Our food critic’s name may be false, but the credentials are not. This gastronome has studied the history, cultivation, preparation, science and technology of food for more than 30 years.
Tucked away in the Village Plaza center off Perkins Road sits Bistro Byronz’s pizza parlor concept. The former Flambee Cafe was rebranded last summer as Pizza Byronz, but the restaurant’s pizza oven is still in plain sight, the space is still cozy, the bar is still well apportioned, and the shady patio still beckons.
Only the name has changed—and its expanded variety of pizza options.
Once home to versions of the French-style tarte flambee (a pizza-like flatbread), Pizza Byronz now aims to satisfy every pizza lover with classic pies and square pies joining the French import.
There were several hefty appetizer choices on our visit—like wings, fried brie bites and Parmesan fries—but to save more room for pizza, we went with a salad. The Byronz Chop looked particularly appealing, with lettuce, cucumbers, artichoke, chickpeas, avocado and a surprise of rice sticks. Those crunchy rice sticks offered a mild textural element while the tangy, creamy horseradish dressing brightened the entire salad. Thin ribbons rather than slices of cucumber were a nice and unexpected touch.
Wanting to try the three pizza crust varieties, we opted for the Tail-Spin from the classic menu, a square of the Butcher2 and the flambee thin-crust Champignon.
We first dove into the Butcher2, which looked alluringly ooey gooey. That look did not deceive. A thick dough baked in a square pan supported the weight of all the luscious meats (pepperoni, beef, bacon and ham). A mound of melted mozzarella thankfully spilled over into the pan edges and created crave-worthy, mouthwateringly caramelized cheesy goodness. It was reminiscent of a Detroit-style pizza, and it had all the best qualities of a good deep dish pizza, too: meaty, slightly greasy, rich and indulgent.
I was initially surprised that the Champignon flambee had raw white onions scattered on top rather than sautéed onions, but it turns out it’s traditional to the French style. The thin crust was very appealing and crisp, but the bacon overwhelmed the scant mushrooms. More mushrooms might have balanced it all out, and sautéed onions would have been a less pungent topping.
The shrimp on the Tail-Spin pizza sparkled with a nice dusting of seasoning mix. Melted mozzarella and artichoke hearts were quite abundant, adding touches of saltiness to the pie. Slices of tart tomato rounded out the flavors and brought everything together tastily on this classic pizza.
For dessert, the most appealing option was the Chocolate Cake Parfait. Deceptively named, this was essentially a layered brownie à la mode. While all of the elements were fairly standard, the brownie did have an unusual cherry flavor. We did not finish it.
Dessert aside, pizza is the name of the game here, and the restaurant is more than worthy of multiple visits to sample the three varieties. My partner pointed out that a dinner of only one type of pizza might be too boring or too rich depending on your preferences. But a mixture of several different pizzas and interesting toppings made all the other pies that much more worthwhile.
So come and eat variety: the spice of life (and pizza).
THE BASICS: The Byronz Restaurant Family opened Flambee Cafe in summer 2017 just across from its Willow Grove location. Celebrating the Alsatian style of flatbreads similar to pizza, the French-themed restaurant attracted customers curious to try its tartes flambees. Reopening last July as Pizza Byronz, its menu has expanded to offer a wider variety of pizza styles as well as sandwiches, pastas and crowd-pleasing appetizers.
WHAT’S A MUST: The Byronz Chop salad if you want to start off with lighter fare (though we wouldn’t fault you for going in on some Parmesan fries or fried onion strings). The shrimp-studded Tail-Spin is a good intro to the restaurant’s take on classic pizzas, while you can recall its French roots with the Champignon tarte flambee.