The wood-fired pizza scene continues to grow in the Baton Rouge area, with options ranging from quick, less expensive spots, like Lit Pizza or Dat’z Italian, to the premium experience of Rocca Pizzeria.
Wildwood Pizza, one of the newest entrants in the category of crispy, inexpensive pizzas, has opened locations in the Long Farm Village Center development in eastern Baton Rouge and in Alexandria.
Wildwood is similar to Lit Pizza, with a varied selection of thin-crust pizzas that go from the oven to your table in a handful of minutes. But that’s where the similarities end.
Wildwood is inconsistent, and some of the flavor combinations on the restaurant’s specialty pizzas don’t quite jibe.
My wife and I first visited Wildwood on a Saturday afternoon for an early dinner. We scanned the chalkboard menu on the wall and settled on a couple of the restaurant’s specialties. Instead of watching them assemble the pizza, like some wood-fired pizza chains, we placed our orders at the counter and left to find a seat while the pizzas were made in the kitchen.
Inside, Wildwood Pizza is comfortable, neat and clean, with the gray-toned floors and tables in line with the popular industrial look. Bright green chairs add pops of color across the interior. A shady patio looks appealing.
Our food came promptly. My wife had chosen the Hawaiian ($8.95), which came with the expected Canadian bacon and pineapple, but also red onion, black olives and honey. The pineapple was heavy on the syrup, with a flavor straight from the can, and the onions and olives did not complement the sweet-salty-savory combination.
My selection, the Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy ($10.45), was a white pie featuring spinach, garlic, artichoke hearts, shrimp and Alfredo sauce. The creamy, salty Alfredo sauce overwhelmed the plump shrimp. For this particular pizza, the thin crust could have used a little more time in the oven.
We left disappointed, but I returned for lunch the next day to try again. The salad menu included a few appetizing combinations, so I ordered a garden salad ($5.50) to start. It came with mixed greens, broccoli, black olives, cherry tomatoes and thick gratings of Asiago cheese. I topped it with a sweet, acidic honey lime vinaigrette. The fresh ingredients made for a refreshing salad, and the price was a bargain.
For my pizza, I tried the Garden District ($8.50), a nontraditional pie without sauce. Instead, it came with garlic olive oil, mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, minced garlic, capers and sausage. I loved it. The capers provided a tangy burst of flavor that layered well atop the lightly spicy sausage and juicy tomatoes. This time, the crust was crispy and well baked.
Wildwood Pizza shows some promise, but the specialty menu offers some flavor combinations and ingredients that just don’t work. Instead, stick with the traditional pizza toppings and sauces, and try a salad.
9659 Antioch Road, Suite 105
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
PROS: Salads, Garden District pizza
CONS: Specialty pizzas with poor flavor combos