Pie Face is Waltzing Matilda on 9th Ave
Pie Face seems to cropping up in Midtown like hungry dingoes around a nursery. We’ve seen a bunch of them come up over the last year or so, and now that their newest location on 9th and 36th is open it’s high time we gave them a look beyond breakfast food and giant morasses of mashed peas, potatoes, and gravy over a meat pie (can you GET any more British Commonwealth chow than this?). On their first weekday open, running 24-7-365, can they carry a tune when it comes time to Pie Face the music?
If you’re new to Pie Face and came expecting Three Stooges reference, this review is as far as it gets. The pies and pastries are all baked in-house, and some breakfast quiches were still left over amongst the lunch fare should you so desire them. There’s five or six types of pies, with the full spread including pulled pork, semi-traditional steak or mince, or the ever-traditional Thai chicken pie. Check ‘em all out on their website.
Confronted with the variety before me I fell back on indecisiveness. From top-left clockwise, we have a mini spinach quiche, mini mince beef pie, mini Philly cheesesteak pie (they didn’t have any other mini pies available and I was in a modest rush, but they do have fresh batches constantly), mini broccoli quiche, and mini mushroom quiche. The mini quiches were all $1.50 each and the mini pies were $2 each, totaling $9.41 after tax. For five unique instances of something tasty, that ain’t bad.
Use of the Midtown Lunch standard measuring system, the mini quiche is about .2 Metrocards tall. This one was broccoli, though, and it was really good for what it was. It wasn’t overcooked or too eggy, the broccoli wasn’t overcooked to the point of tasteless mush, and there was definitely a twinge of spice and very tangy cheese in there perking things up. The crust is perfectly crumbly, like one would expect from a good quiche. This isn’t just some crappy repurposed savory pie crust – it tastes like I imagine the real deal to be. I could totally have a bunch of these for breakfast.
Would that I could say the same for the mushroom quiche. It tastes exactly like it looks: a gray morass. The mushrooms had all flavor cooked out of them. There was a bit of earthiness to the whole assemblage but not enough to rescue it. Save your quiche cravings for the broccoli.
The spinach quiche was meh, but not as bad as the shrooms. I could give this another shot but I wouldn’t get a full-size of the spinach until I knew for a fact that the spinach itself took more of a center stage. This tasted too neutral, too egg-and-cheese.
On to the meat and potatoes (er, meat and crust). This is the Philly steak pie, its face partially deformed. I kinda wish they drew the faces on with Vegemite to really shake things up, but alas, Winky P over here was drawn on with some neutral brown glaze that remained intact through the cooking. As you can see, we’re looking at about .9 Metrocards in diameter.
The Philly steak pie is no Shorty’s but it fills the craving quite nicely. The steak is thin, but not as razor-thin as a real cheesesteak would have, so it has a nice amount of chewy flakiness to it. There’s a melty cheese sauce in with the onions and peppers, but to be honest, this is all blown away by the crust. Using a puff pastry crust nothing at all like the quiches, everything flakes away and simply melts to the bite. Call me crazy but I really liked this for my cheese-overdose craving and would definitely order it again.
The ground beef pie was as close of a hearkening back to the Aussie meat pies that I had when I was in Brisbane. Not a dense burgeresque filling, there was enough room for the beef and tomatoey filling to expand. Like a mellower, meatier chili that one would find on a Texas weiner, this was a saucy beef concoction that filled nicely (that’s what SHE said). Just be wary if you eat and walk, mine liked to spurt out the back. Still one hell of a pie and still really, really tasty.
I leave it to the cultural scholars to ruminate on the meat pie as a Commonwealth culinary symbol and what the Thai chicken pie is to this, but I’m really kind of happy that Pie Face is close enough to my office to merit breakfast and lunch. It’s a nice break from all the other things around Midtown Southwest, but the availability of the pies at this growing chain is something that is going to benefit us all. I mean, it’s cheap, it’s tasty, and it’s easy to fill up and stay below the ML limit either by virtue of mini pies or massive stacks. It’s worth a try if one’s near you. Can’t wait to see how the breakfast pies work, but until then, it’s a solid spot worth your money.
The +s (What the philosophy department of the University of Woolloomooloo would say):
- The mini pies are varied and tasty!
- Nice and cheap for what you get.
- Quiches and pies vary enough to be tasty as hell!
The -s (What the pommy bahsteds would say):
- Not much variety on day one – gotta keep the volume up!
- Another chain expanding? Doesn’t bode well…
Pie Face, Multiple Locations
- 464 9th Ave. (Corner of 9th and 36th.)
- 1407 Broadway (at 39th St)
- 469 7th Avenue South (at 35th St.)
- 507A Third Ave (at 34th St)
- 691 Broadway (at 53rd St)