Location: 1168 Queen Street East, Toronto
Of all the regional American styles of pizza — New York, Chicago, California, etc. — Detroit is probably the least known. You’d be forgiven for not even realizing that they have their own style of pizza. But thanks to Descendant, the pizza-curious can sample it without having to actually go to Detroit (because let’s face it, no one wants to go to Detroit).
For the unaware, a Detroit style pizza is essentially a deep dish pizza cooked in a square pan, with a post-bake application of tomato sauce on top of the cheese.
Descendant keeps things simple, with a menu devoted to pizza and nothing but pizza. The tiny, open kitchen might have something to do with this — in fact, the whole restaurant is much smaller than you’d think, so expect to wait if you come during peak hours.
I tried a couple of pizzas: the Double Pep, which comes with two types of pepperoni above and beneath the cheese, and the Homenaje, which comes with “fresh chorizo, roasted jalepenos, lime pickled onions, sauce, cilantro sour cream, fresh cilantro.”
I’m not gonna lie: it tastes a lot like Pizza Hut.
The crust — grease-slicked and lightly crunchy on the outside, with a soft, bready interior — is Pizza Hut through and through. There is, however, a ring of crunchy cheese around the edges (a Detroit hallmark) that’s just as amazing as you’d hope it would be.
The Double Pep is especially Pizza Hut-esque — the quality of the sauce and pepperoni are obviously much higher, but if I tried it blind I’d probably just think that Pizza Hut was having a particularly good day.
The Homnaje was the better of the two pies; with its unique and distinctive flavours, it stands apart from its fast food brethren. The zippier flavours here help to cut the richness of the heavy pizza, and make this a more balanced pie. Pickled onions and sour cream seem like odd toppings, but they work surprisingly well.