It was dinner at the mall for me last night, when a shopping errand at Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station drew me into California Pizza Kitchen for something relatively quick.
As chains go, this one is big on bright, fresh ingredients. That was apparent when a waiter proffered a sample of a new menu addition: Brussels bacon pizza ($13.50 for a whole pie). The crisp-crusted wedge was topped with roasted Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, applewood-smoked bacon, Romano goat cheese, all of which came together beautifully. While I liked the thin crust Margherita pizza I had ordered ($12.50), it didn't compete with this one.
Also good -- although a trifle over-chilled -- was a quinoa and arugula salad ($9.75) made with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, toasted pine nuts, feta and a Champagne vinaigrette. It was ample enough for two to share.
California Pizza Kitchen is at Walt Whitman Shops, 160 Rte. 110, Huntington Station, 631-423-7565 and also 618 Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove, 631-382-9610 and 1256 Old Country Rd., Westbury, 516- 683-3338.