Coal Vines Off-Menu Pizza Strikes a Vein

Sure, any pizzeria somebody walks into technically offers off-the-menu items; the chefs will sprinkle some cheese and random toppings on a pie and voila! This being said, we weren't on the hunt for elusive eats when we met some friends for pizza at Coal Vines in Uptown last week, but that's exactly what we stumbled across.

The semi-local pizza joint -- there are Southlake, Plano and Kansas City locations as well -- serves up specialty pizzas like the White Special (mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan, sliced tomatoes and fresh garlic), the Bolognese (tomato sauce, mozzarella, Bolognese meat and béchamel sauce) and the pretty straightforward Sausage & Roasted Pepper pizza.

There are also two over-sized chalk boards, one on the front patio and another over the bar, both of which display several different off-menu specials and wine specials that the restaurant is featuring each week. That night, they were offering up a Mediterranean pizza: mozzarella cheese, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis and grilled chicken. The pizza, like all their pizzas, was thin and the crust was slightly charred. And, in less time than it took to order a second pizza and a bottle of pinot noir, we'd scarfed the pie down.

We came back with a different group of friends early this week to see if we could order the Mediterranean pie again, and a different pizza was being featured. No description this time, just: Caprese Pie.

When we explained to our server how tasty last week's pie was she said she wasn't sure if the kitchen had any kalamata olives, but they could definitely remake the pizza with "regular" olives. We opted for the off-menu pizza instead, a sauce-less pie topped with mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and freshly shredded basil, drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

The pizza was a lip-smacking combination of sweet and savory, and while the pie isn't on the menu, they will happily bake a Caprese Pie for those who ask, provided they have all the ingredients in stock.

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