Once again, Shant Mardirosian -- the original founder of Burger’s Priest -- is saving us from Toronto’s astronomical restaurant prices. Trying his hand at pizza, Shant has opened up a new casual dine-in concept, The Fourth Man in the Fire Pizzeria.
Staying true to his ubiquitous biblical theme, the restaurant's name is a reference to a passage in the Bible. Just how the fourth man in the fire was saved from the heat of the scorching flames -- Shant intends to save patrons from the heat of inflated dinner bills.
The pizzeria takes over the now-closed Campagnolo space. The Fourth Man in the Fire is amongst good company -- with neighbours such as La Palma, Patois and Rhum Corner -- the neighbourhood is brimming with renowned Toronto restaurants.
A prime corner location with large floor to ceiling windows creates a rather enticing atmosphere inside the restaurant. The mint green walls and checkered floors intentionally transport restaurant-goers back to the days of retro pizzerias. Unlike the pizzerias of the past, The Fourth Man is fitted with quite a few technological advancements.
Tables come equipped with iPads that allow guests to simply place their order and pay upfront for their meal. There is no need to wait for the bill at this establishment.
Shant’s mission was to not only lower the cost of dining out but to improve the overall experience. The restaurateur was on a mission to introduce ease into the ritual of dining out and remove all unnecessary stressors.
Drinks are delivered briskly on a bar cart that is whisked across the dining room. With a simple press of a light-up button, the servers are notified and come over immediately to offer us libations. Shant wanted to surpass the old adage that your first drink order always seems to take the longest time to arrive at the table. The drinks are comprised of wine by the glass ($5) and bottles of Miller High Life ($3.89). Definitely don’t miss the pitcher of Negroni mix, for being pre-made and costing only $6.50 it is the best Negroni I’ve ever tasted.
The pizzas measure in at a whopping 18 inches and are an elevated version of the typical delivery pies of Midwest America. Taking such an objectively delicious pie and enhancing it with quality ingredients, 00 flour for the dough and San Marzano tomatoes for the sauce -- Shant has created a crowd-pleasing slice.
All menu items are conducive to family-style dining. The Caesar salad ($12.50) comes in a large salad bowl with tongs for serving. The restaurant has opted for a vinaigrette in lieu of a creamy egg-based dressing but I do not miss the richness, as the lardons of smoked bacon and heap of Parmigiano make up for it. I already feel as if I am sitting at a friend’s dining room table.
The pepperoni pizza ($20) is topped with dry-cured pepperoni, both low moisture and fresh mozzarella and finished with a sprinkling of Parmigiano. One slice would be enough to satisfy a light eater.
The sausage and onion pizza ($21) is topped with mozzarella, fennel sausage, roasted onion, Parmigiano and a drizzle of hot honey. The sausage is nicely seasoned and is well paired with the sweetness of the honey.
The massive Ponzo ($15) or deep-fried calzone is a showstopper. Melted mozzarella, sausage and peppers are encased by a perfectly golden crispy crust. I advise only large groups opt to order the calzone as the integrity of the dish quickly diminishes once fried.
The coconut cream pie ($9) is something I still dream about. The truly divine and tightly kept family recipe is a dessert not to be missed. A buttery coconut shortbread crust holds up the coconut custard base and is finished with whipped cream and shavings of toasted coconut. The flavour of coconut is present in every component of the pie without producing an overly sweet dish.
The Fourth Man in the Fire Pizzeria is a thoughtful second endeavour by Shant Mardirosian and is sure to keep diners satisfied with large pies and low bills!