The eagerly anticipated Lilly's Pizza has finally opened at Peabody Place downtown. I rounded up the fam to check it out this week and found that the anticipation was justified, though the new spot does have a few kinks to work out.
We started with their famous house salads and were delighted both by the size of the side salad and its funky mix of flavors and textures. Organic mixed greens (organic and local is a big thing with Lilly's), cremini mushrooms, organic baby carrots, organic Roma tomatoes, monterey jack, roasted pecans & homemade croutons spilled out of the bowl. The pecans were a particularly nice touch, as were the walnut-sized croutons. The latter are made from Lilly's pizza dough. While they're more soft than crunchy, they are utterly delicious and a signature.
Plus, as we found, they also make for excellent pacifiers. Our 1-year-old daughter, Caroline, got one taste of those things and couldn't get enough. Her insistent cries of "Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma!" echoed through the dining room as she pointed to them, begging for more. So we ordered a side order just for her, and didn't hear a peep the rest of the meal. I'm sure the other diners were grateful.
We ordered two small pies for dinner: The Big Star, a homemade cream of pesto, mozzarella, parmesan, gorgonzola, fontina, roasted red peppers and, yes, pistachios. Fresh flavor, and the surprising meaty crunch of the pistachios made this a hit. We heard another diner offer the constructive criticism that the crust was too sweet, but we agreed the crust was just right as it was, a honeyed counterpoint to the stronger flavors.
The second pie was the Sir Walter, which was supposed to come with porcini mushroom oil, prosciutto, smoked gouda, roasted garlic, cremini mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan and oregano.
Unfortunately, they forgot the mushrooms. This pie really needed another element to cut the saltiness of the prosciutto and the incredibly pungent roasted garlic. Not the best pizza ever, though we think this pie has promise with all the ingredients included and perhaps going a bit easy on the garlic. And, not for nothing, the server maybe should have given us a half-comp or something on it when we brought it to her attention.
But we're not mad atcha, Lilly's.
We gave them a "two-out-of-three-ain't-bad" rating and chalked up the missteps to some growing pains. And we decided we'd definitely be back.