Taking up the footprint left behind by Nectar Desserts, Without Papers Pizza seemed like the perfect place to go during my recent Calgary adventure. Located in the historic Inglewood section, you might just miss the entrance as the restaurant sits on the upper floor of a beautiful brick building. In fact, as I waited for my dining partner outside, I noticed a few customers double-take, walk away, and return again before eventually finding the door. Good thing the team is aware, because no sooner did I wonder, than a gentleman came outside and placed a sandwich board on the sidewalk.
After shaking hands on the street, FB and I walked through the red door and up the steps. The casual space is open and comfortable. We were told to park ourselves anywhere, so I bee-lined towards the window. As we got to know each other (we’d never met before), I stole a few spacial glances. There was a good stack of wine on one side, with a bright red pizza oven located just a few feet away in the open kitchen. The menu is simple and broken into categories; From The Field (appetizers/share plates), From The Oven (pizzas/calzones), From the Bar (wine/beer), and From The Heart (sweets/floats/sodas). First off, who doesn’t love a place that sells floats!
Our server was bright and friendly, even throwing in an Edmonton jab at one point. She explained that the hand tossed pizzas were fired relatively quickly (3-4 minutes), and that the team at WOP Pizza wasn’t trying to follow the requirements set in stone by VPN. So there you go. There is no need to get all finicky about the pizza being authentic, because they aren’t claiming to be! We settled on one share plate, a pizza, and a calzone to get a grasp of the menu. First to arrive at the table was a selection of grated parm, chili flakes, and oregano. Next our share plate, Micheleangelo’s beef and pork meatballs. The residual heat started to melt the freshly grated cheese as I started snapping a few pictures. The balls were a big success. The texture was soft, moist and held together swimmingly. They didn’t fall apart when I picked them up with a fork and yet didn’t feel like they were packed together in a rugby scrum. The sauce was lively and worked well. The major fail; the bread. Dry and dense, its only saving grace was the herby additions. I even wondered if they’d just given us week old bread.
Our waitress mentioned they cut the calzones a number of different ways (depending on our the chefs feel that day), so I was happy to see our request for it to be sliced down the middle when it arrived. And what did we order; Broek Acres – pork, rapini, provolone. The crispy, almost cracker like exterior was charred with fairly big spots as you can see. The interior wasn’t oozing cheese or toppings like you might find in some versions, but the simplicity worked well and made for a very manageable package. Other notes of interest, it was a salty, a little dry, and came with a heavy feel of corn meal on the outside.
I was super stoked when FB mentioned an interest in my favourite pizza, Margherita – buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, tomato sauce, so we grabbed that for our pie sampling. Like the calzone, the crust was dry and crispy. Unlike the calzone, the bottom showed almost no colour. Strange how the calzone ended up hot enough to burn and the pizza was almost blond. The cheese was lacking in every way, so it’s hard to be excited from the start. The chiffonaded basil was new to me, but didn’t make any difference when it came to the actual taste. Overall good, but not great.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this latest creation from the Sugo team. The idea is spot on and they have both the street and physical location to pull off something fantastic. The talk about authentic pies and everything else is really a moot point at the end of the day, but what really got me was the product. The pizzas are dry and crispy, something that many Famoso complainers cry for, while the toppings didn’t really give me the punch I looked for. The atmosphere (silent movies on the wall), the location, and the product are definitely enough to try it out; in fact, I think you should try it. I just don’t know if I’d find myself needing to run back the next day to cure a craving.