Restaurant Review: Pie of the Tiger
Yellow Brick Pizza has been a multifaceted operation for a long time. And “faceted” is a deliberate word choice. Like a diamond and its facets, the joint has many sparkly sides. Yellow Brick is good for classic pies. It also has acclaimed meatball subs. And, its version of Tristano’s deep dish is worthy of special occasion fare. You won’t find many like it in Columbus: two crusts sandwiching a dreamy sea of sauce, drippy cheese and toppings.
Any way you slice it, the Brick puts out quality stuff.
And now you can slice it in squares: Yellow Brick expanded its proficiencies and empire, launching a side-gig out of the Short North Tavern. The new project is called Pie of the Tiger, and it has a totally different menu: Square Pizza.
Square pizza is kinda hot right now. While it’s not widely available, people tend to talk about it a lot, with projects such as Wizard of Za popularizing the genre. Pie of the Tiger (let’s just call it “POTT” for short) claims Sicilian and Detroit influence on its pies. It’s cautious in its claims, as passionate authenticity debates are part of the territory in pizza land. As a primer, pizzas associated with Sicily are typically squarish and built on a thick focaccia crust. Detroit pizzas are also associated with the square shape, and sauce on top.
With that as background, let’s roll, starting with our persistent default ordering position: pepperoni. It’s hard to do something different with a pepperoni pie. There are only so many ways to permutate the classic ingredients without fouling it up and destroying its identity. Here, the execution is appreciably different from traditional local approaches, and different in a good way.
Just Pepperoni ($11) delivers a square pie cut in four pieces. It’s built on a thick crust that will be recurring theme in all POTT pies. The crust foundation is crackling crisped on the outside, and provides a delightfully springy support for a swarm of provolone and pepperoni. Topping off each square is a generous dollop of marinara. The sauce is thick and its placement lets its bright tomatoey element shine on its own.
A classic Margherita ($14) pie is often as plain as a pepperoni: tomatoes, cheese, basil. At POTT, it’s a downright exciting combo. Crust, tomatoes, cheese, all present with a garlicy accent and bonus mountains of creamy ricotta. The magic comes in the form of pesto: three-dimensional swirls of pesto crown the creation. It’s not just a hint of green, the kitchen supplies diners with enough pesto to appreciate its unadulterated presence.
You can build your own, with toppings that include pepperoni, bacon, chicken, sausage, mushrooms and peppers. Then again, the house combos have yet to disappoint. Case in point: B.C.R. ($13) melds bacon and chicken with provolone, then tops it with ranch. Sicily may have influenced the crust, but the Ohio accent is strong.
Even less conventional (but still somehow likable): Dill Thrill ($12). Tangy dill pickles cut through the provolone, teamed with both hot sauce and more ranch. It’s a lot of zingy flavors in a pizza package.
The pizza makes POTT a destination, but there are other options on the menu as well. There’s a small sandwich selection, as well as appetizers that include chicken wings and mozzarella sticks. And the host, The Short North Tavern at 674 N. High St., has you covered on on the drinking side. The bar claims a special status as the “longest standing watering hole in the Short North.” May its POTT partnership thrive as well.
POTT is open from 4 – 11 p.m. daily for dine-in and carryout.
All photos by Susan Post