Restaurant News & Reviews

Top Dish: At Greene’s Corner enjoy thin-crust pizza with a schmear

Marlon Brando pizza with basil drizzle at Greene’s Corner in Bellingham
Marlon Brando pizza with basil drizzle at Greene’s Corner in Bellingham krelyea@bhamherald.com

Name: Greene’s Corner.

Location: 5305 Northwest Drive at West Smith Road, near the Northwest soccer fields in Bellingham. Open breakfast through dinner daily. 360-306-8137 and on Facebook.

Quick bite: A while back reader Greg Wilhelm suggested I try the food at Greene’s Corner. He liked their soups, sandwiches and dessert. He raved about the gumbo and pizza.

“Their pizza is very good and this comes from someone who was raised on New Jersey pizza in the ’60s,” says Wilhelm, who lives about a mile from this laid-back eatery/beer emporium/coffee shop owned by Kristine Kager and Lance Bailey.

The couple, who took over Greene’s in 2010, also are behind Fools Onion catering. They also took over some of the recipes from Nico’s Pizza, which had been inside Greene’s, keeping what they liked and changing other things to make them their own.

I stopped in one recent Monday night, in the mood for good beer and good pizza with good friends. Plus, with so many pizza restaurants and food trucks opening recently, I wanted to try a place that had been around for a bit longer.

I plunked down with a pint of Dead Frog Super Fearless IPA from Dead Frog Brewery out of Aldergrove, B.C. The beer from one of Greene’s rotating taps cost $5.53.

Be patient if you’re coming here for the pizza. I don’t know if it was because we were there on Monday night, but the food took a while. I was OK with that because my friends were funny and the beer was quite fine.

When the pizza did come, one bite told me the wait was worth it.

We split a small 10-inch Marlon Brando for $16.50 and a large 18-inch vegetarian — half Josephine’s Garden and half Aphrodite — for $24.53.

If you love garlic, you must order your pizza with the schmear. That’s made with roasted garlic and the olive oil it was roasted in, Kager said, and the pureed sauce is Greene’s version of a white sauce.

The Josephine comes with a four-cheese blend, spinach, mushrooms, roasted garlic and roasted red pepper. The Aphrodite features spinach, slices of fresh mozzarella, feta and tomato. Both halves got the schmear.

The Marlon Brando is for the meat lovers out there. It’s a red sauce — I tasted a hint of roasted tomato — shaker cheese blend, pepperoni, crumbled Italian sausage, mushroom and a drizzle of chopped fresh basil, lemon juice and olive oil.

What struck us all was the crust. It was thin, yet held its shape and didn’t flop around, with a slightly crispy edge.

I’m not a fan of pizza dominated by puffy crust, so this crust was just right for me.

Greene’s also doesn’t stint on the ingredients. You want spinach and slices of mushroom? You’re going to get it. Or as one of my fellow diners said, “It’s like salad on a pizza.”

We loved the roasted garlic cloves on the Josephine that added a hint of sweetness and a bit of creaminess to this pizza.

The Aphrodite feta and fresh tomato flavors were refreshing.

As for the Marlon Brando, I was glad we ordered a small because it was heavy with rich flavors — not surprising given the meat. But my favorite part was the basil mixture drizzled on top that, while deeply herby as basil can be, had just enough lemon juice to counter the meat and tease my tastebuds.

I would’ve been happy to eat a plate of that crust dipped in that sauce alone, maybe with some schmear on the side.

Ambiance: Nothing fancy, with rustic chairs, benches and tables.

Going back: I enjoyed the flavors of Punjabi Junction, 4370 Meridian St. in Bellingham, so much when I went there for a review in January that I returned a couple weeks later to introduce the Indian restaurant to a friend. Our server convinced me to order the Fish Pakora, and I’m glad I listened to him. Chunks of white fish were marinated in ground spices, dipped into a spicy batter and then deep fried. I don’t know how they did it, but the batter was barely there. The fish was served with mint chutney for dipping and daikon radish for extra crunch. It was one of the most delicious fish dishes I’ve eaten in a long time — spicy, bold flavors that somehow didn’t overpower the fish.

Since then, a reader has told me that the goat curry is worth a try. The restaurant has recently started selling local beer and Indian beer to help cool the slow burn from the food.

Got suggestions for tasty tidbits in Whatcom County or an eatery known for a particular dish? Send them to Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, krelyea@bhamherald.com, @kierelyea

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