Big bouncy Chicago style pizza at Patxi’s in Lafayette

by foodhoe on September 20, 2011

3577 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 94549 | 925.299.0700 | twitter | website

Patxi’s (pronounced “pah’-cheese”) opened up in Lafayette this summer, bringing their Chicago style pizza to the lands beyond the Caldecott tunnel. Up to now the venerable Zachary’s was the only option for the deep dish style pizza, which has lately been overshadowed by the ultra thincrust Neopolitan style pizza that is all the rage. Patxi’s menu includes four styles of pizza: stuffed, pan, thin crust, and extra thin crust. The list of toppings is extensive, with more than 30 items to choose from and four kinds of cheese (regular mozzarella, low fat mozza, non-vegan soy cheese and Daiya vegan).

Francisco “Patxi” Azpiroz and Bill Freeman began their pizza empire in 2004 with the first location in Palo Alto, which now includes five locations throughout the Bay Area. They were recently featured on Check Please! Bay Area, which has an excellent video showing the difference between a deep dish and stuffed style pizza.  The Lafayette location has a lovely outdoor dining patio and opens at 7 am for breakfast serving Blue Bottle Coffee (individual drip coffees and espresso drinks) and house made pastries. The interior is very upscale with shiny embossed metal ceiling tiles and elegant marble counter along the bar and feels like a restaurant more than a pizza parlor.  We sat by this very cool artwork in the back dining room, which had cushy seats and big fla- screen monitors displaying sports channels.

Each table is equipped with shakers filled with salt, pepper, dried red chili peppers and grated parmesan.

I do like to have some greens to lighten up a pizza meal.  This is the Greek Salad, garden vegetables, feta, with a classic red wine vinaigrette (7.50) You can order it with chicken breast for an additional ($2.95), although I don’t know why… you really need to keep it light if you want to be able to eat two slices of the deep dish pie.

We ordered a couple of the Chicago style pizzas, which were big cheesy beasts that definitely are not for the faint hearted… The bottom and sides of the deep dish pan are lined with dough, followed by layers of cheese and toppings, then sealed in with another thin layer of crust, and topped with more cheese then generously slathered with their delectable homemade sauce.  Their flagship pie takes 45 minutes to bake, so plan accordingly!  Because the pizzas take so long to cook, you can “pre-order” the pizza to come out of the oven when your table is ready for seating, or you can order “half-baked” pizzas that you can finish cooking at home.

This pizza pie is not finger food. You most likely will end up eating this with a fork and knife, and must chew vigorously to get through the thick layers of stringy melted cheese. This is The Special a thrilling combination of sausage, mushrooms, onions and green peppers.  The vegetables added a certain amount of liquid to this dish which seemed to be saucier than the other pie.

Here is Patxi’s Favorite, a savory combination of Pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives which was also (surprise) voted as everyone’s favorite at the table for its smoky melding of flavors.  So there you have it, order the favorite.

Each slice is over an inch thick with layers of sauce and melted cheese oozing out over the thick chewy crust.  Each bite is a commitment.  For some, one slice is all you need… but for most I think we all have to admit that we will try to eat two thick slices, each of which outweighs a brick, or perhaps we will switch over to sample the slices of thin crust…

We ordered a couple of thin crust pizzas for those who preferred something lighter.  This is a winning combination of pepperoni and red onion on an extra thin crust, which by neopolitan standards seems pretty chunky and thick.  However, the toppings are very proportionate and the balance between bread, sauce, cheese and toppings was straight on line in my book, although I do like a little bit more crunch on the crust…

For Mahendren, we ordered a Veggie thin crust which included mushrooms, onion, green peppers and black olives.  Good? Yes, but I defintiely prefer the meaty favorite.

While I love the ultra thin crust neopolitan pizzas, I must admit that there is something very satisfying (and addicting) about these big cheesy slabs of Chicago stuffed pizza pie…  To take advantage of the fact that they have a full bar and an excellent selection of wine, read this post about a fabulous pizza and wine pairing event on Cooking with Amy for ideas on what to order with your pizza pie.  Eat at any one of the three San Francisco locations of Patxi’s on October 19th, because they will donate sales from all customer purchases (including delivery, pick-up, even gift cards) to the National Equity Project.

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