Wednesday, June 17, 2009

From the Chicago Piehound Archive: Pizza Metro

The Joint: Pizza Metro

The Dish: Having entered the approximately 2 & 1/2 week period of near-perfect outdoor pizza and beer consumption conditions in Chicago, an outdoor session seemed in order. The beer garden of the Bucktown Pub on Cortland and Paulina was chosen for headquarters while for pizza, it felt like time to give Pizza Metro a shot.

Pizza Metro makes what it calls Roman-style pizzas in rectangular sheets. Pizza Metro estimates that a half sheet serves 2-3 and a whole sheet serves 4-6. For our group of 15 or so Piehounds we ordered 4 whole sheets as follows:
  • one sausage, green pepper, & onion
  • tomato & basil
  • sausage
  • 1/2 potato & rosemary and 1/2 sausage & pepperoni

A whole sheet from Pizza Metro is probably about the equivalent of an 18" round thin crust pie, so you can imagine how much pizza we are talking about here. As I mentioned earlier, Pizza Metro refers to its pizza as "Roman-style." From my Roma experiences back in the day, Roman-style pizza is characterized by being served in rectangular sheets, a crust that is not thick or thin, and for certain fairly unusual ingredients like the potato & rosemary combo that Pizza Metro features. So it seems that Pizza Metro is probably Chicago's closest thing a true Roman style pizza shop. In fact, Pizza Metro's pie reminded me of a pizza spot very near the Ottaviano metro stop in Roma. (Anybody out there know the place? Wine and time have obliterated it from my memory.)

(Brief Piehound History lesson: Some astute Piehound noted that Pizza Metro also presumably is trumpeting its Roman roots with its logo of a pie-hungry wolf on its menus. With this logo, PM is likely invoking the historical protector of Rome, the she-wolf who suckled abandoned babies (and pizza innovators) Romulus & Remus, the somewhat mythical founders of Rome. This makes me wonder, what kind of pizza do wolves like? I'm thinking a deep dish with all the meat in the kitchen kind of thing but who knows.)

Getting to the Piehound's verdict on PM's pizza, it seemed the consensus of the group was that the pizza was OK, but was pretty dry and all the pizzas across the board needed more sauce. One member went so far as to say that our pizzas tasted like "a paper plate with melted cheese on it." Despite the dry pies, we went to town on them and nearly finished the whole load. This surely is a testament to the faith and optimism held by my fellow Piehounds that the next piece of pizza will be better than the last. Or it is further evidence of our sweaty-fat-man-at-an-all-you-can-eat-buffet pizza-eating habits. Regardless, this feat of eating was made possible for many members by the liberal use of hot sauce on their pie. As one Piehound said "it makes it wetter - I mean better" (this comment of course resulted in various inappropriate statements both related and unrelated to pizza). Although never formally considered by the Piehound, I can securely say that I will now always place hot sauce in the same lofty pizza-condiment universe as red pepper, parm, oregano, and giardinera.

As for my opinions, I too thought the pizza was dry but that the other pieces of PM's pizza puzzle (crust, cheese and toppings) were pretty solid. In particular, I thought the toppings seemed very fresh & full of flavor. I thought the rosemary was a great ingredient and that the potato rosemary may have been the best pie we ordered. If ever ordering from PM seriously consider giving it a shot.

All in all, based upon the strength of the fresh and flavorful toppings and the unique Roman/sheet style, I'm planning to give Pizza Metro another shot sometime in my pizza future. With this opinion I might be in the minority of the august and piecritical Piehounds present that evening though. One thing is for sure, if I ever do order Pizza Metro again I will ask the pieguys back in the kitchen to go heavy on the sauce.

The Chciago Piehound's rating:

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