Pretty much the moment a server at a restaurant asks if I’d like to hear about the specials, I nod but usually drift off to a place where words just become sounds that don’t matter. I’m not trying to be impolite, I just have favorite menu items that I really look forward to everywhere I go.
So when Ramen Bowls and Luckyberry owners Shantel and Tim Grace told me they always order the mushroom pizza at Limestone, I knew I was in good company.
“This is our go-to every time,” Shantel says. “We don’t diverge.”
“When we go to a new place, I always ask the (server) what they would suggest,” Tim says. “You enjoy the discovery of finding something that you love, (but) when I find something that I love, that’s what I get every time.”
Chef's Choice series● Oct. 8 — Mushroom Pizza at Limestone with Shantel and Tim Grace
● Sept. 3 — Fried chicken at Hank Charcuterie with Reagan Petrehn
● Aug. 13 — Pho at Little Saigon with Lee Meisel
● July 9 — 'The perfect taco' at La Estrella with Meg Heriford
● June 11 — A healthy dose of ‘buns’ at Bon Bon with T.K. Peterson
● May 21 — A Chicago dog at Leeway Franks with Rick Martin
Limestone’s mushroom pizza is prepared with a triumvirate of crimini, button and shiitake mushrooms, which is a plus for Shantel, who says she went from disliking mushrooms to “having a mad love affair with (them).”
“Actually, it wasn’t until Ramen Bowls opened that I ever even liked mushrooms,” Shantel says. “There was just something about mushrooms that I just didn’t like. Once we started cooking with shiitakes, (they) changed my world. Now I love all mushrooms, but it took them. They were the vehicle.”
Beyond the mushrooms, Gruyere is the cheese of choice, and it will appeal to those who like a cheese that is a touch saltier.
This is also a cream-sauce pizza, which seems to be a pretty clear dividing line for many eaters, but not quite as contentious a topic as pineapple on pizza. For Tim, who says he is a fan of white sauce, the sauce on the mushroom pizza has a symbiotic quality with the other ingredients and allows the flavors to present themselves equally.
“I like to taste everything,” he says. “Nothing overpowers each ingredient. To me, the balance of the mushroom to the sauce to the cheese, even to the dough, it’s got the perfect texture for this pie.”
“This has really nice balance. I love that you can taste the smokiness but it’s not a smoky pizza,” Shantel says.
For those who are a little iffy on the white sauce, Limestone’s house-made sweet garlic chili sauce is not to be overlooked and might bridge the gap for you.
“We put that all over,” Shantel says.
Cheers to the same old, same old.