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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Reno [Meeting #112]

Reno
2607 N Milwaukee Ave (Map)
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 697-4234

CPC and family invaded Reno at 5:30 PM on Sunday, January 27, 2013. Marla Collins' Husband started writing this review in early March and just finished it in mid-August.

El Presidente has two babies and a very important job so it's understandable that he did not get around to writing this review. I didn't jot down any thoughts after the Chicago Pizza Club ate most of the pizzas at Reno, but I've got one hell of a pizza memory. For the second consecutive time, we gathered early on a Sunday night in order to accommodate the early bedtimes of the next generation of the CPC. At this meeting, young Estela, Cora (first CPC meeting outside the womb!), and Hugo were joined by 6 full-fledged adult members and, for the very first time, a parent of a CPC member. That's right, three generations of the Chicago Pizza Club made a temporary home in Logan Square to eat some pizza!

Reno is the latest venture from the team that has given Chicago Webster's Wine Bar, Telegraph, and Bluebird. Of the three, I've only been to Bluebird and that was to drink while waiting for  a table to open up next door at Hot Chocolate, so I'm not sure whether Reno's pedigree should impress or not. But after eating there, I do know the pizza at Reno is worthy of a visit from anyone serious about our favorite food.

Reno had 8 pizzas on the dinner menu with predetermined sets of toppings along with a plain sauced pie to which diners can add toppings. Apparently the menu does change a bit because there was a pizza with beets and whipped tofu available when we visited that has mercifully been removed. (Note: Amanda wanted us to order the Beetza (shaved beets / hazelnuts / thyme / whipped tofu) and she should be publicly be humiliated for that). Here's the menu as of early March, which was very similar to the one we saw in late January (the Bono was not there for our visit):


Reno
Mozzarella / Fresh Basil / Red Sauce —9
Add toppings & make it your own
Kauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower / Truffle / Parmesan / Mozzarella
—14
Paulina
Paulina Pepperoni / Jalapeño Pesto / Mozzarella / Red Sauce
—12
Southern
Edward’s Ham / Kimchi / Spinach / Mozzarella / Fried Garlic
—11
Popeye
Artichoke / Spinach / Gouda / Mozzarella / Pecorino
—13
Hog
Porkbelly Carnitas / Salsa Verde / Mozzarella / Rajas / Cotija Cheese
—14
Combo
Fennel Sausage / Crimini Mushroom / Smoked Onion / Mozzarella / Red Sauce
—14
Butternut
Butternut Squash / Sage / Gruyere Cheese / Walnuts / Extra Virgin Olive Oil
—11
Bono
Sweet Potato / Brussels Sprout / Corned Beef / Smoked Onion / Aleppo Pepper
—16

*** As of August 17, 2013, the menu is now:

Reno
Mozzarella / Fresh Basil / Red Sauce —9
Add toppings & make it your own Husker
Sweet Corn Salsa / Roasted Eggplant / Grilled Peppers / Mozzarella / Basil
—14
Paulina
Paulina Pepperoni / Jalapeño Pesto / Mozzarella / Red Sauce
—12
Popeye
Artichoke / Spinach / Gouda / Mozzarella / Pecorino
—13
The Meg
Arbol Peanut Salsa / Spinach / Smoked Onion / Piquillo Pepper
—13
Hog
Porkbelly Carnitas / Salsa Verde / Mozzarella / Rajas / Cotija Cheese
—14
Combo
Fennel Sausage / Crimini Mushroom / Smoked Onion / Mozzarella / Red Sauce
—14
Jorge
Proscuitto di Parma / Asparagus / Sunny Side Egg / Rosemary / Mozzarella
—16
T.O.
Smoked Chicken / Arbol Peanut Salsa / Green Onion / Smoked Onion
—16

As you can see, lots of changes. ***

Back to the actual meeting, which took place over six months ago. We sampled the Hog, the Combo, the Butternut, the Southern, the Paulina, a Reno that we topped with pepperoni, onion and garlic; and, because there were children present, a plain Reno.

Remember that memory I bragged about at the beginning? I wrote that in early March. It's now mid-August and my memory's not superhuman, so I can't get too detailed. Look at the ingredients and the pictures and use your imagination. And take it as a major compliment to Reno that the following thoughts remain in my head almost seven months after I ate this stuff:

The crust is really, really good. It's got the whole crisp and chewy thing down pat - that was consistent in every pizza. There wasn't anything that stood out particularly about the flavor, but to the extent a test of a crust is whether it would be enjoyable to eat without cheese, sauce or toppings,  this one passes with flying colors.

In terms of the toppings,  the Hog and the Paulina really stood out. They were creative, but not just for the sake of creativity; the combinations were as delicious as they are uncommon. The Hog is just about the best Mexicanish pizza you'll find anywhere and the jalapeno pesto on The Paulina (with pepperoni from Paulina Meat Market!) was a standout topping that really ought to be bottled and sold. It makes perfect sense that those two have remained on the menu that, as you can see above, has seen some major tinkering since the CPC visited. I was also a big fan of the Combo. The sausage was studded with fennel and the smoked onion was a unique and pretty excellent twist on a fairly typical toppings' combination that a self-respecting Chicagoan would consider ordering anywhere.

Not surprisingly, at least to me, the butternut was the least successful of the night, reinforcing that the 99.99% of pizzerias that never put butternut squash on a pizza have the right idea. Update: Amanda says the butternut was her idea and that she didn't push for the tofu. The dinner was 7 months ago; she might be right. But still, public shaming for foisting butternut and sage upon us is appropriate.

That's all I've got. Hopefully some CPC members will chime in with their memories. And perhaps the best thing I can say is that coming back and finishing this review makes me realize how badly I need to get back to Reno. And not just for the pizza. We also had a sampling of desserts and they were, for me, the highlight of a delicious meal.

Lastly, a housekeeping note. There has been a coup in the Chicago Pizza Club. El Presidente has been banished to the pizza wasteland that is Orlando, Florida. There will be an election at the next CPC meeting to anoint a new Supreme Leader. I will have the only vote in the election. The winner will be me, Marla Collins' Husband the Magnificent, Prime Minister of Pizza. All hail MCHMPMP!

chicagopizzaclub's Reno album on Photobucket

2 comments:

  1. For the reasons in the review and my fond memories of Reno, I give the place an 8.1.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's not true! I wanted to order the butternut squash pizza and I thought it was good. What's wrong with sage on a pizza? Nothing, I say. I remember lining all the pizzas anyway, because I'm not picky. :p

    ReplyDelete