Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

A Pizza Bar With a Pedigree, Potential, and Plenty of Hiccups

Supreme in West Seattle serves up New York-style pie and apologies.

A trip to West Seattle’s Supreme Pizza & Bar (4521 California Ave SW) on the night before New Year’s Eve seemed like the perfect date-night for my husband and I—a 21-and-older establishment that serves what it calls “New York Style Pizza” and liquor. After all the fussy holiday food and its preparations and the time spent with family, this dark simulacrum of a dive joint felt refreshingly low-brow. Plus, you know, pizza—and from the owners of Ma’Ono Chicken & Whisky no less.

Unfortunately, things took a weird turn from the start, and never really altered course. Besides pizza and liquor (more on the liquor later), Supreme offers four other items: wings, a Caesar salad, garlic scallion knots, and an ice cream sandwich. Thinking that a little protein before we carb-loaded was in order, we went for the wings, which come two ways: lemon pepper or hot. We asked for hot, but when they were delivered nearly 30 minutes later (after both of our cocktails were long gone), we got about 8 wings that weren’t at all spicy, but also weren’t particularly lemon-peppery. When we asked our server about it, he realized that our wings had been delivered to the wrong table, and that we’d gotten someone else’s order. No worries, he fixed us up tout suite with the hot wings and let us know they’d be comped. Cool. Two wing orders for the price of one, and we were damn hungry at that point. Good thing we ate them all up because it would be another half hour before our pizzas came. At this point, I ordered another drink out of boredom.

I wish I could say everything went smoothly from that point on, except that our two large pizzas came to us in cardboard take-out boxes, one on top of the other. This wasn’t lost on our kind server. He immediately explained there’d been a mishap, and asked if we minded eating them from the boxes. Considering how hungry we were, no.

The pizzas themselves, of which there are about a dozen types to choose from, can be ordered as halves (as long as you stick to all “red” or “white” pies), giving us the chance to try four different versions. We split them up as such: “Bomb as Sausage” with the “Broken Meatball” and “The Ono” with the “Oh, You’re Sooo Hawaiian” pie. Diving into the first box, all seemed well. But a quick bite into one of the pies in the bottom box evidenced stone cold pizzas. The mishap became apparent; all that time we’d been waiting, milking our drinks, this pizza had obviously been sitting around. We called our server over, he apologized profusely, shuttled the pie back to the kitchen for warming and let us know it too would be comped, and that they were having problems due to delivery madness following the Husky game. While that pizza went away for a bit, we munched on the other.

The Broken Meatball was my favorite, with the flavor of basil permeating the whole pie. The Bomb as Sausage was ok too, with red Swiss chard bleeding into the cheese, chunks of Italian sausage, and zingy red cherry peppers. The pizza itself is decent; it’s definitely in the New York-style realm: thin, and with that great black charring on the bottom and in the crust, and not overly cheesed or sauced. However, it’s too doughy in areas, and the sauce is neither here nor there. That might be forgivable if the toppings were killer or abundant, but they were neither. In fact, the pizza that finally came out hot, and which carried with it the greatest promise of intrigue, was oddly underwhelming. The Ono half, which is topped with fried chicken, kimchee, and melted squares of American cheese alluded to Ma’Ono’s yummy factor and out-the-door waits at brunch, but delivered skimpy amounts of bland chicken and virtually no kimchee (I hunted down one piece beneath a layer of cheese just to prove to my husband that it was actually present). The American cheese didn’t add anything. Meanwhile, the Hawaiian was also scant on toppings: a few haphazardly placed jalapenos and pineapple chunks and some tasty, but stingy, pieces of Portuguese sausage. Not a particularly big deal, but strange nonetheless: they cut huge slices, six per pie. So, if you’re eating with more than two people, you may want to ask to have them cut smaller, or try to do it yourself. Also of note: slices are available at night; there’s about five or six types to choose from. I planned to get a white slice to go (the “Jabroni” with pesto, feta, artichoke and arugula), but, given our track record, it promised more of a wait.

That said, if you’re coming for drinks and some pizza to help wash them down, it’s not the worse place to end up. The interior, with its pizza parlor stools, colorful Moroccan-style lights, a glow-in-the-dark video game room with a Metallica game among others and a chalkboard you’re free to scribble all over (“Just Eat Pussy” was one customer’s memorable comment) is kitschy fun—as are the drinks. There’s a slushy machine that churns out some crazy-sounding frozen booze concoctions, like a “Kraken Root Beer Slurpee” that consists of Kraken rum, whipped cream vodka (when did that become a thing?), root beer Schnapps, lemon juice, coca cola, and angostura. I can’t tell you what that tasted like because I just couldn’t. But the Passion Fruit Habanero was up my alley with tequila, passion fruit & strawberry puree, lime juice, and a whopping blast of habanero. It was sour and spicy and not at all sweet. At $9, it was a well-priced beginning of a buzz. They also offer a selection of draft and house cocktails. The Pomegranate Kamikaze brought together vodka, lime juice, pomegranate, orange liqueur, and angostura bitters nicely, though the pomegranate itself wasn’t really noticeable. The Ginger Papaya Margarita on the other hand packed a well-played punch of ginger, with just enough sweetness from the papaya—both perfect partners for tequila. Again, prices at $8 and $9 are a welcome respite from cocktail up-pricing, though don’t expect to get too loose-limbed or loose-lipped from them. It takes two…

The best part of the night came with the bill. After all the mistakes, we ended up paying just $37 for two huge pizzas, two orders of wings, and three cocktails—and, in all seriousness, that earnest attempt to make up for faults goes a long way with me. I’ll never be an easy critic when it comes to pizza (I’m spoiled from decades living in New York and a few years eating Delancey’s excellent pizza over in Ballard). That said, I was still expecting more given the Ma’Ono connection. But I guess, at the end of the day, the ability to make superb Hawaiian-influenced comfort food really has no correlation with pizza. Why would it? But at least they could do justice to the “Ono” toppings, starting with the fried chicken they’re famous for and some serious kimchee action.

food@seattleweekly.com

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