Detroit Style Pizza in Toronto
It is a very, very, very good thing that Descendant is located at Queen Street East at Jones avenue; far from my home. Because if it was closer I’d be there ALL THE TIME. It’s a small joint with a smattering of tables, that from the looks of it does a huge volume of take out orders. (I don’t even want to know if they deliver to my neighbourhood – it’s too tempting).
So what is “Detroit Style” pizza? No. It’s not served at gunpoint. Our excellent server, Aaron, explained the four crucial elements. The pizza is made in a square, deep-dish style pan. The dough is made with extra water to keep it light and fluffy. There is no crust on the sides. Rather, the pizza cheese caramelizes and crisps to form the sides. And lastly, the sauce is put on top of the pizza once it comes out of the oven so that it doesn’t dry out and remains, as Aaron put it “juicy”.
This is not Chicago style deep-dish pizza which I think is heavy and completely overrated. This is a completely unique style of pie. And from what I can tell, it is a true labour of love. Owner, Christopher Getchell, works those ovens himself. There’s a team of preppers and another team of runners going up and down from the basement with clean replacement pans and fresh dough.
The pizzas all come in two sizes; a small four piece (8”x10”) and large 8 piece (10”x14”). Four of us (two adults and two teens) shared three small pizzas and there was plenty to eat. I highly recommend getting more small sized pizzas to share – so that you can try different toppings.
We tried the traditional “Double Pep” ($18) which came with a double portion of Dolce Lucano, both under and over the cheese. It was the notable “old-school” pie on the menu. The modern “Truff-Ghi” ($18) was a white pizza (no tomato sauce) that had a cheese blend, slow-roasted garlic cremini mushrooms, caramelized onions, double-smoked bacon. It was topped with a white truffle sauce, lemon zest, fresh thyme and Grana Padano cheese. It should have been too rich and heavy, but it absolutely was not.
The show-stopper was the “Soppressata Marmalade” ($18). Mozzarella is topped with naturally smoked caciocavallo, calabrian chilis, fresh basil, Mike’s Hot Honey and that tomato sauce. It tantalized, covering all the taste groups: The salty, umami, richness of the cheese and meat, the heat and acid from the peppers and sweetness from the honey. It’s one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had.
We washed it down with some Pommies Pear Cider ($7) which was sweet, and Pommies Dry Apple Cider ($7) which was less so. And we thought we were done. But Aaron convinced us that we were not. For dessert we were cajoled into trying the Lemon Thyme Posset ($4.50), a small glass jar of sweet concentrated heavy cream (drained so that it took on the texture of a pudding) lightly flavoured with lemon and thyme, topped with a gingerbread crumble. I’m not sure if this is an everyday dessert. So if they’re serving it, you should definitely order it.
Descendant 1168 Queen Street East. For more information visit www.descendantdsp.com