DISCLAIMER: My food reviews come from someone who has absolutely no background or knowledge of food. I can tell what tastes good to me. With that said, my eagerness to try ridiculous things as well as old favorites combined with the fact that I have moved cross-country and travel for my job means that I’ll have extensive opportunities to review many things. And yes, that’s a run-on sentence. Deal with it.
My ratings go like this:
A) Awesome, unique, I get cravings for this and nothing else satisfies it.
B) Delicious, and will almost certainly eat again.
C) Completely average. Nothing wrong with it, but doesn’t stand out and will probably try something else next time at this restaurant.
D) Something was not right with this. Still ate, but doubtful will eat again,
F) Simply pathethic/unedible/no urge to ever go near in the future.
One of the first nights after I moved to Tulsa, I was hungry for pizza. So I checked the Urbanspoon pizza page and saw that Number 3 on the list was a nearby place called Hideaway Pizza. That would be good sign number 1. Good sign number 2 is that they don’t deliver, and if you are pretentious enough as a pizza place to not deliver while remaining in business, that means you make some good food. So, I called and was told that there was currently a 2 hour 15 minute wait. ABUH?! Apparently they had some online special that week that you got 50% off if you ordered online. Good sign number 3.
Finally I got around to ordering it to eat during the Ohio State-Miami game a few weekends ago. I intended it to be my food for the entire weekend so I got a smorgasbord of pizza and appetizers:
First up is a football classic: Chicken Wings. Many variables can go into what makes a delicious chicken wing. Obviously, it has to be thoroughly cooked, and bigger is always better. When discussing wings from an Italian/pizza place as opposed to an actual wing restaurant, slack must be given. And with that slack accounted for, the Hideaway Wing Corner 1lb BBQ Wings for $6.99 come up gangbusters. Served on a bed of lettuce so that all the steam/perspiration don’t water down the wings, the presentation is outstanding. Honestly, it was hard to find fault. The BBQ sauce had good and semi-unique flavor, while the wings were large, meaty, and easy to eat. If there is one downside to Hideaway’s wings, it is that they are served by the pound, and because they are bigger, you only get about 9 wings in a serving. But that is a minor complaint. Overall, for pizza place wings, these get an ‘B’.
When something is advertised as, “Our Famous…” I ALWAYS have to try it. Simply because generally I have never heard of it previous to ordering it, thus I question the validity of its claim to be famous. Well, Hideaway’s first appetizer on the menu is Famous Fried Mushrooms. But I’m a sucker for combinations–it lets you try more things at once. So I looked farther and found the 50/50 for $6.59 which is described as, “our famous fried mushrooms and five Mozzarella Cheese Sticks.” Let’s start with the cheese sticks and quickly get them out of the way. You know when you go to Sams Club and there are two types of cheesesticks in the freezer? One is the smaller box that looks like something you could buy in a grocery store, and the other is larger and has foodservice style packaging? The cheesesticks from Hideaway’s are the latter. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Those are delicious cheesesticks, however they were not crispy at all. So the combination of blatantly store bought cheesesticks and poor cooking of them gives them a ‘D’. The other half is the “Famous Fried Mushrooms.” These were actually very good. Definitely homemade and had just the right amount of flavor coming out of the mushroom. Additionally, they were cooked excellently, so that they weren’t little pockets of scorching hot juice just waiting to burn your tongue. Personally, I would have liked to see a little more batter, but that’s not the style of this dish. They get a ‘B’. Combined, the 50-50 gets pretty much exactly that: ‘C-’.
The final appetizer is another mushroom dish simply entitled Mushroom Caps for $6.59. It is another item that is listed as a ‘Hideaway Favorite’ and described on the menu as, “Filled with a spicy cream cheese and vegetable stuffing, topped with mozzarella and baked until golden brown.” These reminded me of the Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms appetizer that Red Lobster serves, except without the seafood orientation. This was probably my favorite dish out of everything I ordered, but with that said, was not spectacular. It simply appealed to me at that time. I feel that you can put cheese on pretty much anything to make it better, and as stated in a previous post, I love burnt things. Alongside my love for spicy things, these mushroom caps pretty much just hit nailed all of the bases for me. The cream cheese wasn’t really spicy at all, but I have a very high tolerance for spicy food, and you could definitely tell that there was something added to the cream cheese, so it was a nice touch. The downside of the mushrooms is that it appears that all of the juice that was missing from the Fried Mushrooms was put in the container holding the Mushroom Caps. That is what gives the picture that sort of grungy color instead of the pure white coming from mozzarella. This is a hard one to rank because while it was definitely unique and I wouldn’t be surprised if I do crave it again at some point, it wasn’t really the dish that sold me. It was the excessive amounts of cheese topped on the mushrooms that was baked to perfection. I could take any semi-juicy item i want, sprinkle a little cajun/spicy seasoning, dump a pound of fresh mozzarella on it, and toss it in the oven for a while… ta da, the same result. So I’m deviating from the scale already and going with a ‘B+’ due to that caveat.
Lastly, we come to the reason most people go to a pizza place, the pizza. As mentioned previously, I love anytime you can have a combination or something similar because then you get to try more than one item at once. Hideaway Pizza has about 18 different specialty pizzas, and allow you to order one half and half. (Additionally, the 19th specialty pizza is special in that each slice is of a different pizza.) With this being my first time, I decided to go for the standard top-left choice of The ATW (Around the World) as well as yet another Hideaway Specialty logo item entitled Big Country in a medium size for $15.59. Both pizzas use Hideaway’s Red Sauce and are topped with of combination of mozzarella and pepperoni. From there, The ATW takes on the role of a standard Deluxe/Supreme Pizza by adding sausage, diced green bell peppers as well as diced red onions, before finishing with black olives and fresh mushrooms. Big Country meanwhile takes on more of a Meat Lovers role by including Canadian bacon, hamburger, and Polish sausage before topping it all off with cheddar. Right after pickup they were meh, luke warm they were meh, refrigerated they were meh, and heated up in the over they improved to solid. Honestly, this is the very definition of a ‘C’ to me. The crust tasted like a standard nationwide chain crust, and the toppings were plentiful, but unremarkable. There isn’t a bad thing to say about this pizza, but nothing stood out either. Would I get this over Papa Johns or Dominoes? Probably. But with all the national chains going crazy currently with these $10 pizza deals, can I truly advocate spending almost $16 on this? The answer is no. So a ‘C’ it is.
Overall, not a bad experience by any means, but simply not worth the price I paid for everything since nothing truly stood out. Most items were simply in the range of average to good with the exception of the cheesesticks. To recap:
50/50: C- (Cheesesticks: D; Fried Mushrooms: B)
Mushroom Caps: B+
Specialty Pizza: C
Hope this was either entertaining, informative, or helpful. If not, oh well, you already read it and we already got your click registered. More food reviews coming in the future, and more rambling and rants on the horizon. Stay Tuned. … You know… because you tune the internet.