I know it’s blasphemous to be from the Chicagoland area and not be a fan of deep dish pizza or knowingly put ketchup on your hot dogs, but unfortunately I fall into both of those categories. I absolutely, 100%, always put ketchup on my hot dog, and while I don’t mind some deep dish pizza, I almost always prefer the thin crust variety. Even more blasphemous is that I don’t care at all for Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza, but it’s most because of my distaste for cooked tomatoes. I can handle the Lou Malnati’s thin crust, as it’s not the taste that bothers me, it’s just those giant chunks of cooked tomatoes in the sauce that cause me to gag every time. And I know that most people are going to highly disagree with me, but I still feel that Giordano’s is the best deep dish (chain-ish) pizza I’ve had. Pequod’s is decent, but I still prefer their thin crust… I guess it’s just another one of my faults, oh well.
That being said, this weekend we attended a baptism for a close friend’s son, and were able to partake in some pizza eating at Gino’s East in River North following the ceremony. Now I’ve definitely been to Gino’s East for a previous work event that I had to work, and I’m almost positive I ate the food, but I couldn’t recall if I really liked it or not, so I’m glad we finally got another chance to check it out this weekend.
Seeing as how this was a private party, we didn’t get to just straight up order whichever pizza we wanted to, we were at the mercy of whatever the hosts wanted to feed us. Now obviously I’m super picky about my food, but I can’t bash anything about the pizza selections as it wasn’t my choice. I personally would have been all up in some pepperoni deep dish, but instead I opted for sausage. It’s not that I dislike sausage pizza, cause I don’t, it’s just that I much rather prefer pepperoni. But either way, for some reason the pizza wasn’t what I remembered it being from that last time I was there. I don’t know what it was, maybe I’ve just been to influenced by Giordano’s pizza lately that I forgot what Gino’s tasted like, but either way I was a bit disappointed with the pizzas overall… and not just the deep dish, I didn’t care much for the thin crust either.
The deep dish pizza seemed lacking on the sauce where as Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s seem to just pile on the sauce, but Gino’s just seemed lacking in the sauce department. And even the taste of the sauce didn’t have any real sort of distinct flavor to me. Again, I know Giordano’s sauce is a lot sweeter than even Lou Malnati’s so maybe that’s what I was expecting, but I just didn’t find that flavor I was looking for in the pizza. And it definitely could have been the fact that it was a larger party and the pizzas were made quickly, so I’d definitely give it another shot, but just slightly disappointing this time. And the thin crust was also lacking in sauce and the pizzas seemed either slightly burnt, or like they had been sitting around for a little while. But again, it was a large party so I could see how it’s hard to get everything together like that when you’re serving 20 pizzas to a group of over 100 people at the same time. So I would definitely want to check it out again and give it another shot on a more private level. I did think that the salad was pretty solid, even though I’m not a huge blue cheese person, but everything else, and the dressing, was delicious on that front.
So as far as deep dish pizza goes, I would still put Giordano’s above Gino’s East, and I’d probably put Lou’s and Gino’s around the same level. If it just weren’t for those damn tomato chunks in the Lou Malnati’s sauce, it would definitely be in 2nd place on the deep dish pizza list. But my list shouldn’t matter, because no matter what I’ll always choose thin crust over deep dish any day of the week.