The menu at FCO revolves around the wood-fired pizza oven in the center of the open kitchen. Pizzas, flatbread and baked pastas predominate, but meal-sized salads and focaccia sandwiches are also available. The scenery isn't bad either as outside tables look out over the Deschutes River and a man-made pond in the middle of the parking lot.
Kids are likely to love this place because they can make their own pizza. For $3.95, a small, tossed round of dough comes on a wooden board accompanied by ramekins of pizza toppings. Once your child has sufficiently massaged the sauce, cheese and pepperoni into the dough, it is whisked away only to return crisp and piping hot. The price includes a beverage and a large, still-warm cookie.
For the adults the choices are less spectacular, but will fill the hunger void. The pizzas are thin crusted and "Neapolitan Style," and FCO proudly displays their VPN Certification (a certificate awarded by Vera Pizza Napoletan for authentic Naples style pizza). The crust is well cooked to a crispy edged disk brimming with smoky flavor, but they're a bit skimpy on the toppings. The flatbread is really tasty-smaller than the pizzas, no sauce and good toppings like sea salt and Parmesan; Portobello and fontina; and roasted red bell peppers and goat cheese. They would pair nicely with the salads if only the salads were as good as they sounded.
The meal salads are listed under the heading "Chopped Salads," which excited me because I love a good chopped salad and it is virtually impossible to get in this town. The Caesar is not even close to chopped with big fresh chunks of romaine and a garlicy, if a bit too abundant, dressing. The Chicken Apple Walnut is a nice flavor combo, but is not chopped either. When asked about the seeming discrepancy, our server said that only the Tomato Mozzarella salad was actually chopped.
For dessert, FCO has an impressive gelato display, which again got me all in a tizzy because I could live on gelato. Unfortunately, the gelato tasted more like ice cream, as it was not quite as dense as it should be. A true gelato has no air added (hence the density) and is served at a higher temperature to enable scooping.
Service at FCO is casual and perfunctory and has spanned the timing spectrum from incredibly slow to amazingly fast. They are still working out the kinks of a new restaurant and it seems they are on the track to getting food out in a timely manner.
The Old Mill location is the second in the FCO family, the first being in Idaho. With Pastina soon to open up and Ciao Mambo doing the downtown dance, there is Italianized food around every Bend.
Flatbread Community Oven
375 SW Powerhouse Rd., 728-0600, www.flatbreadpizza.com 11AM -10PM Fri & Sat, 11AM-9PM Sun - Thurs
It's a community thing.For a while it was slim pickings when it came to eating in the Old Mill shopping district. You could get ice cream, some Italian food or an expensive plate of seafood, but that was about it. Then came the second phase of development and with it came Café Yumm!, Allyson's Kitchen and the soon to open Pastina Pastaria. In the thick of it all, Flatbread Community Oven (FCO), an expansive pizza restaurant, has been open for about four weeks and is proving a popular option for Old Mill diners.