You can’t take a trip to Chicago without crushing some deep dish, and Pizzeria Uno is one of the best joints in the downtown core for classic Windy City pie.
Deep dish is a special creature, and usually totally different from whatever says “Chicago-style” on your local pizza dive’s menu. Here’s why:
Yeah, it’s thick, but the motherfucker is crispy. Baked in a cast iron, the dough gets fried in cheesy grease, rendering its balance between flaky and crispy just as important as the lard-based crust your grandma took so much pride in for her sweet apple or pumpkin pies. The whole base is totally permeated with flavour and texture. Each slice is also cut from a reasonable-sized wheel, so they all have a proper crust to hold onto (if you’re brave enough to go fork-free) and there are no pathetic mid-pie squares of soggy dough and greasy, shape-shifting toppings.
2. Cheese first, fool
I know it’s a common impulse - especially north of the border - to slather a pizza in cheese, covering all the toppings for the sake of browning the mozzarella. Well, this is simply incorrect, so stop doing it the wrong way (that means YOU, mom.) What you lose in a few crispy patches of cheese you gain in crispy, caramelized toppings and a sauce that is able to breathe - and dare I say, sing - all on a bed of gooey salty greatness. The cheese will do its job not matter where you spread it; it doesn’t need any help. It’s fuckin cheese.
3. Sauce is Boss
Now, not being Italian frees me from the burden of requiring all food to adhere to a level of authenticity that decrees that any dish that isn’t prepared EXACTLY the way it was in Sicily three-hundred years ago cannot be called food and isn’t worthy of serving to dogs. (Ever watch an Italian eat a delicious piece of cannelloni and be like “It’s good, but it’s NOT cannelloni…?”) BUT, I think we can all agree that an elegantly prepared tomato sauce, built from scratch, does wonders to a pizza. Pizzeria Uno’s sauce is perfectly tart, savoury, and a bit sweet, all because they let the tomato do the talking and don’t jerk it off with a bunch of store-bought nonsense. Ladle it on top of the cheese and you’ve got a party. Belissimo!
4. Pepperoni is the King of all Pizza Toppings
It just is. Now I’ll eat (and prepare) every variety of wank-off pizza under the sun, but I’ve always felt that a pizza is best when showcasing one or two simple ingredients, and there is no greater harmony than the tomato and the classic pepperoni.
Note: Pepperoni, as one should find on a pizza, is not a thick slice of salami. It is thin, crispy, oily, salty, a bit spicy and hopefully just a touch burnt around edges by the wood fire that cooked it. A pile of bologna stacked three inches thick under a mountain of cheese is not a pepperoni pizza. Sorry to sound Italian here, but I’m from a nation that is embarrassingly notorious of this crime.
One last thing: if you can eat more than two slices of it at a time, it can’t be the real thing. Seven grown men with big appetites were stopped in our tracks by two 13” pies. Chicago, baby.