers the goods. It’s a nice opportunity to appreciate the true glory of house-made meatballs, with a defined tenderness that distinguishes them from their rubbery, mass-produced lookalikes. They’re teamed with sauce and cheese on a soft roll.

There’s a Calzone ($10.99) scene here, too. Diners can assemble three toppings for the inside (pepperoni, mushrooms and spinach work nicely), and the outside is lovingly crusted with parmesan and parsley. Those little touches make a difference between a generic meal and a new obsession.

You can find East Coast Pizzeria at 5060 N. High St., across the street from Graceland Shopping Center.

For more information, visit ecpizzeria.com.

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