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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bacino's Pizzeria [Meeting #50]

2204 N. Lincoln Ave (GoogleMaps)
(773) 472-7400

CPC invaded Bacino's on 1/15/08.

I owe my discovery of Bacino's to an envelope full of coupons I got from Money Mailer. Intrigued by the quote on the coupon from Crain's Chicago Business declaring Bacino's to have the best stuffed spinach in town, I checked out the website. Once there I found more high praise from respected voices like Charlie Trotter and Pat Bruno. I was sold - Bacino's would have to be tasted.

7 1/2 members of the Chicago Pizza Club descended on Bacino's on a cool Tuesday evening. The restaurant itself is fairly nondescript (as would be expected of a restaurant that occupies the ground floor of a building full of chiropractors' offices). The only detail that stood out was a small section of one wall decorated with portions of wood from wine cases. There is a tv in the main dining room, which is always a good thing.

At 7:40 p.m., we placed the following order with our attractive waitress of an indeterminate age (potentially young enough that both Stu and I risked feeling dirty): a Prosciutto Pizze (only offered in one size), a large stuffed spinach, a large thin crust brocoli, and a medium "special."

The prosciutto pizze was not in the pizza section of the menu. And on the online menu, it is only listed as a lunch item. Pizze is apparently Italian for really thin and delicious. The crust was almost like a cracker, and it was topped with mozzarella, arugula, and, of course, prosciutto. All of the ingredients seemed to be high quality and they worked well together.

The special, which like seemingly every special at every pizza place in Chicago, consisted of sausage, green peppers, onions and mushroom. The thin crust at Bacino's is a little thicker than most places, which I found to be a good thing as the pizza never became too soggy. I would have liked more sausage and less onion and green pepper, but that may be because I really like sausage and don't care for crunchy vegetables on my pizza. I think even if I weren't biased, I'd still think there was still insufficient sausage on the pie as, after eating a couple of pieces, I could not reach a conclusion as to the quality of the sausage one way or the other. Come to think of it, as one who thinks sausage is the signature pizza ingredient, I would propose that a simple sausage pizza always be ordered at Pizza Club meetings.

The thin crust broccoli, which had the same quality crust as the Special, was excellent. I had never had broccoli pizza before, but the fresh broccoli along with Bacino's "special blend of cheeses and spices" was a very pleasant surprise. And, I am happy to report, was just as good when I had it cold the following morning. The one drawback of the broccoli pizza was that it could have used some more sauce.

The stuffed spinach was outstanding. A couple of Pizza Clubbers claim they've had better, but I say it is the best stuffed spinach pizza I have ever had. The aforementioned "special blend" was outstanding. There is definitely some ricotta mixed in with the mozzarella. I have a feeling there was other cheese as well, but I couldn't tell you what they were. Thanks to a crust also a little thicker than the typical variety, the pizza held it's form well. The spinach special includes, if desired, fresh mushrooms. We opted for the addition, but I thought there wasn't enough mushroom to really impact the taste.

We ordered the pizza at 7:40. Our thin crust pies started rolling out at 8:09 and the stuffed spinach came to the table at 8:18. Service was attentive and friendly. And the bill (after our $10 off thanks to Money Mailer) was a mere $87.

Bacino's was a Pizza Club success.

Our fearless leader serves up some broccoli...

The newest Pizza Clubber gets ready to dive in...

The prosciutto pizze...


Where it went down...

Bacino's on Urbanspoon