Mellow Mushroom- Great Crust, Cheesy Menu Names
by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon
The Mellow Mushroom is over the top. The decor screams “someone’s fevered dream of what 1969 looked like got barfed all over the inside of this restaurant.” It is, however, in its own way kind of charming. Perhaps it is my own affection for the era showing through but the mellow mushroom has a delightful kitsch in my opinion. It’s over the top decor is part of its charm.
And the menu names continue to bring out that over the top, cheesy enthusiasm. They serve “Magic Mushroom Soup,” “Enlightened Spinach Salad,” and a “Magical Mystery Tour” pie. Of course, no inventive name could save a disappointing pizza. Luckily they manage to deliver innovative flavor alongside their creative dish names.
My most recent visit their we decided to try the pretzel appetizer and the Thai Dye Pizza.
The pretzels were a perfectly good dish, but they weren’t really pretzels. The crust and dough were not really a pretzel dough type. (And I had Bar Louie’s great pretzels in mind to compare to) Rather the pretzel dish at Mellow Mushroom was breadsticks twisted into the shape of pretzels. They were quite tasty, especially when dipped in the beer cheese we got as an add on. But they were not pretzels. A shape does not make something a pretzel. There is a dough type and a crust finish that is important. I know this probably sounds insanely particular but I am a huge fan of soft pretzels and I think I would have liked these pretzel shaped breadsticks a great deal more if they had not been pretending to be pretzels.
That said, what made the breadsticks (because that is what they are) good is the quality of pizza dough. Mellow Mushroom has excellent crust. The crust has a great level of both chew and crispness. It is a dough that is clearly born of a long rise and a great deal of kneading. And it supported a very good pizza in the “thai dye.” The pizza is described by the menu as being “Olive oil and garlic base, all natural grilled curry chicken, mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes, onions. Topped with fresh basil, cucumbers and a sweet swirl of Thai chili sauce.”
It delivered on flavor. The chicken, often mediocre on pizzas, was well cooked with a pleasing texture and full of a sweet aromatic curry flavor. The curry on the pizza was a mild yellow curry that seemed to have a hint of coconut to it. It was aromatic and slightly sweet. The Thai chili sauce offered more sweetness than heat and I perhaps could have used a bit more heat. I would have enjoyed a squirt of sriracha across the pie- but it was quite good as is. The basil and cucumber both offered freshness and the tomatoes brought a good deal of moisture to the dish. It was quite an enjoyable and unique pizza experience.
Plus it passed the all-important next day cold from the fridge pizza test with flying colors.
If mellow mushroom wasn’t across town I would certainly go there more, between their phenomenal crust and their very unusual menu, they offer a little something different pizza wise.