There are few better locations for a moderate-level chain to open than in Upper Murray Hill. So when the folks over at California Pizza Kitchen decided to open a huge restaurant on Park Avenue South and 30th Street, they made a wise choice. The location is filled with various companies ranging from small stores to huge offices and is only a few blocks from the Empire State Building (although, most tourists won’t find this location).

I wandered in for lunch on Thursday with Sal, it was a day after their grand opening, so at about noon when we walked in we weren’t too surprised to see it empty. I cracked a joke to the waitress about the unbelievable number of staff just standing around and thought I was being funny. However, by the time we left, the place was packed and there was a line out the door!

After a quick review of the menu, I picked a small Shrimp Scampi pizza (seafood on pizza is such a great combination) and Sal went with a Hawaiian– a seemingly safe bet. Because the pizza was taking a bit longer than expected to arrive, they asked if we wanted bread and brought out a few slices of doughy, but tasteless white bread with cheap, pre-packaged butter. That quickly reminded me I was in a chain.

When our pizzas arrived, it was clear to me that the scampi was the winner. And it tasted great too. It was garlicy and oniony and the dough was tender. It was topped with a lemon butter sauce that was tangy and creamy. Sal and I really enjoyed it.

The Hawaiian however, was a bit more sorry. The pineapple was overly tangy and the Canadian bacon was chewy with little to offer taste-wise.

The price was decent for the amount of food, easily enough for three people, and we were pleased with the food. Just keep in mind that CPK is a chain like any other and you won’t be disappointed when you walk in their standardized doors.

posted by Lon at 06:00 PM Filed under Fusion or Mixed, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.