Dhillon's Pizza (www.dhillonspizza.com
), in Yuba City, CA.
Dhillon's Pizza serves up a traditional menu of pizza but also on the plate is a Punjabi Indian menu of pizzas. Yuba City is just north of Sacramento and has a large East Indian community. So, good Indian food is pretty easy to find. However, pizza served up with some traditional Indian toppings seemed to be pretty special and unique.
I had seen a photo copy of their menu lying around the office one day. No one I spoke to said they had gone yet but what caught my eye was the crust of the pizza in the photo looked pretty high quality. Yuba City is better known as an anti-foodie town,than people who respect the crafts of food served.
When I walked into Dhillon's, I was met by the owner/operator young couple of Vic and Shannon. Vic is half-Indian and Shannon has been in the pizza business since a teenager. I asked them if the pizza in the photo was one of their own or a stock photo. They smiled and happily said that was one of their own.
After a couple of quick questions and a little list of details, Vic shared with me about their pizza; 24 hour cold rise, their search for the right combination of gluten/protein flour they liked, hydration, experiments with oil and sugar quantities, ADY. I ordered up the Butter Chicken pizza served SPICY.
The Butter Chicken pizza has:
Butter masala sauce, WMM, chicken (curry spiced), mushrooms, bells, onions, and cilantro. They offer up a more authentic Indian Spicy option (ginger, garlic, and serrano peppers) and, of course, added that. The butter masala sauce is a recipe his father created with traditional techniques that incorporates just enough of their house red pizza sauce. The tomatoes were specifically sourced from a California farm suggested to them by Tony Gemignani.
I'm a California native and cannot honestly say I have ever had authentic New York pizza, so I have no real experience to compare to. From what I have heard described in this forum, the crust on this pizza seems like it has come the closest to what people have worked very hard to accomplish. They have a Baker's Pride deck oven run at 525 degrees balanced to match the sugar content in the dough to get the browning level they were after. They serve only two sizes, a 9" personal and 16" large. Times for the 9" pizza were approximately 11 minutes to cook.
As I watched Shannon and Vic building the pizzas and running them through the oven, I was really impressed at how carefully they paid attention to each detail, from forming the cornicione, to knowing the balance of their oven and pizzas.
To say the least, the pizza was delicious. The crust had a great crunchy/chewy shell with a soft center. The dough has the flavor profile leaning much more on the flour side than the yeast side. The butter masala/pizza sauce, well, amazing! The spiced chicken was well balanced and the veggies were fresh. The WMM complimented the pizza but definitely laid in the background playing a supporting roll to the other ingredients.
The best compliment that I think I could give them is, their pizza had character. It was better than eating good food, it was sharing in the chefs passions.