I haven't seen much from Scott on sicillian pizza, but I'd like to hear his opinion (if he has one) or anyone else who would know better than I.
Josh, Sicilian pizza runs along a pretty wide spectrum. For 40 years, all I knew of as Sicilian pizza was the 1.5" thick pizza you're describing. I hope I'm not stepping on your toes here, but that pizza is my arch nemesis
I am all about bubbled cheese. Fat is flavor and unless you bubble cheese, unless you oil off the cheese, it doesn't release it's fat and flavor is inhibited. When you parbake or put cheese on thick dough, it insulates the cheese and prevents heat from rising and bubbling the cheese. You can brown the cheese from above, but that's not the same as bubbling and doesn't extract as much of the delicious butterfat.
And the NY Sicilian that you and I remember, that typically wasn't even browned from above. I have nightmares of cold super thick Sicilian slices with barely melted pure white tasteless cheese sitting in the case. Those slices and the ziti slices would just sit there for hours. The horror!
I don't see many of those classic Sicilian slices being made on this forum, and, to be frank, I'm kind of glad.
It's very hard for me to be diplomatic about typical NY area Sicilian
The chains have made trillions of dollars with partially melted cheese pulling away in strings on pizzas in commercials, so I know partially melted cheese has a following (however misguided they may be), but once that oily buttery goodness drips down your chin, you can never go back. I can definitely understand the interest in cold fior di latte with basil and tomatoes in a caprese salad, but I have very little tolerance for mozzarella that's partially melted. Give me butterfat or give me death!
Most of the Sicilian you find on the forum avoids the pitfalls of NY Sicilian. Grandma style is very thin, and baked for up to 15 minutes and utilizes powerfully flavored ingredients and is in a treasured class of it's own. Brooklyn Sicilian (L&B) is thinner than typical NY area Sicilian and, because it goes cheese first, then sauce, the cheese doesn't dry out and set on top and releases a bit more fat. Detroit Sicilian has the ultimate in bubbled cheese- the greasy crispy edges. I'm not entirely certain on the non crust cheese area in Detroit, but the amazing crumbs that Norma and others are able to achieve are more than enough to compensate for any potential cheese shortcomings.
As far as the pizza in the video Nate posted, it feels a little bit like a Detroit that's returned to the oven after being sauced. I wouldn't even begin to pretend that I know anything about Chicago pizza, so I can't speak to authenticity, but, based upon my personal feelings about melted cheese, that particular pie misses the mark.