Wednesday, October 7, 2009
For anyone who has been to Naples and eaten at Pizzeria Trianon, you can understand why no other Pizza comes close. In the U.S. anyway. Although I haven't been to Trianon in five years I remember it like it was yesterday. The hustle and bustle of large, hairy Italian men throwing around the dough that would become my Pizza. Lovingly rolling it with those thick Neapolitan hands. Painstakingly placing ingredient, upon ingredient onto my Pizza until it resembled a crowded L.A. freeway. Lines and lines of various Meats, Veggies and Cheeses. It is simply the best Pizza this Foodie has ever tasted.
However, thanks to a loyal Passport Foodie reader, I recently discovered a Pizza joint in the U.S. that comes very, very close to Trianon perfection. That is, Spacca Napoli, in Chicago. It's a little off the beaten path, about a 20 minute cab ride from the city center, but well worth it. When I entered the restaurant the first thing that struck me was the huge photo depicting a line of Italians waiting for Pizza at, guess where? Pizzeria Trianon in Naples. Man, do they set the bar high right from the get go. That's like naming your first born "Greatness," or "Awesome," or "Thor." I was hoping they lived up to the Trianon expectations that were building inside of me. On top of that, the name Spacca Napoli comes from the Old Naples Quarter famed as the birthplace of Pizza. Yikes, this place means business.
Fortunately, they do have a tremendous product. We ordered four Pizzas to try a full range and also because we were on a train from New York City to Chicago for 17 hours and needed some good food to remind us we were human. The four Pizzas were: 1. Margherita with Tomatoes, Fior Di Latte Mozzarella, Basil, Olive Oil 2. Funghi with Tomatoes, Fior Di Latte Mozzarella, Basil, Mushrooms, Olive Oil 3. Bufalina with Tomatoes, Basil, Mozzarella Di Bufala, Olive Oil and 4. Pizza Bianca with Mozzarella Di Bufala, Arugula, Basil, Olive Oil. All of the ingredients from Spacca Napoli tasted like they were fresh off the boat. There wasn't a bad flavor in the whole bunch.
My favorite out of these four was without question the Funghi. The mushrooms were beautifully prepared and exploded on the palate. It had a gorgeous, clean finish, which for a Mushroom Pizza is rare. However, every Pizza we had that day was nearly equal in quality and taste. The dough was slightly rounded, and puffy on the edges, the Cheese scattered throughout and there was char where there should be char. And it wasn't that hard, crispy char like I was served at Osteria a few months back. No, this was delicate char that added to the overall complexity of the Pizzas.
After the meal we sat back and all marveled at the first "real" Neapolitan Pizza we've had in the U.S. We drank our very well made Cafe Americano and ate our Gelato in quiet amazement. I would like to thank the reader who told me about this restaurant and I urge everyone who either lives in Chicago, or is visiting too seek out Spacca Napoli. Unless of course, you're looking for authentic Chicago Deep Dish. And in that case, I wish you good luck and advise you eat lots of fiber afterward.
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