The Garces Trading Places
1111 Locust Street
This was an interesting experience to say the least. We pledge allegiance to the thin, east coast style pizza for life. But that’s really only one half of the pie. There’s a whole world of deep dish pizza out there that we typically don’t devour; mostly because of its scarcity, but also because of our preference. Never one to back down from the exotic, our latest review brought us to Garces Trading Company for their deep dish pizza.
Being more of a casserole than a pizza by definition, the deep dish from Garces typically takes about forty minutes to cook. Fortunately for us, Garces has an extensive wine selection and is also BYOB. (I saw nothing wrong with sipping on a glass or two of red while waiting the forty minutes for such an elusive dish.) Forty minutes and a few glasses later, the wait was over. Although it was probably about ten inches in diameter, about three inches of its thickness was nothing but cheese. The buttery crust was baked to perfection, and tasted closer to a legitimate pie crust than a pizza. Atop the freshly piled mozzarella was the oven roasted san marzano tomato confit, which was delightfully acidic in its own way. If I had it my way, the sauce to cheese ratio could’ve been a little more comparable. The dish was probably about 75% cheese, but will keep you cheese lovers coming back for more.
Will I go for the deep dish from now on? Probably not. I’m a thin crust guy and always will be. But that’s not to say that this pie wasn’t delicious. This was more of an overall experience than just grabbing a couple slices. Aside from the pizza, the wine and atmosphere made this a review I won’t soon forget. If you haven’t been to Garces or tried the deep dish pizza, I feel sorry for you. I can assure you that a follow-up review will be coming soon to give their traditional pizzas a try.
A few months ago, one of the doughboys’ devoted fans (A Californian at that) posted a link on our facebook wall to an article which highlighted 75 pizza places in America that you absolutely must try. 7 of them were located within the Philadelphia area. The list was nothing new to me. I was more than familiar with them all except for one. The Garces Trading Company. The article went on to describe their pizza as a truly authentic Chicago deep dish style pizza. This immediately got my attention because I’ve always had a hankering to sample the wonder that is Chicago deep dish, but never really had a chance to make it out that way. The closest that I’ve ever gotten were the DDP’s that Pizzeria UNO churns out. Don’t get me wrong. Their DDP’s are quite alright in my book. We actually reviewed them a while back. I mean, they do hold bragging rights for inventing the word “deep dish pizza”. Having said that, I wanna be able to taste what Chi-town residents take for granted every single day of their lives. I want to know what mid-west pizza has that we don’t. I want to be able to savor legit deep dish pizza before I die; and tonight…I may very well get that chance.
As you enter, you’ll take notice that it’s not only a restaurant, but an adorable little market in which you can purchase hunks of imported cheeses and deli meats sliced by the pound. Do you consider yourself a coffee guru? Then scoop a pound of their freshly roasted coffee beans. Oh, you’re one of those weirdos that request that your friends refer to you as an olive oil aficionado? Then grab a plate and dip some of their freshly baked bread in a puddle of their delectable homemade olive oils. The point is, there’s a buttload of different things going on at the GTC than just sitting down for lunch or dinner.
Now, back to the pizza. I came here for one thing and one thing only. To sink my teeth into the deepest of dishes. A little word to the wise: These pies are roughly 3 inches thick, so you’re looking at a minimum bake time of about 45 minutes. I called ahead and placed my order. This way, when I sat down my pie was just about ready, Freddy. As my waitress laid this beast onto my table, I was in complete awe. This thing had to weigh 5 pounds and could easily feed 4 linebackers. The second you separate your first slice with your own personal spatula, you begin to understand the concept of deep dish pizza. A combination of molten, ooey-gooey gruyere and mozzerella cheeses as well as a super chunky, sweet San marzano tomato confit just completely blanket the inside walls of this pie. My favorite part of this experience was taking the crust, smothering it with the fallen puddles of hardened cheese and clumps of sauce. The thickness of this bad boy reminds me of slicing into a freshly baked, double layer birthday cake. I fell in love at first bite. Next time, I want some candles put in it so I can make a wish for world peace and more deep dish pizza joints to pop up around Philly. My expectations of what an authentic Chicago deep dish pie tastes like were easily surpassed with this visit to the Garces Trading Company. Hands down, doughboys approved in this Filipino’s eyes.