This spring, I experienced an excellent pie at Pizano's (review HERE) in the Loop, which offers the basic deep dish style: a bowl-style crust, where the bottom and high sides are relatively equal in thickness.
While I didn't sample a Chicago stuffed pizza with a layer of dough on top of the cheese, at Pequod's (review HERE) I had a disappointing pan style pizza which featured a thicker crust, shorter walls around the edge, and caramelized cheese around the perimeter.
|The bar as you enter; we ate in the rear dining room|
With a colleague at lunch time, we ordered a medium deep dish pizza with sausage and spinach, which took about 35 minutes (fast, by deep dish standards) to reach our table.
The crust had the high side walls and a modest thickness all the way around. The outer cornicione and the underside had a near-perfect golden hue, and it had a buttery flavor with a texture somewhere between crumbly and flaky.
The most striking feature - visually - was the cheese. The thick layer of cheese on top of this pie smothered everything and was ideally browned on top. Slicing into the pie revealed a bright red and chunky sauce that also contained big pieces of sausage and some very green spinach that seemed barely cooked.
If it wasn't so hard to imagine, I would have thought that the spinach was added after the pie had baked because the spinach - full leaves - seemed almost fresh enough to be in a salad.
|Beautiful color and texture of the crust|
|Rich and chunky sauce|
This was a decadent pizza-overload experience as we cheerfully ate the entire pie, which likely had enough calories to feed a family of four. Everything about this pie was on the mark and in harmony.
This was Roger Ebert's favorite deep-dish in Chicago, and because the cheese rides on top as most people experience on conventional pizza, it probably has more appeal to tourists too.
In the final analysis, I enjoyed this pie and Pizano's about equally. I didn't visit the deep-dish superstars like Lou Malnati's, Pizzeria Uno, and Giordano's, but it's good to know that two very different deep-dish pies are easy to find and enjoy right in the downtown loop.