|« Shiner Followed Me Home||Easy Fish & Seafood Class at Dirk’s »|
Review Thu Mar 15 2007
I'm pretty certain that what I'm about to say will make some people mad.
So, after having lived across the street from Pizza D.O.C. for the past year (and within a few blocks for the past four), I finally made the trek across Lawrence Avenue to dine there for the first time. And you know what? Spacca Napoli has nothing on this place! I know that Spacca Napoli is the darling of the Chicago food world and all, but my experience there was so disappointing I can't imagine ever returning. I was rather excited when I first learned about it and invited two friends to dinner within weeks of its opening. However, all three of us were sorely disappointed. Sure, our food tasted fine. But that's all. Just fine. And we all commented on the blah-ness of the décor. We felt like we were eating some generic Italian chain. The nail in the coffin was our server. What a jerk! My friend asked for a pizza cutter to cut his pizza. Although I didn't think a pizza cutter was necessary, his request wasn't completely unreasonable. Our waiter scoffed, looked down his nose at him, and replied with a tone that intended to shame my friend. "These knives are special pizza-cutting knives flown in from Italy." I nearly stood up and said, "Oh yeah? Well these fists are special jerk-punching fists flown in from Yousuckistan." Instead, I looked down at my meal as if we had all been scolded.
Pizza D.O.C., on the other hand, was great! I visited this restaurant with nearly the same anticipation as I had for Spacca Napoli, albeit, with some suspicion. While I wasn't completely wowed by this place (and perhaps that's because I'm the only person on the planet who isn't too crazy about Italian food), I was pleasantly satisfied. Our server was courteous and efficient, despite how busy he was. Our food was more than just fine. It was delicious. We shared the Silvie e Gabriel, a pizza topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, arugala, Proscuitto de Parma, sliced tomatoes and shaved Parmigiano, and the Quattro Formaggi with mozzarella, blue cheese, Swiss and Parmigiano. The Quattro could have stood to lose some of the blue cheese as it's strong flavor overpowered the milder cheeses, but the Silvie was topped with plenty of fresh ingredients, the arugala adding just the right amount of herby spice. The atmosphere was also far more comfortable than Spacca (although the lighting seemed more appropriate for a hip sushi joint). We weren't cramped like we were in Spacca Napoli, rather there was plenty of room between the tables so my husband and I could converse about nerdy subjects such as the Council of Trent without being distracted by the conversations next to us (or worrying that they would hear what we were saying and judge us).
I recognize my good fortune of living less than a block from a place like D.O.C., however even if I lived across the street from Spacca Napoli, I'd avoid it and walk the half mile to Pizza D.O.C. anyway.