It’s National Pizza Month so we took a ride to Madison to try some hand-crafted and wood-fired pizzas at Urban Fire.
Right in the heart of bustling downtown Madison, Urban Fire is located in the same building as a Chipotle which is a good match for them. Think of them as the Chipotle of pizza. The nearly 1300 degree oven cooks pizzas in 90 seconds so by the time you get your drinks, find a table and relax for a minute, your food is already starting to come out. And, it’s not just any old food, either. It’s fresh, quality ingredients and cooked to perfection from appetizers, to pizza and even dessert.
We had some appetizers, which are called Middles here, and they were all terrific.
Arancini were risotto and mozzarella balls lightly breaded and fried. They were easy to eat in two bites and, in our opinion, much creamier than the usual gigantic rice balls you find elsewhere. The smaller size made the ratio of crunchy outside to creamy middle perfect while still leaving plenty of room to scoop up some of the best marinara we’ve ever had. Anthony, the owner, told us that they use whole tomatoes to make their marinara and you can tell it’s not just puree. There’s a rich earthiness and the bright acidity of real fresh tomatoes in there. Yeah, it’s not your everyday marinara.
Pallini were my favorite starters. Crunchy outside with ricotta, mozzarella and prosciutto inside. The coating kept all that oozing goodness in check and the addition of prosciutto was a tasty miracle. It made the marinara really sing with the salty pork addition and cut through all the creamy dairy.
Our last starter was an order of two Polpetti. Homemade meatballs in more of that wonderful marinara and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano on top. The meat was subtly spiced so you could taste everything in the dish and was also not overcooked so it was very tender. Another perfect starter! On to the pizzas!
Just look at those toppings. Lightly charred from the blazing hot oven and gorgeous in their bed of tomatoes. This is an up close and personal look at the first of two pizzas we ordered. Called The Veg (or Verdure al Forno), this pie had crushed tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, eggplant slices, caramelized onions and roasted garlic herb oil. No cheese to be found here. Just chewy crust and fresh veggies. If it weren’t for all appetizers we’d already eaten, this could have been a good starter, too. Despite coming from an oven that’s nearly 1300 degrees, the crust isn’t super crispy but has a really nice chewy texture that’s thin under the toppings and thicker toward the edges so there’s something to hold onto.
Here’s the up close and personal picture of the pizza that was featured at the top of this article. This was the best dish of the night, hands down. And, we REALLY liked some other dishes, too. But, this Molta Carne pie had crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, meatballs, sausage, Soppressata, red onions and chili oil. It was so spicy!! Owner Anthony, who made the rounds of all the tables quite a bit as we ate, asked if we liked honey once we started on this pie. He said that the restaurant in Brooklyn where he learned all about pizza had come up with Hot Honey which was great on spicy pizza. We were intrigued.
Honey, chili peppers and vinegar. A simple recipe but it made the spicy Molta Carne pizza even more complex and delicious. You’ve got to try this hot honey on anything with sausage or Soppressata.
Our last dish of the night was a bag of zeppoles. You’ll never need to go to the shore again for a zeppole fix once you’ve tried these. No need to stand in line at a carnival for zeppoles, either. Just head out to Madison. These zeppoles were so light and airy that it was easy to finish the bag of them without feeling like your entire stomach was a blob of dough. Fried outside and crispy with just a hint of chewiness from the dough inside and covered in powered sugar. These zeppoles are life-affirming.
Needless to say, this will not be our only visit to Urban Fire. We’re already talking over the menu and figuring out what to order next time!
6 Main Street, Madison
Open til 10:00pm everyday
Check out all the pictures from our visit to Urban Fire in Madison and get down there for National Pizza Month which started today!
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