Restaurant review

Good pizza, pasta and more at Pie in the Sky

Tim Smith
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

The possibility of world peace — let alone something really, really inconceivable, like properly synchronized traffic lights in Baltimore — may be just pie in the sky. But there’s no wishful thinking required when it comes to the Fells Point establishment Pie in the Sky, which delivers satisfying pizzas, calzones, pastas and more.

Located in the thick of the action on South Broadway, Pie in the Sky opened this year in a spot previously home to the Turkish restaurant Mare Nostrum. Judging by a lunchtime visit, the place has the ingredients necessary to last a long while in an ever-competitive environment.

The counter where you order food is nondescript, but the rest of the room gains a nice vibe from large photographic art works on the walls. A self-service area holds china plates and wrapped-in-a-napkin metal flatware.

There may be a few too many choices on the menu, especially when you’re a newbie holding up the line, but the kitchen seems to handle variety well.

Appetizers cover a lot of ground. In addition to such traditional items as meatballs and bread sticks, you’ll find portobello bruschetta and a dish with Turkish roots, pastrami hummus.

Wings might not sound like an Italian staple, but the ones here are baked with olive oil and Italian herbs. And in addition to the usual sauce choices (BBQ, buffalo, etc.), you can opt for garlic Parmesan, which we did, yielding an appealing, surprisingly subtle flavor that would have been more effective had the chicken not turned out overcooked.

There’s always room for debate about pizza in any parlor, starting with the dough. The house dough here produces a crust on the thick side, a texture that might bother some. I found it appealingly chewy. (Thin crust is available, too.)

More important is the matter of toppings. The hearty plain cheese slice we tried exuded freshness; one loaded with pepperoni slices delivered abundant pizzazz. Both showed off the tangy house tomato sauce.

Whole pies include several “gourmet” selections catering to carnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike. If you want to create your own pizza, topping choices are broad — sun-dried figs, peppers, roasted vegetables, sesame seeds, walnuts, and artichokes, among others.

We settled on arugula and ricotta in a white sauce, which arrived at the table looking as artistic as it tasted, finely browned at the edges and revealing abundant flavor.

Speaking of artistic, consider the calzone, which is a thing of beauty — and size. Hard to imagine anyone wolfing a whole one down.

Its surface lightly covered with a garlic herb blend and shreds of Parmigiano-Reggiano, the perfectly baked spinach and artichoke calzone balanced its two main ingredients with a vibrant assortment of mushrooms, caramelized onions, vegan cheese and tomato sauce.

You can also find spinach and artichoke hearts among the sandwich options available, all served on focaccia. The muffuletta, a sandwich famously associated with Italian immigrants in New Orleans, is very well prepared here with good quality ham, salami, prosciutto, provolone and in-house-made tapenade.

If you’re in the mood for pasta, Pie in the Sky can oblige. I found much to savor in the chicken pesto penne — the pasta al dente, the pesto characterful, the pieces of chicken breast quite tender.

Expecting a gourmet dessert here might be pie in the sky, but prepackaged, out-of-a-refrigerator items, including an airy tiramisu and exceedingly rich chocolate cake, should keep determined sweet-seekers reasonably content.

Pie in the Sky

716 S. Broadway, Fells Point

410-522-3222

Cuisine: Italian

Prices: Appetizers $4 to $12; whole pizza $7.50 to $18; pasta $19 to $16

Ambience: A pleasantly decorated version of a traditional pizza parlor.

Service: Food is ordered at a counter, where we enjoyed welcoming and patient service.

Reservations: No

Parking: Metered street parking and neighborhood garages.

Special diets: Gluten-free and vegan options available.

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Need to know: This is a BYOB restaurant.

tim.smith@baltsun.com

twitter.com/clefnotes

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