Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: The Green Parrot, Newtown, Bucks County, PA

I've been to the Green Parrot, which I think is supposed to have an Irish Pub atmosphere, about 5 or six times. Each time, I've been impressed with the food. There is a lively bar facing Newtown's Sycamore Street and a large quieter dining room behind it. I'm always surprised by the food quality because folks who typically frequent funfoodanddrinkery joints generally aren't fussy about food provided there is lots of it and it's fried.

"Scotch" egg wrapped in sausage then fried

The menu has been refined over time; some of their offerings were a bit too esoteric. They dropped the lovely Scotch Eggs, and that's too bad but I suspect only dedicated watchers of the British version of "The Office" had any clue what's in a Scotch Egg. Anyhow, a while back I had the pizza here and was stunned by its quality; it was time for an official pie tasting visit.

The Green Parrot, street facing

On a cool but humid day, we were seated at a table with an unbelievable draft. My comfort zone is 10 degrees below that of humans, but even I was cold. FEEP (fellow enthusiast for eating pizza) Jr. and I quickly moved to an adjacent table. Later, we watched another party bolt from that same ice zone and learned that some folks before us did the same! Weird.

FEEP Jr. was fresh off wisdom teeth surgery and was gingerly approaching real food for the first time in too long. She had a long list of cravings, including the excellent burgers and mac-n-cheese offered at the GP. However, she also scrutinized the pizza offerings.

Each pizza is a very generous personal size -- more than anyone under 200 pounds could easily finish. One thing I don't like is that only about two of the several pizza offerings are true pizzas; the rest go off into that unfortunate trend of pies defined by their toppings, instead of the essential base of crust, tomato, cheese. As a purist, I chose the traditional pie with aged mozzarella and topped with sausage. FEEP Jr. is more avant garde, and upon assurance that it was not "too spicy," went with the "black and bleu" pie combining several cheeses (and bleu of course), no red sauce, and blackened chicken. Naturally, we each tasted some of both pies.

The "Black and Bleu" pie. I don't see either color!

Both pies came on a very nice Neapolitan crust -- soft and puffy, but not insubstantial. It also had a satisfying chewiness and a lovely char. Not the magic you'd find at Forcella or Motorino, but easily (far and away) the best pizza crust in Bucks County PA, and in fact better than all but 3 or 4 places in Trenton, right across the river. FEEP Jr.'s pie had excellent balanced flavors. The chicken was not blackened at all and was even a tad bland, and I would have liked more bleu cheese to stand out, but overall a fine if untraditional pie.

Traditional pie with sausage

My traditional pie had that same crust, and the cheese on top was ordinary in flavor but cooked to a nice golden brown. The sausage was spicy and terrific. The sauce probably started out very nice, but someone put in too much oregano. WAY too much oregano, which overpowered all the other flavors. I still enjoyed the pie due to the excellent crust and the way it was cooked, but this was the first screwup from the kitchen at GP in my experience.

Lovely char underside of the Neapolitan crust

Is this destination pie? Kinda. I wouldn't travel from Queens or West Chester for this pie, but it's easily the best between Philly and Trenton. If you are anywhere in lower Bucks, yes it is worth the trip.

The black and bleu pie gets an 8. The traditional pie with sausage gets a 6.5. It would have been an 8 without the oregano excess. This place is serving up some well-crafted grub and it's nice to see it crowded each time I visit.

"I got no pizza and NOT happy about it"

Green Parrot Restaurant Pub & Patio on Urbanspoon

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