The Forks has long been one of my favourite places to stop into on my way to work. A Cinnamon bun from Tall Grass Prairie, always makes for a sweet start to the day, and if you hit The Forks at the right time of day, it can be a really quick spot for picking up a meal.
The Forks has been upgrading over the last couple of years, and the second phase of The Forks Market upgrade is in full swing. I am of mixed mind up this second phase. I plan on writing about this in another post. For now I’m going to write about Red Ember Common. I’ve been a fan of Red Ember almost since the truck first hit the streets.
The production area for Red Ember is quite impressive. The space has been renovated so that you can look in from three different sides and see the staff as they make their creations. This is an upgrade from the truck in that there is more room to be able to watch your pizza being made.
Red Ember Pizza and More
One of the first things I noticed about the menu is that there seem to be a few more non pizza options to go along with a somewhat larger selection of pizzas. I needed to make a trip back to The Forks to check on the names of which pizzas I had ordered, because the Red Ember Commons website isn’t operating.
One thing I did notice is that the prices for the pizzas at the Commons seem to be higher than they are at the truck. However, the pizzas themselves also seem to be slightly larger, so that offsets it somewhat.
On my first visit, I tried the spicy sausage pizza. I arrived at a time when there weren’t a lot of people in The Forks, so I was served quick and efficiently. Like most of the new places in The Forks Common, Red Ember Commons gives you a little beeper to let you know when your order is ready. Or you can sit at the counter and watch them making your pizza. I chose the beeper option.
Much like the truck, my pizza was prepared and ready for me in very little time. Red Ember has clearly got the whole fast, fresh, and tasty thing down to a science. The pizza is extremely good. On this one, the sausage was well cooked and not fatty. The sauce has a nice little spicy kick to it, and the herbs on top add a freshness to the whole dish. An excellent pizza all the way around.
One other difference between Red Ember Common and the Truck is that the oven at the Common is electric rather than wood-fired. There is a little difference in taste as far as the crusts are concerned, but not so much as to be noticeable, unless you happen to be a wood-fired dough connoisseur.
Of Mushrooms and Meatballs
No, that’s not the name of the John Steinbeck cookbook. It’s a description of my second visit to Red Ember Commons. I knew I wanted to try at least two pizzas before I wrote my review, so I decided I would put a break in between them and order a couple of the non-pizza items off the menu. I chose an order of their meatballs, and an order of their sauteed mushrooms.
The mushrooms are $4.00 for the order and come with a good number of mushrooms along with several slivers of cheese. The flavour is again really good and this makes for a rather satisfying appetizer.
The meatballs are the best tasting item that I tried at Red Ember. Yes, better than either of the pizzas. That’s not a knock on the pizzas either. The meatballs themselves are well cooked and seasoned, and the peanut sauce is exceptional. However, there are two things about them I’m not overly happy with. First off, it’s $12.00 for five not terribly large meatballs. Second, five meatballs don’t particularly make sharing easy, especially if you are splitting an order between two. Growing up with five older brothers, the question of: Who got the bigger half, was always a bone of contention.
Pizza and Salad:
On my third trip, I decided to go for a pizza and a salad.
The pizza I ordered was the G.O.B. This pizza features, bacon, garlic, and red onion, along with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. One of the things that really stood out for me with this pizza was that it came to the table really hot. The first piece that I tried to eat was so hot that half of the topping slipped off as soon as I tried to pick it up. That being said, I loved the cheesiness of this pizza, but I wish there was a bit more bacon on it.
Wedge salads have nothing to do with golf, it’s just a fancy way of saying the salad is made with Iceberg Lettuce. This one comes with radishes, cucumber and Kohlrabi which adds a measure of crunch to the salad, along with sesame seeds and a pleasant, creamy dressing.
On the whole, I find Red Ember Common a good place to grab a meal at The Forks, The prices are generally higher than at the truck, but you still get quite good value for money. One thing that the Red Ember Common location adds is a beer and wine menu. I didn’t try any of the beverages on offer. I’m one of those odd people who actually prefers coffee with his pizza, so I quite naturally got an Americano from Fools and Horses.
The service here is friendly, fast, and efficient. I was served by a different person on each of my visits, and all displayed a high level of competence and professionalism in their service. If you like Red Ember’s truck offerings you’re sure to like their bricks and mortar offerings as well.