The first, and seemingly last, time I have eaten a deep-dish pizza was at a summer camp I used to attend when I was younger. The camp’s food was generally good, but every now and then, something horrid appeared on our plates. I can remember the day we were served deep-dish pizzas. It was a mess of bitter tomato sauce, undercooked peppers and onions dumped inside a thick, soggy crust. It did not look appetizing either. After one painful bite, I’d had enough. At least there was a salad bar.
Until I recently visited District of Pi in the Penn Quarter, I’d never touched another deep-dish since.
Pi’s sign is up there with the front window of Michel Richard’s recent meatball shop a few blocks away. The window displays “meat” in small, nondescript letters,” and “BALLS” in capital letters (read my review here!). As I said before, simple, yet effective. I can’t pass by without giggling like an immature middle schooler.
The menu at Pi offers specialty deep-dish pizzas, such as “the kirkwood,” with mozzarella, Italian meatballs, red peppers and basil, and “the penn quarter,” with roasted eggplant, sausage, red onion, basil and ricotta. In addition to the deep-dish pizzas, the menu offers several thin-crust options.
My party decided on “the bucktown,” a deep-dish pizza with mozzarella, roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, red bell peppers, green olives, red onions, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.
After completing six months of culinary school, I have become more open-minded when it comes to food. I don’t have to like everything I eat, but it’s important to me to try it first. In addition, the same goes for foods I’ve had in the past and disliked. So why not give deep-dish another chance?
Not being very familiar with deep-dish pizzas, I was instantly intrigued by the bucktown’s appearance - a thick crust that contained a generous amount of chunky tomato sauce piled on top of chicken, artichoke, peppers, olives, red onions and cheese. I tried the crust, immediately tasting cornmeal. After a little research, I discovered that deep-dish pizza crusts are traditionally made with ingredients such as flour, cornmeal, salt and olive oil.
What I loved about this pizza were its flavors – it was jam-packed with incredible, vibrant flavors. The sweetness of the cornmeal crust combined with the acidity of the tomatoes and the saltiness of the cheese…delicious.
This pizza lifted my previous qualms about deep-dish. It was filling, too – two slices did it for me. In addition to their pizza, Pi has a strong beer list. I enjoyed a few beers from Schlafy, a local brewery near their St. Louis location.
On a Saturday night, the inside of Pi was crowded, loud and filled with energy. I hope the restaurant continues to do well - Pi is a great addition to the D.C. area, being that there are limited options for deep-dish in the city.
(thanks to pi-dc.com for the photos – my iPhone didn’t fare so well in the low lights.)