Thursday, April 28, 2016
Chicago, IL Edition: Giordano's
Our second day in Chicago began with deep dish pizza. What better way to start off a conference day than an indulgent hunk of cheesy, saucy pie?
Giordano's was just a block or two from our hotel, and it is one of the big names in "stuffed" deep dish in Chicago. Because we arrived right at 11, we didn't have to wait; we were seated right away. We put in an order for the "Chicago Classic," which has pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions.
When it arrived, it was impressive that it kind of stood up on its own. All the others were served in their pans, which acted as a support. This was a Colosseum full of cheese and sauce. After scarfing down half a piece, I realized that this one had sausage rather than pepperoni (so it was similar to our pizza at Lou Malnati's) and that it was likely swapped with the table next to ours. That's OK. This "stuffed" deep dish pizza indeed had a much softer, flakier crust.
This is when I learned there are really three main types of "deep dish" ish pizza in Chicago via Serious Eats:
Deep Dish: The original. It features a moderately thick and crumbly crust, which is topped with loads of mozzarella, toppings, a layer of tomato sauce that is usually on the chunkier side. This is the style you'll find at most of the big name Chicago chains, including Lou Malnati's, Uno's, Pizano's, and Gino's East.
Stuffed Pizza: The first thing you'll notice here is that the ends are actually even taller than deep dish. Instead of crumbly, the crust is flaky, and it's often possible to see distinct laminated layers of dough. But what truly sets stuffed pizza apart is an additional layer of dough above the cheese and below the sauce. Most people don't even know it is there because it's so thin and is the same color as the cheese. Giordano's is the most famous practitioner of this style, though there are a surprising number of places serving stuffed pizza.
Pan Pizza: The distinguishing feature here is a ring of caramelized parmesan cheese, which crisps up in the pizza pan. The crust is also breadier and more in line with pan pizzas you'd find elsewhere in the country. You'll only see pan pizza listed a few places, but they are two big names, Burt's and Pequod's.
So, it was quite good. Even if that crust wasn't super crispy, it was still flaky and the toppings were fantastic. The sauce wasn't bad, but I do like a bit more flavor in mine. But, a very good slice, and a filling meal.