This fusion of Italian and Indian cuisine from the Penn Avenue restaurant makes immediate sense; Indian dishes are often paired with naan, a flatbread comparable to the crust of a thin pizza. Its menu of five pies models the makeup of traditional slices — sauce, cheese, toppings — but swaps out classic Italian flavors for Indian.
I chose three of the five pizzas, all nine-inches (12-inch pies are also available). The Lasarian, which is based off of one of my go-to dishes at the restaurant, chicken tikka masala; the Bethab, which echoed the flavors of tandoori lamb; and the Singh is King, a samosa turned pizza.
On its Facebook page, People’s Indian explains that using naan as a crust doesn’t work for takeout, but they plan to use the traditional flatbread once normal dine-in service returns. For now, the crust falls somewhere between a naan and a yeast-risen dough. It doesn’t sport the same charred, bubbly face as naan or a ballooning crust, and it’s spongy, and about half an inch thick, just thick enough so it’s not soaked by sauce. Like any good pizza, the edges crisp in the oven, making for a satisfyingly crunchy, chewy crust.
I started off with the Lasarian, which easily held up to the restaurant’s top-notch curry. The light, sweet base of tikka masala was a flavorful pairing for mild mozzarella cheese and chicken tikka, rounded out with an acidic kick from red onion and cilantro. All the pizzas come with mozzarella which was a great match for the bold flavors, similar to the style — though less acidic — of traditional, mild Indian paneer.
From masala, I moved to the Bethab, a pie featuring tandoori sauce and ground lamb. Compared to the Lasarian, it was rich and robust. The oily, light tandoori sauce was a delicate partner to the earthy, ground lamb.
Singh is King was my last, and favorite, pie. It was exactly like someone had taken a samosa and flattened it, the fluffy crust covered by samosa filling, onion, mozzarella, and mint chutney. The filling was a brilliant topping for pizza, the potatoes crispy on the edges but lush and punching with a subtle, spicy heat with every bite. A drizzle of mint chutney gave a fresh, light finish to the otherwise-heavy pizza.
People’s Indian pizzas are culinary fusion at its best: two independently delicious things — traditional Indian food and classic, Italian pizza — combined to make something even tastier.
People’s Indian Restaurant. 5147 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. peoplesindian.com