Author: Clement, Bethany Jean
Date published: January 20, 2011
Journal code: STRR
Primo Delivers Its Deliciousness Directly to Your Mouth
This article was purchased in our annual charity auction. More info at strangercrombie.com.
First Hill pizzeria Primo is located in the most beautiful room in town-a genteel, small-scale work of grandeur with a gorgeous domed ceiling, a sparkling chandelier,
dark woodwork, pretty pillars. The decor is appropriately restrained: a few mirrors, candlelight, a simple bar (which makes a nice cold martini). It's across the street and down the block from Town Hall (convenient for before or after a lecture, or for when someone's in the hospital and you need a nice cold martini). While Primo isn't doing the local/organic/etc. thing, the hand-tossed pies are good: neither Chicago-thick nor New York-thin but somewhere in between, with fresh ingredients and correctly cooked crust. The hot, pillowy stromboli is a total delight, and the Caesar salad is way better than most. Two local guys own Primo, the service is almost alarmingly friendly, and the prices are completely reasonable.
If all this sounds familiar, either you've already been there and loved it, or you read about it here a little while back ("Primo for the People: Stromboli Under a Crystal Chandelier," Dec 2, 2010). Meanwhile, the two local guys who own Primo went and did another great thing: They purchased this article in our annual Strangercrombie charity auction, donating a heap of money to Childhaven and Downtown Emergency Service Center. (The original review was a regular not-in-any-waypaid- for assessment of the goodness of Primo, completely independent of the most excellent generosity of the owners.) What Max Borthwick and Larry Mar want you to know now is this: When you just want to stare at your own ceiling-when you just don't want to put on pants-Primo is also there for you. Primo delivers, free. (Please put on pants or a pantslike equivalent for the actual delivery.)
To enable The Stranger to properly absorb the greatness of a worthy new food-delivery option in town (of which there are woefully few), Primo sent a stack of pies and approximately three cubic yards of Caesar salad over to the offi ce at 5:00 p.m. one day last week. The delivery guy, called Chris, had a stripey knitted hat and a shy smile. He cheerfully schlepped the mountain of food up our dirty stairwell and into our nonluxurious editorial offices, where the staff was in a vulturelike state of readiness, drinking cheap beer. Chris recognized some of us ("Oh, it's Charles whose last name I don't know how to say"), but, of course, wanted to meet Dan Savage, who was, surprisingly enough, on the premises and duly located. It's-niceto- meet-yous were exchanged, and Chris said he was a big fan. Then Chris said: "It does get better." Then everyone's hearts broke in two from poignancy, and Chris reluctantly but responsibly refused a beer and departed, and we all ate Primo's tasty pizza.
Charles Mudede, The Stranger's resident Marxist, had just come from a screening of "a long film about Italian commies," which he was moved to expound upon while eating. "There was a lot of expressive shouting. Those Italians! Anything, and they yell!" he said, among other things. Guided back to the topic of Primo's pizza, he welcomed what he termed "the return to a heartier crust-not over-the-top, but not like a piece of paper" (his derision aimed at the current vogue for Neapolitan-style super-thin crust). He also felt the pie went well with the bottle of Montepulciano that had been obtained expressly for his pleasure.
Jen Graves, art critic and vegetarian, declared the Faunus pie- ricotta and goat cheese, caramelized red onions, sweet balsamic reduction, and fresh basil chiffonade-"a genius construction" (this is the way an art critic must talk). Meanwhile, editor in chief Christopher Frizzelle expressed his enthusiasm about Primo's crust. "It's extremely bouncy," he said. "It just has so much bounce!" (The man likes bounce.) Vegan music critic Dave Segal was moved to note that the pie specially ordered for him was "very non-cheesy-it's piquant" (earning him extra credit at a time when everyone else was cramming their pieholes full and mumbling, "Eeeesh gooood!").
"The Caesar dressing is... spicy," worldfamous humorist Lindy West said. "I'm helping!"
The Caligula-ricotta base with roasted garlic, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto-was the object of much admiration. Ace newsman Eli Sanders reported, "The garlic is well-roasted. Tender," while Last Days genius David Schmader remarked, "Mmmmm-that one's good-serious garlic," and Christopher Frizzelle called the garlic cloves "giant," then began singing a song consisting solely of the lyrics "Pizza paaaaarrrr-tay."
"It was a meat orgasm in my mouth," remarked music editor Grant Brissey (pretty sure he was talking about the Gladiator, with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, salami, and sausage). Books editor and local competitiveeating champion (he beat a former Seahawk in a spring-roll-consumption contest, for real!) Paul Constant said, "I could eat a whole lot of that."
In the end, Charles Mudede, grappling with capitalism as usual, summed it up best: "To be honest, I'd have bought that pizza. I'd have paid cash."