First Impressions: Fig, Goat Cheese & Broccoli Artisan Pizza from Uno Chicago Grill

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OK, so Murray’s recent musings on the limits of what constitutes pizza (aka, Little Caesars) got me craving pizza the other night. Problem is, I wasn’t exactly craving fast food pizza, and my local area isn’t exactly known for a plethora of wood-burning ovens featuring eclectic and nontraditional ingredient combinations. Clearly I was at a loss, but remembering how one national chain serves up flatbread pizzas, I was hoping Uno Chicago Grill had better offerings to offer than the last BBQ Chicken Pizza I ordered.

I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about Uno Chicago Grill. Their take on “authentic” Chicago Deep-Dish aside, I’ve long admired their diverse menu and commitment to having nutritious options. Lately they’ve got my attention with the Snack Items menu, which has some cool, low-cost munchies to enjoy while watching a game in their lounge.  Of course, they still do pizza, including their new “Artisan” Thin-Crust pizzas. Offered in three varieties, I checked out the Fig, Goat Cheese and Broccoli while meeting a buddy recently.

Dried figs, fresh broccoli, pesto, roasted tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, goat cheese and balsamic glaze.

I’ve been making a lot of pizzas on my own lately using figs (I use the SeriousEats.com Neapolitan method for a crust to fantastic results — see picture below) but I seldom use pesto and have never had broccoli on pizza.

At $15.99 Uno’s Fig and Goat Cheese pizza is the most expensive flatbread pizza on the menu, so I had my reservations. Size-wise, it’s in the 12-inch range and definitely can be polished off in one-sitting. In fact, I probably wouldn’t recommend sharing it unless you were going with multiple pizzas or some other small plate item.

All that being said, I was really impressed. There’s a great combination of flavors here, starting with the pesto. The olive oil flavor is restrained enough to not overpower the basil, which gives the crust a delicious and sweet herb taste to go along with the salty parmesan baked into the dough. All of it plays wonderfully with the sweet, but slightly sour, balsamic glaze and refreshingly creamy goat cheese.

I’m a big fan of the textures. The crust has a nice chew despite its thin, slightly crispy nature, and the neutral taste takes on the flavor of the pesto and cheese. While the broccoli and the grape tomatoes are a little awkward to eat on the pizza (I recommend a knife and fork) they both take advantage of the natural flavors of the vegetables. The broccoli has a nice, al dente bite despite some char, while the tomatoes have a rich and juicy flavor. Together with melt-in-your-mouth goat cheese and chewy dried figs, and you’re starting to take advantage of a pizza that does a great job achieving balance.

I think the pizza makes a good case for its “Artisan” label, and on flavor alone, it’s definitely a good choice should you find yourself at Uno Chicago Grill. Now, is it worth $15.99? I guess that depends how you like your pizza, and what local options are available. That, and how many beers you’ve had before ordering :)

10 comments on “First Impressions: Fig, Goat Cheese & Broccoli Artisan Pizza from Uno Chicago Grill

  1. That is an incredibly bizarre pairing. I’m glad you gave it a shot and reported back, because that’s something that I would never do. Of course, since the Uno Chicago Grill in my area went out of business, I’d never have the opportunity to do so! Ha!

  2. Raiders757 says:

    I want a slice of that homemade pizza. It looks way better than anything I’ve ever got at Uno’s.

    I haven’t been to Uno’s in years. My wife is still pissed that they no longer serve their soup in bread bowls, and refuses to go there anymore. No bread bowl and a much smaller portion does not make for a happy wife in Raiderland.

    On topic. For some odd reason I turn my nose up at anything that claims to be “artisan”. The term is overused these days, and more often than not, means disappointment.

  3. Murray says:

    Thanks for the shout out on “Murray’s musings”.

    Adam’s alleterations are awefully awesome.

    Every time hear someone talk about figs, I flash back to the Indian Jones movie where they were poisoned.

  4. Kayleigh says:

    That homemade pizza looks amazing! What you ordered on the other hand…well, broccoli and figs? Really?! I think it looks like it has way too much going on. The price tag is a bit too high also. In Portland there is an amazing food cart I go to where you can get 12″ pizzas made with all local ingredients and baked in a wood-fire oven for $7.99. Last time I went I even got one with truffle oil for that price! Guess we’re just spoiled out here :)

  5. TJ says:

    Pesto works great with pizza. I was surprised at first, but a friend of mine has made a couple great pesto pizzas recently.

  6. Daniel N says:

    I’ve only had one experience at an Uno’s restaurant and it was horrible. I ordered the individual Primo Pepperoni deep dish. It was smaller than a pizza hut personal pan, 2.5 times more expensive, burnt, and only had two slices of pepperoni. Now I love the Uno Pizza Skings and Calzone cuts you can buy in the grocery store.

  7. Matt says:

    I worked at a pizza place back in high school and on rare occasions people would order broccoli as a topping, and the smell of baked (burnt) broccoli tips is one of the most revolting things.

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