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May 24, 2010 01:59 PM

Coalfire Pizza Kentlands

Went last night to the new Coalfire Pizza -- hands down, the best thin crust pizza Ive had in a long time. Service was good too, and the restaurant atmosphere was an added plus. Wife and son had the Chicken Wings for an appetizer. This was a strange dish -- roasted chicken wings (no sauce) loaded with grilled onions. Not a good thing. But the pizza was great. Definitely a winner.

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  1. Thank you. I've been waiting for a report from here. I live 5 minutes by foot and have been dying to get a group of people to go with me. Soon... very soon. I did go inside and inspect the place pretty thoroughly it's 3rd day open. They said there was a wait each day they were open so far (well, only 2 nights). They didn't even advertise yet. Guess this area was hurting for a different kind of pizza place to open. There's Guiseppe's and Potomac Pizza both within a few blocks away but they don't have the cool atmosphere of Coalfire,

    10 Replies
    1. re: stever500

      I'll counter - I thought Coal Fire was pretty bad, and Giuseppi's makes a much better pie.

      Sauce was mostly sugar with a few tomatoes thrown in.

      1. re: DanielK

        Ouch. Thanks for the info on them. I'll try them anyway as it's so close but it's sad if yet another restaurant in Kentlands is mediocre. Looking forward to the June 5th opening of the new steak and seafood restaurant at 645 Center Point Way in Kentlands next week. Hope it's good. They sure spent a load of money getting it ready for it's opening and took out a 15 year lease.

        1. re: stever500

          Do you know more info about the new steak & seafood spot?

          1. re: mdfoodlover

            The new place is called "Tony & James", supposed to open June 5, according to a local news article:

            "Tony and James’ chef comes from The Palm restaurant, according to Lloyd, and a former Bonefish Grill employee, Megan Lessard, is the general manager. While Lloyd declined to unveil the menu, he did say patrons could count on a version of “Kobe Sliders”; wood-fired pizzas and paninis; and build-your-own burgers and turkey burgers. Happy hour specials will complement the restaurant’s regular American-fare menu, which will be available until 11 p.m"


            1. re: wysguymd

              I was at Tony and James this evening and am rooting for the place (since I too would like to see more quality restaurants in the Kentlands), however, I would advise that one should not get their expectations up at this point since it was obvious some opening week(s) kinks are still being worked out.

              To characterize it as a steak and seafood restaurant is a generous description, though one would get that impression from the pre-opening buzz and from the owners indicating that the chef is from The Palm Restaurant. Rather, my impression from tonight is that Tony & James Restaurant Bar trends towards the latter (sports) “Bar” description than steak and seafood restaurant.

              I was there with my two teenagers, and admittedly, our choices of food mostly did not provide the opportunity to experience the full talent of the kitchen. I definitely want to go back and try a steak at least (support the local business and all). We had the crab cakes with a sautéed spinach dish and garlic mashed potatoes. All decent, but you wouldn’t mistake the crab cakes with ones from, for example, Oceanaire or even Kinkeads . And, at just under $30, combined with the atmosphere and service, not a go to destination for crab cakes for me.

              We also had the Kobe beef cheeseburger and a cheese pizza (teenagers ). The cheeseburger was passable, but flavored with some type of spice that made it taste more of a kabob than burger. Accompanying the $13 burger (Kobe beef), we had the $8 french fries. The fries reminded me of the fries at an Elevation burger – most likely from a bag. At this point, I looked out the window and saw 5 Guys across the street mocking me. The pizza was unremarkable except for the sauce that tasted of chili powder. An interesting flavor, but one of the few times my teenage son did not have more than one slice of pizza.

              The servers were young and enthusiastic. You could tell they were trying, but there were several mishaps that I am sure (hope) they will work out as the time goes by. It started with the waiter coming back about a couple minutes after taking our order, and needing to confirm it. Then, the wrong order was delivered to the table, which was quickly corrected. Also, there was an unusual dueling server dance towards the end of service. One server would come by and ask if we wanted boxes to take home the food we did not eat, and then a minute later, the second server would come by and ask the same thing. It was similar with drinks. Then, one server would drop the check, and less than 30 seconds, the second server came by and asked if it was ready. I didn’t feel like it was an attempt at rushing us out the door, but more of a lack of communication and awareness between the two. I will have to admit, the thought that they were in some sort of disagreement between whose table it was did cross my mind, but I will chalk it up to growing pains.

              The atmosphere is definitely more Happy Hour than restaurant. A large bar, numerous TVs all showing sports, and loud, blaring music. The bathroom upstairs was a little unkempt (think bar bathroom). Not a place that you want to go to have a conversation and a relaxing meal with a glass of wine. Rather, I see this as more of a place to meet some friends after work for a drink and maybe an appetizer, or to catch the game. A fun, sports bar type vibe, but at this point, highly priced for merely decent food and servers in training.

      2. re: stever500

        Can you tell me where it is? I haven't seen it yet and I'm in the Kentlands every day.

        1. re: wookyluvr

          This place is probably associated with the other Coal Fire pizza further up in Ellicott City. Search this board for a number of positive and negative reviews regarding it.

          1. re: bordeauxfan

            Not probably associated - it's the same people.

          2. re: wookyluvr

            It was in the old Zodiac Grill space, down the street from the wine shop and Moby Dick's. The space has been totally renovated and is said to be a complete departure from the final days of Zodiac. Tony is former Terp/NBA basketball star Tony Massenburg. Both he and Lloyd have extensive restaurant/service experience. Looking forward to the Grand Opening.

            1. re: exploravore

              Thanks... no, I meant the Coal Fire Pizza. I've seen it now... it's next to the Blockbuster near the party store.

        2. I personally haven't been to Coalfire (yet?), but my sister went and said it was the worst pizza she ever had.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wysguymd

            We were there the other night and I won't say that it was the worst pizza I've ever eaten (that was in Vietnam in 1968), but it was inconsistent. The pizza we were served was charred just short of being inedible while the pizza served to another party looked to be absolutely perfect. We had the "traditional" sauce which I thought too sweet, but which my other half liked. The flavor of the cheese was overcome by the flavor of too much sauce.

          2. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for Coalfire.The ceaser salad is fantastic and they serve the best fried calamari known to mankind. The pizza ia also good but i suggest bringing a roll of tums if you order the "ring of fire" version. Service is friendly and the bartenders are great. It's also a great place to get a drink (a warning: only 3 beers on tap) with several varities of craft beers.

            I also noticed Tony and James restaurant being mentioned and would suggest everyone steering clear of what is sure to be a dining nightmare of epic proportions. I have tried this place on several occasions hoping to see improvement in quality of food and service and have been dissapointed on every occasion. To put it simply, food is overpriced and of poor quality. Ownership is cold, crass, and ingenuine. When you have been open for less than four months and changed Executive chefs and management several times you know there is a problem.

            1. We went there when it first opened and thought it was ok, nothing spectacular. The pizza was fine, the roasted wings were good, different, but good. I wouldn't choose to go again but wouldn't refuse either. When we were there the employees were talking shop at the bar area which was a big turnoff.