My ears always perk up when I hear about a new pizza joint, especially when it's described as having the "most delicious Venetian-style super thin crust pizza ever." What else can you do when you hear a phrase like that but go immediately?
Pizza Rustica is relatively new, having opened just a few months ago on what used to be a shady part of North Sheridan. It has now turned into a burgeoning Bucktown, with sweet restaurants sprouting up all over the place, as well as adorable outdoor cafes and pastry-filled bakeries. Exactly my kind of street, but seriously, as I state every single day, nothing compares to my perfect 'hood, Roscoe Village.
After getting all riled up about the chance of actually getting some good pizza, I jammed up to Pizza Rustica, just knowing that I was about to happen upon some good stuff. (My recent pizza favorites include Santullo's Eatery, which serves a more NY-style foldable wedge of wet, gooey pizza, and Pat's Pizza, which dishes up a cracker thin version; but I was horrified to see that they use no fresh basil at all, just sprinkles of dried basil. Still pretty good stuff though.)
This cutie-pie of a place definitely didn't let me down (well, except for the Caesar salad which was one of the blandest versions I've yet to try) and I was delighted by how lovely the interior was, with its baby blue chairs, magical Italian photos all over the walls and cheerful, butter yellow table clothes. Not only was the waitress beautiful and helpful, the fella behind the register would belt out a bit of Italian (at the top of his lungs) every chance he got and that's just the sort of thing that makes me smile.
When my square Margherita pizza arrived minutes after ordering (on a dented wooden cutting board), it was perfect. It had been cut into tiny two-finger squares and each piece was loaded with gooey mozzarella cheese, chunks of ruby red tomato and rips of fresh basil. The buttery crust (a most crucial element of good pizza) was just thin enough and tasted as if it had been sprinkled with a bit of cornmeal to give it a crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside taste. Tearing off a mess of cheese, I discovered that there really wasn't any sauce, just a red stain on the crust. It was like the chef had smeared fresh tomato over the top of the crust before he tossed it in the oven. Just stone brilliant, if you ask me.
The Final Rave: Get some ranch, kids.
Keep It Going:
Read It: Half.com
Pick up your half priced (or less) copy of "The Pizza Book: Everything There is to Know About the World's Greatest Pie" at this addictive website.
Eat It Aurelio's Pizza
In business since '59, this multi-location pizza house definitely has the goods to make you come back for more of its thin crust pies. People really freak about this pizza, so watch out for the territorial regulars.
Drink It: Chicago Pizza & Over Grinder Co.
Get a cold beer and kick back at this dark, moody Lincoln Park haunt. Its version is a bizarre spin on bread and cheese; think pizza pot pie.
Get Crazy With It: Sicily, Italy
Summer is almost over, so drop the dough and get to this beautiful island as soon as you can. Every back alley restaurant will be claiming to have the "best pizza in Italy," so why not get a little wild and try to prove 'em wrong. Good luck, belly.
Fatcake Misty Tosh explores back-alley eateries, holes-in-the-wall and seedy ethnic joints as she treks the city in search of the next raving dish. Join her in the quest.