Thursday, February 23, 2012

La Madia

Location: 59 W Grand
Cost: About $25 per person

A little after I first started writing, I was invited to write about the River North Octoberfeast. In the midst of running from place to place, shoveling down appetizers and cocktails, I briefly remembered stopping in at La Madia. Well, more recently my friend Amanda wanted to get together to grab some pizza. Ashley and Sal were in on the outing too. My first many suggestions got shut down for a variety of reasons (too dangerous of a neighborhood, recently closed for health code issues, etc). I didn't think those were such big problems, but I was quickly overruled until I remembered La Madia.

Logistics
La Madia has a much trendier feel than you'd expect from a typical pizza joint. They've got a centrally located oven and a variety of seating options. At first they put us at a table right next to the door, but Amanda was able to persuade them to move us to a nicer table. One issue is that they don't have much room for waiting, and the front of the house was really crowded as the night went on. We had a reservation which ended up being essential for a Friday night. Otherwise I think we would've had about an hour wait.

Our server was pretty goofy and kept trying to pitch only the expensive menu items on us. It also took a little too long for our food to come out. In general I thought the menu had some problems. The categories were appetizers, salad, pizza, pasta, and bruschetta (ALMOST EVERYTHING WAS A CARBOHYDRATE). The cost was reasonable. Appetizers were around $8, and pizzas fluctuated around $13. For the four of us, two starters and two pizzas were plenty.

The Food
After some lengthy deliberation we picked the Oven Roasted Artichokes and the Apple Bruschetta to get started. The artichokes had a creative and acidic mustard sauce for dipping. The artichokes themselves were swimming in garlic, which we all thought was great. I didn't really like the bruschetta nearly as much. It was all apple without enough gorgonzola or walnuts to balance it out.

The Roasted Artichokes

 The Apple Bruschetta

For our pizzas we went with the Shave Artichoke and the Triple Pepperoni. The artichoke had plenty of garlic and wasn't too oily which is often an issue with white pizzas. The pepperoni was on the greasier side and had a nice spiciness to the meat. For that matter, it was entirely blanketed with pepperoni. The crust had a mild sweetness to it without any significant burnt points. It was a little dry at the edges.

The Shaved Artichoke Pizza

 The Triple Pepperoni Pizza

We ordered the Wisconsin Electric Butter Cookies for dessert. I guess this is actually the recipe from a box that the chef's mom used to make. They were coated in powdered sugar and went well with the sugared lemon rinds on the plate. I think after everything we had, this might have been the universally favorite item.

 The Wisconsin Electric Butter Cookies

Overall
I don't usually go for trendy when I think of pizza. We ended up getting pretty standard toppings, but they also have some solid options with different peppers or candied grapes that I've tried in the past. Almost everything was well executed, and I got over the carbo load pretty quickly. I'm giving them 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.

La Madia on Urbanspoon

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