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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Patxi's Pizza

For me, there’s a lot of things that can make a dining experience great. Sometimes it’s the taste of the food itself. And sometimes it’s the experience of trying or learning something new. In the case of Patxi’s Pizza, it was a little bit of both.

This little gem of a place totally won me & MFM over. Just walking up to the crowded storefront (I’ve been to both the SF/Hayes Valley and Palo Alto locations, and they are similar) and seeing people milling about builds up the anticipation. As does waiting a whole 30 minutes for your pizza (they recommend you order your pizza even before you sit down at your table, so the wait is considerably shorter.)

There's an option to order a thin crust, but we went with what they are known for, their Chicago-style deep dish. We saw tables actually ordering both, even for just a party of two! Which made me love this place even more - because it’s the kind of place where you know people are having a great time and truly enjoying their food.

We started with salads (a spinach and a wedge, which were good) but quickly made room for the main event, the pizza. It comes to the table with almost a thud – it’s thick, hearty, substantial. But the flavors are surprisingly delicate. Unlike Zachary’s, where I’ve felt the tomatoes in their sauce resonate loudest, here the sauce feels lighter, allowing all of the other ingredients to truly speak for themselves. The onions and peppers were crisp and sweet and the sausage was meaty and flavorful. And the cheese was the savory, gorgeous layer that tied it all together. All this atop a sturdy, but still light, almost biscuit-y crust.

So this is where the learning something new kicks in. We noticed numerous bear-shaped bottles of honey on almost every table except ours. What is this? What could this be for? So we asked, and the waitress said some folks like to dip their last bits of crust in honey. Not sure if this is a deep dish pizza thing or a Patxi's thing, but of course we had to try it. And wow, just wow. After mouthfuls of the salty, savory and spicy, the smooth sweetness of the honey mixed with the warm buttery crust was perfect. Just perfect.

I also learned that Patxi’s is pronounced like "pah-cheese" not "pat-sees," as I had been calling it. So that’s two new things I learned in one visit. Bonus!

And if there's a third thing that adds to the experience for me, it's great service, and Patxi's has it in spades. I've been to my share of crowded pizza joints, but despite how busy/chaotic it may be, every member of Patxi's staff still makes you feel taken care of. Down to making sure that when the pizza comes, each person in your party is served their own delicious slice. Don't you love it when you leave a restaurant smiling? I have a feeling Patxi's and I will become good, good friends.

P.S. I just read a Patxi's Pizza will be opening in Noe Valley soon. Can't wait!



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