The Brits sling pretty good Neapolitan pies at Pizza East in Soho House | Bleader

The Brits sling pretty good Neapolitan pies at Pizza East in Soho House

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Anchovy pizza, Pizza East

When the British-born private club/hotel Soho House opened off Randolph Street last year I was less offended by the idea of an exclusive playground that requires head shots to vet its privileged potential membership than I was by the idea that it came with a pizza restaurant.

What could these uppity Brittunculi possibly know about pizza?

Roast chicken? Maybe. But we're currently basking in a golden age of pizza in Chicago, with a multitude of fine regional examples of the stuff, plus our own native varieties. As far as anyone here should know British pizza is a steak-and-kidney pie with ketchup on top.

Turns out, the public-access Pizza East, which is approached by ascending the stairs at the north end of the Soho's also public cafe-lounge-lobby the Allis, is firing Neapolitan pies in its wood-burning ovens, a style we've seen plenty of in recent years, and don't seem to be tiring of. But they're doing a pretty decent job of it. The pizzas are not as centrally gooey as a proper Neapolitan ought to be—they have a consistently crispy undercarriage across the diameter, and the lip of the blistered crust rises high, providing a formidable reservoir for a vibrantly acidic sauce and some ethereally creamy mozzarella deposits. A basic anchovy, caper, and chile pie runs a very reasonable $10, but you'll find variants with things like sausage, veal meatballs, prosciutto, or burrata that reach upward of $18.

Garlic bread, Pizza East

Pizza East is dedicating those ovens to a number of other worthy causes. Don't decline the garlic bread that precedes your order. It arrives as a square of crusty steaming ciabatta that's split open at the table then drenched with melted butter and garlic.

The rest of the menu is as broad as you'd expect from a hotel restaurant, offering everything from lasagna to mac 'n' cheese to hen of the wood mushrooms, beef cheeks, lamb meatballs, and kale soup. There's even a rib eye, brunch on the weekends, and a "Meatball Monday" special that features beef, prosciutto, or spicy lamb balls over spaghetti. Speaking of the latter, check out these pillowy darlings wallowing in San Marzano tomato sauce . . .

Lamb meatballs, Pizza East

Pizza East

Pizza East, 113-125 N. Green, 312-754-6990

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