Black Sheep fires some killer ’za, brah.

WHAT: Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza WHERE: 600 Washington Ave. N. Vince Vaughn may not have been completely right in 2005âÄôs âÄúWedding CrashersâÄù when he pronounced âÄúItâÄôs like pizza baby; itâÄôs good no matter what!âÄù The problem is, while fundamentally true, thereâÄôs good pizza and then thereâÄôs outstanding pizza. Furthermore, there are pizza places with the commercial atmosphere of a McDonaldâÄôs, and then thereâÄôs the ones that exude hipness and can trick your girlfriend into thinking you are just that. Enter: Black Sheep. The recently opened North Loop eatery touts a prime location, moderate prices, a small but serviceable menu, a visually pleasing interior and most notably âÄî coal. Gimmick or not, Black Sheep is hanging its hat on the fact their food is cooked with the almighty power of coal. Hell, itâÄôs even included in their name. According to the folks at Black Sheep, the first New York pizza kitchens used Anthracite coal in their ovens, which resulted in a tastier pie. In a town flooded with wood-burning pizza ovens, the novelty of coal is its own draw. Thankfully for Black SheepâÄôs business model and Minneapolis as a whole, it turns out coal-fired pizza is everything itâÄôs made out to be. Boasting a clean, minimalist and stripped down veneer, Black Sheep is on the smaller side of medium but still has two dining areas and a bar. The booths, tables and bar are a lightly stained, glossy wood, and the exposed kitchen contains a gargantuan stainless-steel oven. Although the motif is pleasing and trendy, the real draw is, as it should be, the food. Although the menu is relatively sparse, all the essentials are there âÄî and reasonably priced, too. Appetizers include an almost impossibly flavorful roasted vegetable platter, house salad and a rich spinach blue cheese dish. While not substantial, Black Sheep is merely doing customers a favor because stomach room is best reserved for the pizza. Available in either the 12 or 16-inch variety, the barebones pies run around $10 and the fancier ones about $20. ItâÄôs money well spent, though, because as skeptical as one might be about a coal-fired crust, it by no means disappoints. Crisp but still substantive, the crust finds the perfect medium between brittle and doughy and runs with it. Lightly charred by the massive oven, the spectacular crust also gives off a faint and deliciously smoky flavor. Toppings options include an expertly seasoned fennel sausage, fresh rosemary, cracked green olives, smoked mozzarella, various mushrooms and textured clam. The cheeses and sauces are present but donâÄôt overwhelm, serving more as accessories to the immaculate crust and gourmet toppings. Unlike other purveyors of pie, Black Sheep respects the patron and doesnâÄôt assault them with an overload of toppings. Instead, they let the quality and subtlety of their irresistible pizza speak for itself. And because when God created pizza he intended for it to always be paired with booze, thereâÄôs also a reasonably priced selection of beers and wines. As for dessert, thereâÄôs but one option: ice cream sandwiches. Homemade and massive, the ice cream sandwich is a generous pile of vanilla ice cream squashed between two absurdly large chocolate chunk cookies that are equal parts cookie and chocolate. At $5 and easily big enough for two people, itâÄôs an economical and decadent way to finish. Chef Jordan Smith, formally of Mission American Kitchen, hit the nail on the head with Black Sheep. With the nationâÄôs economy in the crapper and with college students being historically poor, the prospect of a classy, filling and non-budget-destroying dinner is an alluring one. To be able to provide an appetizer/pizza/dessert/alcohol + leftovers date for around $50 makes Black Sheep far more Robert Kennedy than Billy Carter , and we, as Americans (or, err, Minnesotans if you want to wax specific), only serve to benefit.