Alexandria, VA – If you had asked me last week about my feelings about pizza, I would have said, meh, not really not my thing. Being raised in Chicago, there’s not much that can compete with a real deep dish or really thin, crisp crust pizza. So, I approached RedRocks Pizza in Old Town with some trepidation. That being said, I am now a WOW – it’s time for dinner! RedRocks, at 904 King St. offers Neapolitan style pizza cooked in a wood fired stone oven that reaches 900° that lends a delightful smoky, charred flavor to everything cooked inside.
Where to begin…
Let’s look at the beer, wine, and cocktail menu. There is a well curated of wine and beer to compliment any of your menu selections. The French Hibiscus made with St. Germain, wild hibiscus flower, and Adami prosecco is a cold yet warming sip of bubbly that is better than any mimosa I’ve had. It’s refreshing and smooth, and the hibiscus flower garnish is edible. Then there’s the Fleur de Lis made with Grey Goose, St. Germain, lemon juice, grapefruit, and basil. The flavors echo the Italian flavors of pizza with the hint of basil while offering a refreshing citrus flavor to cut the richness of cheese and red sauce.
Speaking of flavors, you should definitely order the Crispy Brussel Sprouts appetizer. The tasty little green nuggets are cooked in the wooed oven with onions, anchovies (don’t freak out – you won’t know they’re even there), and olive oil. These are not the usual restaurant dish. These are not the usual sweet balsamic flavored sprouts – these are umami bombs that will make you not want to share. By the way, they will leave out the anchovies if you ask to make the dish vegan. Want something fresh and light? Try the roasted Beet salad with goat cheese, oranges walnuts, and topped with a balsamic reduction. The bites of red and gold beets. Each individual bite combines to make a refreshing bite of crisp, crunchy, earthy, sour, and sweet. They will happily remove the cheese to make it vegan.
Neapolitan Pizza – these are Neapolitan inspired, thin crust pizzas cooked in the wood fired oven. The crusts are crisp with a bit of char with dough that puffs up around the sides and provides an airy crust while the bottoms are cooked through enough to avoid becoming soggy from the toppings. This Neapolitan style pizza is prepared with simple and fresh ingredients like tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. RedRocks works with this basic recipe to create some flavorful pies.
We tried two and were just so very happy.
The Redrocks sausage pizza is a favorite among those in the know. Topped with crushed tomato, homemade fennel pork sausage, jwala peppers, fontina cheese, and parsley is a real winner. The jwala peppers are hot – at least three times hotter than a jalapeno but they are tamed a bit by the heat of the oven and fontina cheese. I love the sausage. It is so well flavored with fennel, I could forgo all the other toppings in favor of it.
I also love the Eggplant Pizza topped with mozzarella di bufala, roasted red peppers, basil, grana, and roasted Italian eggplant. The flavors are a match made in Italian heaven. There’s not much better than the combination of cheeses, roasted red peppers with the eggplant. The crispy crust provides crusty counterpoint to the tender toppings. Once you taste roasted red peppers on a pizza, you can never go back to the handfuls of chopped up green peppers found on other pizzas. My meat loving friend decided this one was the real star of the meal.
There are several choices of fresh, house made pasta that are a delicious alternative to pizza. We tried the Eggplant Parmesan Pizza made with lightly breaded rings of eggplant served with mozzarella and pomodoro sauce over spaghetti. If you like eggplant, you’ll love this dish. There’s lots of flavors packed into the dish and it’s perfect to eat with or without pizza. The pasta has a wonderful flavor with just enough just enough chew to hold onto the sauce. This pasta is so good it would be just perfect dressed with butter, garlic, and Parmesan. The ricotta gnocchi carry on the pasta tradition – tender little bites that share the spotlight with braised short rib and Parmesan cream, and a red wine reduction.
So, you’re feeling happily satisfied, but if you’re like me, a little bit of sweet would just end the meal perfectly. Try the Tiramisu. This is not the sweet version we have become accustomed to. The cake layers are tender and soaked with an amazing mellow espresso. There was a perfect balance of cream and cake and chocolate. You must try it! And of course, there are an assortment of after dinner drinks and coffee.
Did you know RedRocks is also available for brunch, Saturdays, and Sundays, 11 AM-3:00PM? Have a mimosa, Irish coffee, or Bloody Mary while enjoying eggs, omelets hash, paninis, and both breakfast and their regular pizzas. They even offer a Hangover Burrito that will cure what ails you!
RedRocks hosts a variety of customers from singles and couples of all ages to families with children. It can get a little loud at times with the natural brick walls but you can still hold a conversation. Come early for happy hour, dinner, or late-night meal after a show. Try it, you’ll like it and come back again and again for more.