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Rustico Executive Chef Frank Morales had cautioned me that his deep-dish pizza wasn’t exactly Chicago-style, that it would have neither the thickness nor the density of toppings found on a real Windy City pie. But even with Morales’ warning, I guess I didn’t expect this.
Morales’ round was thick, but in a puffy, spongy sort of way; just as problematic, the tangle of toppings I ordered—-cheese, pepperoni, crumbled sausage, and roasted red pepper strips—-were clearly visible to the naked eye, not covered under a great lake of chunky red sauce as God and Chi-Town piemakers intended. This was more Pizza Hut pan-pizza than Gino’s East.
Now, the truth is, I’ve wolfed down my share of Pizza Hut deep-dish pies, sometimes even sober. They’re perfectly acceptable for neighborhoods without the benefit of a 2Amys, Comet Ping-Pong, or Mia’s, which is pretty much 98.9 percent of the region. But when you’re expecting deep-dish ‘za, particularly one trying to pay homage to our next president, you don’t even want to think about Pizza Hut. The disappointment colored every bite I took, which was a shame, because many of those bites were pretty tasty when I could actually separate myself from my expectations.