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September 16, 2009

Flatbreads vs. pizza



When I ate at the B & O American Brasserie last week I was struck once again by the fact that stylish restaurants no longer have pizza, they have flatbreads, preferably from a brick oven. When did this happen?

I looked back in our archives, and I found that our food stories were talking about flatbread as early as the early '90s, but then it was always called "foccaccia flatbread." A quick Google search shows that people are making flatbread pizzas with both foccaccia and lavash crusts. ...

Woodberry Kitchen was the first restaurant where I realized that the trend had hit Baltimore big time. When I checked its menu just now, I saw it currently features a "Solstice Flatbread" with roasted squash, pesto, and Cherry Glen goat's cheese.

B & O does have one offbeat one with ricotta, asparagus, egg and parmesan cheese; but three others are more traditional: Margherita, meatball and pepperoni. (OK, this last does have arugula.)

Stouffer's now puts out a Corner Bistro Flatbread. That's when you know a trend has reached its zenith and is probably on its way down.

I should do a poll to see whether readers prefer flatbreads or pizzas.

(Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens/MCT)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 7:19 AM | | Comments (8)


Pizza is a flatbread. As are focaccia, lavash, naan, pappadums, and lots of other things.

Those of us raised in New York already know about thin-crust pizza. The Neapolitan Pizza organization (they issue certificates to pizza makers who have been trained and adhere to their traditional requirements) requires a very thin crust. As Hal Laurent mentioned, most cuisines have some sort of flatbread. What was that old quote about "A rose by any other name..."?

Yes, I'm not sure if these are simply pizzas by another, fancier, name, or actually using foccaccia or something similar as the crust (as opposed to a pizza crust). EL

yah, i don't care what they call it as long as it's good. mahi-mahi:dolphin fish. chilean sea bass: Patagonian toothfish.

whatever its called just make sure it's good.

When my Abruzzese grandmother made it for us 50 years ago, we pronounced it "foogash". It looked lot like today's trendy "flatbread". The phrase "there is nothing new under the sun" comes to mind. My favorite topping was left over tomato, basil, and garlic salad with some anchovies or sopressatta sprinkled with romano cheese. Mmmmmm! I'm making my own mouth water here!

I actually had one of those Stouffer's Corner Bistro Flatbread thingys and I kinda ashamed to say, It was dang tasty, especially the "flatbread".
With my Giant card and a coupon I belive I paid like $1.75 for it.
If I'd paid what one @ Woodberry Kitchen cost I might have a different story to tell but it was better than OK.

I love that. :-) EL

I had the flatbread at Woodberry Kitchen last week. Ours was one of the specials and came with figs, carmalized onions, goat cheese and tasso ham (think I got that right...). Was outstanding and not too pricey.

Based on the ambiance and overall buzz, after going to the soft opening, I am going to Dining Out for Life tonight. Any suggestions on what to order for maybe 2 apps? I do love 'mixologists' Brandon & Eric-from IXIA. Thanks.

I assume if you put "pizza" on a menu people are going to assume "ey yo can I get a slice with extra mutz and some gabbagul!".

It's an interesting discussion for sure, but honestly I don't know why the backhanded comment was worth making the B&O review. Like you said, its not like theyre the first or last people to make flatbreads.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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