Recently I ate at Felix & Oscar's Haymarket Mall location on Merle Hay a couple of times within the span of a week.
On my first visit – solo in the busy dining area – I got seated at a table smack dab in the middle, right next to the server's station. The swarm of activity about me was a bit much, and the weak ice tea didn't help matters. But as I got some food in my belly, my mood improved greatly.
For starters I had a Garden Salad with large pieces of torn iceberg lettuce with crisp, seasoned croûtons, and some shards of carrot and red cabbage. The housemade Creamy Parmesan dressing has an appealing gritty texture and a sweet, inoffensive flavor; but next time I'll try the House Italian.
For the main course I ordered a small sauce-topped Combo pan pizza featuring Graziano's Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. The relatively underdone peppers and onion might be off-putting for some, but I enjoyed the crunch. The crust is firm enough to require a little effort to cut with a fork. Chilled leftovers was the best part.
A few days later I persuaded a birthday gathering to meet up at F&O's Pub, the bar area of Felix & Oscar's. I found these laid-back environs to be much more roomy and inviting. The crew and I settled on two large, simple pizzas: one thin crust with pepperoni, the other a sausage-laden Cheese Topper – a pan pizza capped with a blend of cheeses on top of the sauce, along with the thin, crust-hugging veneer of cheese within.
The thin crust is not as thin as one would expect. In fact it reminds me of a Chicago deep-dish without the dense layers of cheese and sauce atop and the high-sided rind. The crumb is denser than the F&O's pan pizza.
The sausage enjoyed on the Cheese Topper, and the small Combo pan, is uniquely prepared. First it's flattened into thin patties then par-cooked before its laid down on the cheese atop the crust. Drowned under red sauce, the sausage finishes cooking as the pizza bakes.
I will remember to wait for the pizza to cool down on my next visit. On my first bite of the thin crust, I scalded the roof of my mouth. Days later eating was next to impossible, leaving me desperate to avoid anything with texture.