Ballard Pizza Company, the latest from soon-to-be-if-not-already celebrity chef Ethan Stowell may have an identity crisis. Sure, it's only been open for a few weeks, but while the pizza is big, cheap, and good, the rest of the menu is what sets the shop apart. And why wouldn't it? The pastas, salads, and dessert are simply stars from his other restaurants, pared down to the casual-chic, counter-order style of the latest creation.
If the Romaine lettuce were left whole (rather than chopped), the Caesar salad would be at home on the menu at the late Union, Stowell's first Seattle restaurant. The whole anchovies, crisp croutons, and rich dressing take this dish away from the land of sorry Caesars. The oversized serving bowls harbor enough Parmesan-showered salad to split among the table for $8, making it an affordable side when you figure your slices are only $3 each.
But before we get to the namesake pizzas, let's talk pasta. The spaghetti with anchovies and garlic is similar to a dish that spent time on the menu at Anchovies and Olives, Stowell's Capitol Hill seafood spot. Save yourself $4, though, and order it at the Ballard Pizza Company. The bowl of spaghetti is signature Stowell, with perfectly cooked, al dente noodles coated in a savory, light, oil-based sauce, spiked with the salt of anchovies. Any potential for greasiness is cut with the bite of sliced garlic and spice of chilies. There was never any question about Stowell's pasta capabilities, but in his latest creation, he's put it at a far more affordable price point.
Even more affordable are the giant, New York-style pizza slices that start at $2.50 apiece. With a storefront facing Ballard Avenue and plans to stay open late on weekends, there's no question that hipsters and foodies will take their turns stepping up to the counter here. Admittedly, little tastes better at two in the morning than a large slice, folded across, eaten standing up, like you can at the heavy wooden bar in the front of Ballard Pizza Company. But if you get there a bit earlier, the spaghetti is the way to go.