Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria - Chicago, IL

We needed to eat dinner before we headed out of the city, and since we were in Chicago, the home of the best pizza ever (except for some of the Jersey places Belcher took me to), we had to get some traditional Chicago-style pizza. I’m not up on my Chicago pizza places, but here’s a word of advice – let someone who’s living in Chicago decide where you’ll get Chicago-style pizza.

HB decided we should go to Lou Malnati’s and then we’d meet Callous-un and Paulio when they got off work. We were walking from the Shedd Aquarium, which if you look on a map, is only about a 3 inch walk. Two hours later (and a stop at a bar for a drink and to get out of the 35 degree wind), we made it. And yes, TheDoctor DID try to fit into a little kid's penguin costume at the Aquarium, thanks for asking!

The place was normal inside, like any pizza place in the U.S. One of the waiters tried to seat us as a table for three, but we told him there were two more coming. A hostess showed up, fresh from a text message conversation, and sat us down without saying anything. She gave us three menus, and we quickly told her that two more were joining us. She had sat us at a four-top table and simply grabbed a chair when we told her this news. It was going to be cramped. We asked if we could be seated at a larger table and, with some effort, we got a larger table.

The pizza on the menu looks really good. It’s Chicago-style deep dish, which means you can’t tell what’s a topping and what’s a bottom-ing. It’s layer upon layer of cheesey goodness with additional layers of ingredients to break up the cheesey monotony. We went with a sausage pizza and one called “The Lou”, a vegetarian pizza (since Callous-un is vegetarian and ruins everything for carnivorous tables – kidding).

The pizza showed up in a reasonable amount of time and the waiter served our first couple of pieces to us. I had him throw one of each on there, so I wasn’t going back every 60 seconds for more pizza. After the waiter left, I expressed some concern over eating a pizza named after a restroom, but I did anyway.

The Lou was the better pizza of the two, it’s got spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes covered with cheese and sauce. It actually had more flavor than the sausage pizza we got. We ordered it with a butter crust, but I’m not sure what that meant. I didn’t taste any butter on the crust, and eventually gave up on eating the crust (I’m not a crust guy, unless there’s honey to dip it in – thanks for ruining me, BeauJo’s). So if the bottom crust was buttery, I couldn’t tell. I had to use more parmesan and pepper flakes than I normally do (which usually isn’t that much) just to give the pizza some flavor.

The pizza here is just ok. I love a good pizza, but this wasn’t it. It was average, even by Minneapolis standards. I love you, HB, but the pizza really wasn’t that good. At the risk of putting myself on some list of getting whacked (and not in a good way), Lou Malnati’s didn’t do it for me.

Top 5 things about Lou Malnati’s
1. The waiter was really nice
2. There was an ample supply of flavor enhancers on the table, which we used
3. The place is much bigger than it looks when you first walk in. Large back room and an upstairs seating area as well
4. It was hot college girl night at Lou Malnati’s apparently
5. It’s within walking distance of the Shedd Aquarium (if 43 miles is walking distance)

Bottom 5 things
1. Flavor was missing from the pizza
2. Rude hostess
3. The pizza menu seemed pretty restrictive
4. I couldn’t taste any butter, despite paying extra for the butter crust
5. Sorry Chicago, New Jersey has better pizza. How’s THAT make you feel?

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