West Valley City • Indian pizza has landed in Utah. A few restaurants have started combining two cuisines that may seem foreign to marry, unless you remember that Italian and Indian dishes are both complemented by bread.
The tikka masala and chicken curry pizzas have so far been novelties at other spots. But they are the stars at Curry Pizza, which opened its first location in rural Bicknell last year and a second shop in a West Valley City shopping development off Interstate 80 and 5600 West in May.
A sign on the door assures customers they can find classic pizzas, made with marinara or pesto and plenty of pepperoni. But after trying the Mango Korma Pizza — made with chicken, large slices of Canadian bacon, green onions, mozzarella and a sweet mango sauce — you'll be asking, marinara what?
The concept for Curry Pizza started as a joke, says owner Bhinda Singh, whose family runs the successful India Palace in South Jordan and Provo. He bought a pizza place in Wayne County outside Capitol Reef National Park last year after he said he received terrible service and decided he could do better.
He began serving traditional Indian dishes. As he explored how to excel at pies, a customer-turned-friend suggested he combine the two cuisines and promised that if he liked it, everyone would. The friend approved, and Singh converted another pizza spot in West Valley City. Curry Pizza is about crafting your own pie, with a giant menu board by the door that lists the 40 or so ingredients from which to choose, including the expected pepperoni, sausage, pineapple and black olives and surprises like chicken tikka, gyro meat, chorizo, paneer, avocado and peanuts. The pizzas are crafted and baked in a 500-degree pizza oven, flames visible, as you watch while standing in line.
Personal-size pizzas, with six to seven slices, are $8.49. The 16-inch pies range from $14 for plain cheese to $21 for the specialty curry pizzas.
The dining area is simple, with booths and tables made of smooth and glossy particle board. The restaurant wasn't busy on our two visits. The drink menu is limited to soda, sparkling water and sweet and thick lassi drinks.
The house-made base is naan-pizza crust, pulled thin but still thick enough to keep from getting soggy even after a couple of days in the fridge. Some of the sauces will be familiar to Indian food fans, including mango korma, tikka masala and makhani (butter chicken) curry.
craft beer But they don't taste like you've slathered your naan bread in Indian curry. Singh says he altered them from traditional dishes, thinning and strengthening them so that the flavor cuts through the cheese. The curry sauce and honey curry —both made with a tomato base and flavored with ginger, garlic and chile — were made for the pizzas. Go ahead and ask for a sample of the sauce; the employees happily oblige.
The employees may have too light of a touch with some of the ingredients — the small chunks of chicken were negligible. But the pizzas are packed with flavorful herbs and vegetables. The Old World Mediterranean is a standout, made with with spicy sausage and roasted mushrooms, garlic and onions complemented by the honey curry. The first bite is sweet from the roasted onions, and it ends with the sauce's heat.
The Thai Peanut Chicken isn't Indian but has a sweet peanut sauce that is addictive — and is a good choice for kids. It's made with chicken, roasted bell peppers, carrot slivers and peanuts. If you like heat, ask for the owner's special — which isn't on the menu — made with roasted red onions, cauliflower, chicken, mozzarella, fresh basil, cilantro, ginger, garlic and fenugreek on the curry sauce.
For now, the restaurant delivers only $100-plus orders. But it promises to expand soon. And with so many options to try, it can't be soon enough.
When I first visited Curry Pizza, I wasn't sure what to expect. The setup is much like the thin crust pizza shops around town, however, a quick look at the sauces and you will know you are no longer in Kansas, Dorothy.
Honey Curry, Mango Korma, Tikka Masala, Green Mango Curry, and of course, Makhani; aka butter chicken! We all know this is everyone's favorite starter Indian cuisine menu item! If these sauces are not your style, they have the traditional marinara with a spicy twist.
Stepping into the next section, you are presented with a large display of traditional pizza ingredients; mushrooms, pepperoni, sausage, you get the point. But again, what sets Curry Pizza apart is the Indian influence. I'm talking paneer cheese, tikka chicken, kale, butternut squash, peanuts, and roasted corn, to name a few. At $9.49, go wild and choose as many toppings as you like.
What could make this pizzeria better? Naan crust? Yes, naan crust! If you have had naan in the past, you know exactly how addictive it is. Naan is a soft, puffy bread with beautiful brown blisters.
Not sure what to order? They have a section of pre-created pizzas they can make fresh right before your eyes, or you can ask for a sample of your own favorite ingredients if you are daring to let your pallet experience them. The pre-created pizzas come in at $8.49.
If you love Indian food, jump right into the traditional curry pizza. Its curry sauce base will remind you of your favorite Indian restaurant. New to Indian food? Try the honey curry. This pizza blends traditional pizza ingredients like pepperoni and sausage with the honey curry sauce for a tasty introduction to Indian flavors. They have a secret menu based from regular creations. My favorite is Bhinda Special. This pizza screams Indian food and is amazing!
Who is Bhinda? The famous sauce creator himself—the owner of Curry Pizza. His family has deep roots in Utah, and owns the highly rated India Palace. It's all making sense now, right? Bhinda is one of the most passionate pizzaiolos I have encountered in my life … and I eat a whole lot of pizza.
Taking a step away from pizza, Curry Pizza has tasty sides and drinks like the mango lassi drink—a yogurt-based mango milkshake or smoothie. This drink is a staple in any Indian restaurant. Curry Pizza makes it fresh in-house every day.
Wait … where are the breadsticks? Garlic naan replaces breadsticks and will make you forget all about bread-whats? However, I still encourage you to dip the garlic naan strips in ranch dressing. Of course, we all have that family member or friend who may not like Indian food as much as we do, but they are catered to as well. Glazed gyro pizza for the Greek fans, Thai peanut chicken curry pizza for the Thai fans, and even an old world Mediterranean pizza for the "I only eat pizza like they make in Italy" fans.