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Oct 9, 2018

Review - Michael's Ali Coal Fired Pizza, Clermont Florida

790 West Minneola, Clermont Florida (near Old Town)

Pizza Chap rating..
4.5 out of 5 slices 

I visited a new pizzeria that's been open in Clermont for a few weeks now called Michael's ALI Coal Fired Pizza.  Michael's ALI has a sister store in Winter Garden with a similar footprint to the one in Clermont.  Both have an open, airy, industrial layout.  Plus.. they both share their spaces with microbreweries!  Suncreek Brewing is located at the Clermont location.  This new store is win-win for Beer and Pizza lovers west of Winter Garden.

 Main entrance leading to Michael's Ali

Suncreek Brewery to the right.. 

The pizzeria serves up 12" Coal Fired Pizzas that will easily feed two people, or one of me.. (if I skipped Breakfast).  The pizza I settled on trying was their 'Brooklyn' Specialty Pizza.  The cashier takes your cell phone number, so they can text you when your pizza is ready.  This is a great idea, because this place can get absolutely overrun in the evenings and on weekends.  Your pizza is served up in a box that you can carry to a table on the patio, over to the microbrewery side, or to-go if you so choose.

Here it is, in all of its glory.  The BROOKLYN!

The 'BROOKLYN' sported fresh Mozzarella, Italian Sausage, roasted red onions, and as a first for me on a pizza.. Rapini.  I must say.. that this was an incredibly hearty and bold pie, and I loved every bite of it.  Let me break it down for you..

The crust was great tasting, with a nice charred underside.  I personally prefer a bit more char on my cornicione (the edge crust) but that's on me.  I will say this, the pizzaiolos were very attentive to these pies while they were being cooked, rotating them and checking them regularly for even heat distribution.

Pizza is a very hands on process, and I personally fidget with and adjust pies that I make throughout the entire cooking process.  It very much has to do with the love of your craft and taking pride in what you do.  

There are Wood-Fired chains out there.. those whose names will not be mentioned, that boast of a 180 second cook time.  Every pie I've ever had from one of these places while delicious.. always has one side well done, and another that is considerably less than crisp.  I can't say every pizza cook at these places doesn't care, but when they are serving up hundreds upon hundreds of pizzas a day, it boils down to a mind set of, 'Get them cooked & served as fast as possible'.  But I digress.  Back to my review.. 

So the pizza was definitely a thing of beauty.  The fresh Mozzarella was of great quality, but I would have liked to see a wee bit more of it on my slices.  Again, that's on me and is a personal preference.  A saltier high butter fat Mozzarella would not do this pie any favors, so I'm glad they went with the fresh Mozzarella.

As I bit into the pizza I was first hit with the great char on the bottom crust.  Next, I got a bit of pungent and slightly bitter flavor from the nicely cooked Rapini.  Just when I thought that this topping might be a bit too overwhelming for this pie, the wonderful roasted red onions with sweet caramelization kicked in on the assist.  The acidity from the mild sauce balanced everything out, and then my friends.. the star of the show showed up.  I'm talking about the Italian Sausage!  I have not had a sausage as good as this one, served up on a pizza in a very long time.  I don't know if they buy it or if it's made in house, but time and care went into making it, and reminds me of a nice homemade Italian sausage.

Lastly, I had a beer with my pizza that I walked across the room to get at Suncreek Brewery, and it paired with my pie perfectly.   A nice mild Blonde Ale, with a low bitterness level from the Hops it was brewed with.

More Specialty Pies from the menu

I guess I would describe the 'BROOKLYN' as a hearty, rustic and bold pizza, with a totally artisanal feel and taste.  I will definitely be back at some point to try more of their Specialty pies, and to maybe build one of my own.  The beer lover in me is ecstatic that just across the room is a microbrewery with a great selection of beers, even more of a reason for me to get back soon!

If you like Coal Fired Pizza and you're in the Clermont area, give Michael's ALI a try.
Visit Michael's ALI Online 

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