Friday, June 19, 2009

New Review: Michael's Pizzeria & Tavern

The Joint: Michael's Pizzeria & Tavern

The Dish: I decided it was time for a visit to Michael's Pizzeria in Buena Park/Uptown after a couple friends recommended it over the past several months. The recommendations were pretty general ("try the thin crust," "great for watching games"), so going in, my four fellow piehounds and I were not really sure what to expect. As detailed below, the Chicago Pizza Project's verdict on Michael's pies: good but not great.

After taking one step into Michael's, I suffered some minor hallucinations after being bombarded with dancing digital images. Was this a pizza joint or a video arcade? My confusion was due to the 33 flat panel and projection screen TVs spread throughout the one long room that makes up both Michael's bar and pizza-eating (i.e. dining) areas. Michael's literally has several walls of TVs showing every single sporting event happening at any given moment on the entire planet. Or that's at least what it seems like.

As you might guess based on the TV situation, Michael's is more of a tavern than a restaurant and based the night of our visit, it seems that the patrons are typically in their twenties and either in big groups or couples. The Wednesday night of our visit, there were several sports teams chowing pizza and quaffing beers and I'd bet that Michael's caters to similar crowds on most weeknights.

For our smallish group of 5, we ordered two large pies. The first was a thin crust pizza, half italian sausage and half fresh tomato. The second was an "extra thin and crispy" pie, half roast beef and fresh garlic and half sausage and pepperoni. (Michael's also features stuffed and deep dish pizza, but based upon the recommendations I received, and our group's preference for thin crust, we didn't try these pies.)

While its not really apparent from the pictures above, there really wasn't much of a difference between the two styles of Michael's thin pizza. Despite this, the majority of our group thought Michael's thin pizzas were above average. In particular, I thought Michael's pies stood out with their tangy-sweet sauce, decent crust, and quality cheese and toppings. In particular, I thought the
savory sweet/salty taste of the roast beef/fresh garlic combo was excellent and that Michael's italian sausage had an authentic flavor that is only found in quality Chicago pizza joints.

Chicago Pizza Project's Rating: 2.5 greasy thumbs out of 4

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