Published on May 6th, 2012 | by Katie Elberson0
Hersh's Pizza & Drinks [Review]
There’s a little something you need to know about me before we jump into the good stuff: I’m not from here. So that restaurant you’ve been going to with your family since you were five? I just discovered it for the first time. That bar you’ve loved since you were handing your fake ID over to the bouncer? It’s still new to me. And your favorite crabcake? The one that you swear by when confronted with a lesser state’s full-of-breadcrumbs-and-filler interpretation? I’m still deciding where my loyalties lie. So even though I’ve been in Baltimore for about a year and a half, I still have a lot to learn about Charm City.
One thing I happen to know, however, is pizza. You could even go so far as to say I’m a bit of a snob about it. The thing is, I was born and raised in New Jersey and although I left very voluntarily, the pizza is one of the things I miss the most. Great pizza is the rule in Jersey, not the exception.
But we’re not in New Jersey, and until recently, there wasn’t a decent slice to be had in my neighborhood. Sure, you could order from a chain and satisfy some late-night drunken munchies. But for a truly great pie, there weren’t a lot of options…until Hersch’s.
There’s a lot to love about Hersch’s: the happy hour special that allows you to have two mugs of craft beer for $5, the gourmet atmosphere and intimate setting, the consistently great service, and the bevy of intriguing cocktails to name a few. But we’re here to talk about the pizza. On my first visit, several months ago, I tried the prosciutto and arugula pie. It wasn’t bad, but I would’ve preferred the prosciutto a bit crispier, and the crust a little less done. I prefer a thin, crisp crust to bite into, but the blackened bubbles on that pizza took it too far for my liking. My second and third pies, both margaritas, really showed off Hersch’s outstanding, fresh tomato sauce, but I still wasn’t floored by the crust. But today’s cace e pepi was a whole different story.
Its four cheeses are rich and well-balanced, with creamy mozzarella against a sharp bite of pecorino. Topped off with a light drizzle of olive oil and a healthy dose of freshly cracked pepper, this pie was, by far, the best I’ve had at Hersch’s. The crust had a crisp bite without being overdone, and a dusting of crushed red pepper flakes from the small bowl on the bar really brightened up the flavors. Of course, as any self-respecting Jersey girl knows, the best accompaniment to pizza is beer. The selection at Hersch’s does not disappoint: with a modest but constantly rotating tap list, their beers are not for the casual weekend drinker. These unique microbrews will introduce you to your new favorite sip, but what Hersch’s won’t offer you any of the big three light options, or (sorry Baltimore) Natty Boh. Instead, you can sample the sweet, rich Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, or have a mug of the fruity, summery, and delightful Sprecher Hefeweissen. Not a beer connoisseur? Their bartender will gladly pour you a taste of anything you’d like to try before you commit to a whole mug.
You wouldn’t expect to get out of a place with cloth napkins and a gourmet menu with a bargain. But after three beers apiece and a pie between the two of us for under $30, that’s exactly what my fiancé and I did tonight. And with just a two-block walk home, you can bet it won’t be the last evening we spend at Hersch’s.