Having waited for Delancey…

I finally made it to Delancey.

This was long overdue. Following my recent foray to Flying Squirrel, I was ready. With a group of six people, we’d be able to sample six pizzas – and a whole lot more.

Pre-pizza, it’s nice to have some nibbles, and as compared to the throwaway salads of other pizza joints, Delancey’s starters are solid. Of the three starters, I liked the radicchio best, as it had a rich, roasted flavor. The preserved lemon gave it further dimension, but the dish was undersalted. Similarly, the beet and grapefruit salad (a wonderful combination) was simply crying out for more salt, which would have really brought the flavors to the forefront. The carpaccio was my least favorite of the starters, as I’ve had others in the area (Trellis’ comes to mind) that make this meat-lover sing and salivate more.

At this point, I was really salivating at the thought of the pizzas about to make their approach. With six coming, I made a conscious effort to try to evaluate each one carefully in the midst of any chaos at the table. As reflected in the starters, Brandon Pettit seems to be trying to let quality ingredients shine, whether the platform is a plate or a pie. And with the pies, it’s the crust itself that shines, as it’s thin and crisp and full of slightly salty deliciousness – when done right. Unfortunately, one crust was a little softer than I like, while some of the others were a little too charred. This may well reflect a personal preference against a “burnt” taste, but I’ve also heard this criticism from others.

Margherita pizza

Margherita pizza

Still, for Seattle, this is top tier pizza. Upon first bite, the Romana was my favorite, with the anchovy and olive giving up briny goodness, and the garlic and chile oil adding welcome bite.  But in the long run, and typical for me, the Margherita was my favorite, as it allowed the brightness of the tomato sauce and the freshness of the melted mozzarella to beguile my tastebuds.

If I can add one more criticism, it’s that I wish there was a little more mozzarella on the pizzas. As I devoured some of the chocolate chip cookie in front of me, I realized that my joy in eating it (I prefer this type of chocolate chip cookie more) stemmed from a desire for some missing fat. For that reason, I craved the cookie to a point of underappreciation of the roasted pear and the Meyer lemon budino – both of which I nevertheless enjoyed sampling. But then I also thought about the $3.50 price of the single cookie, and realized that for a starter, Margherita pizza (the least expensive, at $12) and cookie, the tab is already pushing $25, excluding drink, tax and tip. This isn’t an indictment of Delancey, but for a pizza dinner, that best be a hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark pizza.

It might be for some, though I’d probably give the  edge to Flying Squirrel (by a squirrel’s hair). Delancey offers a more interesting atmosphere, but the price you pay here is more noise and a frequently long wait. For those willing to make the drive, I’ll say that Seattle’s lucky to have Flying Squirrel on the south side and Delancey on the north side as great pizza options. For me, I’ll likely wait to travel further. Okay, I’m stubborn; I prefer to hold out for bagels  from New York, dim sum from Richmond (B.C.) or Los Angeles, and xiao long bao  from New York, Richmond, or Taipei. And pizza from Brooklyn, where DiFara can have a bizarre wait of its own, and little ambiance other than a view of the counter and the interminably old pizza-maker practicing his craft on the other side, but a pizza that makes me sing and salivate most.

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