Foodies, put Coal Fire Pizza in the Kentlands neighborhood of Gaithersburg, MD on your list. With a combination of typical American fare and traditional Italian toppings, this pizzeria will satisfy many palates. The one area in which it is lacking? Dessert. They have none. There’s a Cold Stone Creamery in the same shopping center, though, if you have room for more after your meal. You won’t.

Ranking the Appetizers

  1. Fresh Homemade Onion Rings
  2. Coal Fire Wings
  3. Crabby Mac
  4. Hand Cut Fries

 

Onion Rings

At the top of the list were Coal Fire’s version of onion rings, which I believe should be called onion strings because these were atypical of the starchy, gummy, oddly seasoned, pull-the-whole-onion-out-in-one-bite, huge onion rings made from onions on steroids. These were light, thin, well-seasoned and crunchy. Paired with the appetizer was a slightly sweet, tangy dipping sauce that must have horseradish as an ingredient. I’d like to get the recipe for that sauce. As Guy Fieri would say, “You could pour that on a flip-flop, and it would taste good.”

Coal Fire Baked Wings

In second place were the smoky, baked wings. These were not gobbled up quite as quickly as the onion rings – not on the initial seating, anyway. They were gone the next day. The meat was juicy and the skin was crispy. They came on a bed of roasted onions and sliced dough, which seemed superfluous. More of that flip-flop dipping sauce would have been a perfect accompaniment, but who’s complaining?

 

Crabby Mac & Cheese

Crab macaroni and cheese is almost a necessity on a restaurant menu in Maryland, the land of Old Bay seasoning and steamed crabs. Coal Fire’s placed third because it was expensive for the portion size and overall flavor. If you order this, just get two because there will be a fight for the leftovers.

Hand Cut Fries

Rounding out the bottom were the hand cut fries. These were great at the initial seating, seasoned with the right amount of salt, crispy, and not overly greasy. Not all fries are great when reheated but some are. These were the former, unfortunately. If you order these, have a group of hungry friends with you; and, eat them all before any other appetizers.

Ranking the Pizza

 

Sundried tomato, ground beef, basilRoasted red pepper, onion, mushroomBlack olives, sundried tomatoProsciutto Cippola

Signature Sauce

I. Prosciutto Cippola

II. Roasted red pepper, onion, mushroom

III. Black olives, sun-dried tomato

Spicy Sauce

Sundried tomato, ground beef, basil

Coal Fire has three types of sauces: Classic, Signature, and Spicy. We tried the Signature sauce on three pizzas and the Spicy on one. Despite my being a lover of heat, I felt the Spicy sauce overwhelmed the flavor of the toppings. The sun-dried tomato and black olive pizza was just the right combination of briny and sweet but was beaten by the flavors in the roasted red pepper, onion, and mushroom pizza. Topping my list was the Prosciutto Cippola pizza, a Coal Fire original. The mixture of caramelized onions, fresh, gooey cheese, and thinly-sliced, fragrant prosciutto was so good that I wanted to savor it later….and did.