Couch Tomato Cafe – Manayunk, PA
This past Friday was a beautiful and sunny day and I had the urge to review an establishment that I’ve had on my ‘to-do’ list for a while, and so I headed north to The Couch Tomato Café in Manayunk, PA.
To clarify… There is The Couch Tomato Café, which houses a small pizza shop with a couple of tables, some seats at a wall counter, and of course a small red couch; then there is The Tomato Bistro, which is upstairs and has a larger menu of mostly comfort foods, pizzas and salads, and a bar. I skipped the bistro but would like to pay it a visit the next time I’m in town with some friends looking to get saucy.
Upon entering the café I couldn’t help but notice the clean, fresh, and fun ambiance. The next thing I couldn’t help but notice was the nice variety of fresh looking pizzas on the counter available by the slice, including cheese, which, being in-between lunchtime and dinner is impressive as so many other places seem to underwhelm me at this time of day.
Anyone familiar with Manayunk knows that finding a parking spot could be trickier than playing a game of spin-the-bottle by yourself, but I found one. Lacking confidence that my parking spot was legal I ordered 3 pieces of pizza to-go; I got a slice of cheese, a slice of The Barbie, and a slice of Buffalo Chicken. Let’s get to it…
The cheese slice
I have my favorite swirl pizza, favorite upside down pizza, favorite sweet sauce pizza, and after visiting The Couch Tomato Café I have a new favorite traditional cheese pizza. The crust was crispy in the handle with a firm undercarriage. The cheese seemed to be a good quality mozzarella. The ratios between the crust, sauce, and cheese were spot on. There wasn’t any ingredient in particular that I can highlight as having stood out, but the overall flavor was excellent. This is a quintessential N.Y. style pizza I look forward to having again.
I think that in creating The Barbie the underlying idea may have been b-b-q pizza (like many places have), but thank you to The Couch Tomato Café for adding to it green peppers, caramelized onions, smoked gouda, and mozzarella cheeses. The crust had a crispy handle and firm underside. The green peppers were not raw or soggy, but cooked all the way through like I prefer them. The onions were lightly caramelized with burnt ends. The b-b-q sauce was flavorful and added a touch of sweetness. The cheeses blended well and held this slice together like a champ. This pizza had a hefty dose of toppings as well as flavor, and if there were a Skull and Bones for gourmet pizza, I’d tap this slice in!
The Buffalo Chicken slice
According to The Couch Tomato Café menu, the Buffalo Chicken pizza is comprised of hot sauce, house roasted chicken, gorgonzola, fresh parsley, and mozzarella cheese. Like the other slices, the crust was slightly crispy in the handle and had a firm underside. Each of the ingredients seemed to be of high quality. Unlike the b-b-q sauce on The Barbie, the hot sauce on this slice was soaked into all the other ingredients, and the gorgonzola dominated the flavor of each bite. It’s purely my preference, but I would have liked the gorgonzola to be a bit more subtle, and though easier said than done, I think the use of a thicker hot sauce that could rest on top of the slice as opposed to being soaked in would round out this pizza nicely. Having said that, this Buffalo Chicken slice is one of the better ones that I’ve encountered, and I would gladly order it again.
The Couch Tomato Café is a cool pizza joint that serves great pizza, in a fun town. The menus for the café and bistro have some vegetarian and health conscious choices, and the availability of wine and craft beers further solidifies this place as being worthy of the accolades and reputation that is attached to them.
The Couch Tomato Cafe
102 Rector Street
Manayunk, PA 19127
Dining: dine-in / take-out
Payment: cash or card
Other: on-street parking in busy town
Bang for the buck: cheese slice $1.99, gourmet slice $2.99 (both are worth it!)