Hello 2016! It’s been a long and much needed break, but I’m back to work. My list has grown a bit as several new restaurants have opened in the last couple months and there are already several new ones on the horizon. I’m kicking it off with a pizza place that caught my eye a couple weeks ago, Chicago’s Pizza With a Twist, located next to Leo’s Kitchen on Foothills and Pleasant Grove.
At first I thought, another pizza place? We already have so many. But when I drove up to it to see if they were open yet, I saw the banner that said “Home of the Authentic Indian Pizza.” That definitely piqued my interested so I popped in to grab a menu. Not sure why but it didn’t occur to me until I went through the door that this might have a dine-in option. So many pizza places are take-out and delivery only, so the small dining room kind of caught me off guard. Once home I skimmed over the menu and found lots of the usual pizza offerings and toppings, but on one page in particular there were pizzas like Tandoori Veggie, Palak Paneer and Butter Chicken. I was sold.
I had an unusually early start to my Saturday and by 3:45 I was already thinking about dinner. I went to their website to decide what I would get and eventually found myself downloading the mobile app on my phone to place the order. The app is nicely made and very responsive. Some things are broken out in a strange way so it took a minute to figure out how to do a half and half, but once I found the option it was very straightforward. Before I knew it I was checking out and used my thumbprint to pay. It was super easy and convenient. By the time I grabbed my keys and wallet to head out I had already received the confirmation email which stated the time my pizza would be ready to pick up, which was about 15-20 minutes.
I arrived a little early and was greeted as soon as I walked through the doors. One employee was sitting at a table in the dining room and another emerged from the back to meet me at the register. Since I had already paid there was little to do, they checked the order and let me know it would be out in about 5 minutes so I took a seat and a couple photos. Soon the box was walked out and handed to me, then they bagged up some cheese and peppers for me and I was on my way.
I wondered what it would smell like as I drove home, but instead of smelling like curry or masala I actually mostly detected green peppers. I had ordered a medium half Chicken Tikka Masala (Tikka Sauce, Tikka Chicken, Mozzarella Cheese, Mushrooms, Red Onion, Bell Pepper, Garlic, Ginger, Fresh Cilantro) and half Curry Paneer (Curry Sauce, Cheese, Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, Red Onion, Black Olives, Tomatoes, Garlic, Ginger, Curry Paneer & Fresh Cilantro) [$14.99]. I got home and cracked the lid open to see a pizza that wasn’t crazy or weird looking at all. Mostly what stood out were the cubed pieces of paneer.
The crust was a ordinary pan style (they do have options for an actual deep dish crust though). The main toppings of chicken and paneer were embedded in the layer of cheese, and most of the rest was below that. Both sides had a light colored sauce. I started with the chicken tikka masala side. The slice held up fairly well under the weight of the toppings, which were generous. Although the crust looked quite crisp from the top, once I was holding it I realized it was fairly soft and just crisp around the edges. I might ask for well done in the future as I love a crunchy crust. The tikka masala sauce was tasty, perhaps a bit less rich than I was expecting though. Chicken, onions bell peppers and mushrooms were in great supply. A few bites pulled some extra of the top layer away and revealed the extra veggies underneath.
Next up was the Curry Paneer, and I think this was my favorite. Also a little more mellow than expected, the curry sauce was still delicious and had a nice smooth flavor to it. The paneer was toasted from the ovens and fairly dense, requiring slight chewing. A little different than what you would find in a typical Indian restaurant’s sauce, which would probably have a more moist, rubbery texture. Both of these came with cilantro, which I am not much a fan of and forgot to make a note to leave it off. It blended in with the other flavors pretty well though and I didn’t really notice it.
Overall I was pretty happy with this pizza. One thing I noticed as I sat down to write this up was that the menu mentions take and bake, so they pretty much do it all (take out, dine in, delivery, take and bake). I think I might do a take and bake butter chicken pizza next. The question of how this stacks up against normal pizza was one of the first I thought of. The sauces are mostly what make these pizzas unique and I definitely enjoyed them a lot. I’m not certain if they do a thinner crust but if they did then this place would certainly rise above a lot of the usual pizza joints I frequent. The fast pizza places like Trademark are still tough to beat on price, quality and speed though. All in all it’s nice to have a new place that sets itself apart from it’s vast competition. If I worked in the area I’m sure I’d find myself coming for the buffet to try their other creations. Below are some screenshots from the app ordering process.