Pizzeria Via Stato
620 N. State Street (GoogleMaps)
CPC invaded Pizzeria Via Stato on 3/2/10.
Ten Pizza Clubbers turned out for an early meeting tonight at Pizzeria Via Stato in downtown Chicago. By some counts we had 10 2/3 people, but we round fractions and fetuses down in these parts.
Pizzeria Via Stato is part of the Lettuce Entertain You family of restaurants, perhaps Chicago's most successful restaurant company. A couple of years ago, the Lettuce people took the bar area of Osteria Via Stato, one of their Italian restaurants, and converted it into a separate pizzeria. Reservations are accepted at lunch but not dinner, so the CPC met earlier than normal, with most members showing up on time at 6:45 tonight. AJ was late and the loss was most definitely his as he did not get to experience the breadth of pizzas the rest of us did.
There are 11 pizzas on the menu, but one of those pies is barely filling enough for a dinner. We decided to get all 11 for the ten of us plus two extras. I knew from experience that the sausage and Margherita are both excellent so we ordered an extra one of each.
There are 6 red pizzas on the menu:
Classico Cheese (mozzarella, tomato sauce)
Margherita (San Marzano tomatoes, hand-pulled mozzarella, basil)
Vegetable (green pepper, vidalia onion, mushroom, mozzarella, basil)
Sausage (housemade sausage, mozzarella, tomato sauce)
Pepperoni (crispy pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato sauce)
Mushroom (mushroom, vidalia onion, mozzarella, tomato sauce)
There are 4 white pies:
Peppered Bacon (caramelized torpedo onion, hand-pulled mozzarella, Slagel farm egg)
Potato (organic fingerling potatoes, pancetta, smoked mozzarella)
Roasted Fennel (fennel, radicchio, hand-pulled mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano)
Four Cheese (hand-pulled mozzarella, young pecorino, goat cheese parmigiano)
And there's a rotating monthly special. Up this month is the Roasted Mushroom, which features oyster mushrooms, goat cheese, leeks and rosemary.
There were a couple of themes to all of the pizzas. First, there is the incredibly thin, crisp crust. This is thin even by Chicago cracker crust standards. The only place I can think of that comes close to this is Candlelite. But while Candlelite's crust is largely devoid of flavor, the nicely blistered crusts at Pizzeria Via Stato have a nice fresh bread flavor to them. The second, more important theme that was consistent across all the pizzas was the high quality ingredients.
I tried to survey the Club to see which were the favorites, but virtually every pie had a vocal supporter. Well, nobody thought the Vegetable pizza was the best, but that's to be expected. Personally, I thought the March Special stood out a bit. The sweet leeks, meaty roasted mushrooms and creamy goat cheese were perfectly matched. This pizza should be added to the regular menu immediately.
Another favorite for me was the peppered bacon. While every piece (these pies, which the restaurant calls "Tavern Pizzas," are cut into squares) is not blessed with egg, they all have the sweet onions, fresh mozzarella and bacon. As with the March Special, this pie had a fantastic blend of sweet and salty. In fact, those two pizzas were so good that we decided to replace our extra Margherita with one of them. After some discussion, we picked the Peppered Bacon. We must have confused our very attentive server because we got the Roasted Mushroom instead. Nobody minded one bit.
On the flip side, I was not a fan of the Roasted Fennel pie. The hand-pulled mozzarella was excellent as were two of the toppings - the fennel and the parmigiano reggiano. But the radicchio was too bitter for my taste. That said, at least one person identified it as one of their favorites.
I'm not going to go into detail about all 11 pizzas. Hopefully, other CPCers will chime in with detailed descriptions of their favorites and most hated. While we might not have achieved unanimity as to our favorite pies, we were in complete agreement that Pizzeria Via Stato puts out some delicious pizza.
Petey Pizza gives Pizzeria Via Stato an 8.175/10.
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Pizzeria Via Stato