Some half-baked ideas end up turning into great successes - snuggies, for example, or getting up in the middle of the night to rearrange your furniture. But Southpaw is a half-baked idea that stayed that way.
This new counter-service spot in Capitol Hill is a boxing-themed pizza restaurant. But we’ll get to the theme later. The major problem here is the pizza. The crust is bland and disintegrates when you pick it up, letting all of the toppings spill off the slice. Speaking of the toppings, they’re nothing special - they range from boring pepperoni to a sausage, feta, mint, sesame seed, and gelatinous caramelized onion combination that makes you feel like you’re in an alternate dimension where pizza is some kind of new concept. Even more confusing is the fact that there are actually some great small plates here, like thinly-cut roasted potatoes tossed with parsley, Calabrian chile, and ’nduja. Why can’t we have a crispy pizza with those things?
As we said earlier, the theme of Southpaw is boxing. There are big wall decals with phrases like “right in the kisser,” and the pizzas have names like Featherweight and Uppercut. On the alcohol side, Southpaw is trying to be like a cocktail bar - there’s frozen rosé, margarita slushies, and negronis on tap. There are also board games, but lame ones, like Hungry Hungry Hippos, Chinese Checkers, and Cat-Opoly. You may be wondering how frozen rosé and Cat-Opoly fit into the boxing theme, and we are, too. There is no obvious answer. There’s also no obvious answer as to why it’s so quiet, when it’s on one of the busiest streets in Capitol Hill, and in between the neighborhood’s craziest bar (Rhein Haus) and the neighborhood’s best bar (Canon). Unless, of course, it’s because people have figured out that this pizza isn’t good. With such an ideal location, Southpaw is set up for success, but it needs to resolve its identity crisis first.
If you come here and choose the build-your-own-pizza option, you won’t be angry - just make it a margherita with fresh mozzarella and basil, and ask them to cook it for a few extra minutes. If you bring the party with you in the form of friends and Cards Against Humanity, you’ll probably have a pretty good time. But while we’re on the theme of ideas, the best idea would be to have your pizza somewhere else.
We’re pretty sure they just intended to give some breadsticks a cute name, but these things are so skinny that they do, in fact, look like human femurs. They come with slices of fresh mozzarella, marinated olives, and a small swipe of pesto. Two reasons why this dish doesn’t work: round cheese slices don’t balance well on poles of pizza dough, and the pesto has enough garlic to survive in Fright Night.
This is a super lemony Caesar, and it’s tart, light, and pretty good. But the greasy croutons completely saturated in oil are unfortunate.
The most redeeming quality of this restaurant is this appetizer of potatoes roasted with ’nduja sausage, Calabrian chile, and fresh parsley. Our only complaint is that we want more of the sausage.
This pizza has smoked mozzarella, roasted garlic, Parmesan, and white sauce, and is probably the best pie on the menu. Which isn’t saying too much, because it’s still pretty greasy and the crust holds up about as well as a wad of single-ply toilet paper. Flavor’s pretty good, though.
A plain pepperoni pizza that you could get at Domino’s, except at Domino’s, the toppings wouldn’t slide off. Upgrade to fresh mozzarella, and you’ll get yourself to California Pizza Kitchen status: slightly better, but still mediocre at best.
This bizarre frankenpie has pesto, Italian sausage, mozzarella, feta, fresh mint, gummy caramelized onions, and toasted sesame seeds. What the f*ck is going on here?
Southpaw’s take on Hawaiian pizza: tomato sauce, bacon, caramelized pineapple, fresh mozzarella, and pickled jalapeño. The pineapple tastes really good, but the rest is pretty boring.
We wanted to love this ice cream, because Seattle has a severe soft serve deficit. But the time we tried it, it had a watery texture that made us question whether or not the machine was working properly.