by Mike Sula
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.
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 . . .