Curry Pizza? It’s a Thing, and It’s In Santa Rosa

Desi pizza? Think Indian food on a pizza.

Desi pizza

Indian pizza. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s all the things you love about Indian food—the spice, the rich sauces and tangy herbs—on a pizza crust. Think of it as a portable curry with a crispy crust, and you’ve got the newest trend in fast food: Desi pizza.

Chicago’s Pizza With A Twist was a stumble-on kind of find, having a little too much time one evening while paging through newspaper ads. What’s the “twist”, we wondered? Even more intriguing was a confusing menu that listed “jala-pine” breadsticks (jalapeno, cheese and pineapple bread); “three idiots” pizza (three kinds of chicken on a pizza) and the pot of gold, chicken tikka masala pizza. What?

Though this Indian style treat has long been popular in England, it’s a novelty here in Wine Country, where Chicago’s Pizza With a Twist has recently landed.

The Norcal chain has 20 other outposts from Fairfield to San Jose, featuring “desi” flavors, or flavors indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. Pair it up with Italian carbohydrate prowess and you’ve got a whole new kind of ‘za-—as long as you define both cuisines loosely and in Anglo-American terms. Though we’d certainly be up for trying, say, goat korma with raita?

More approachable toppings like butter chicken, tikka masala, tandoori vegetables, lime, ginger, paneer (a fresh Indian cheese) and cilantro still make a match saucier than a Bollywood dream sequence. These star-crossed culinary cultures are no longer separated by needling gastro-purists, but joined in an over-choreographed, but nonetheless delightful and highly sequined ensemble dance in your mouth.

Sure, we may have overstated that a bit, but a tikka sauce-slathered pie is kind of a revelation, and the world is ready for some pizza disruption.

Best bets:
– Chicken tikka masala: Tikka sauce (a sort of creamy tomato sauce), tikka chicken, mozzarella, mushrooms, red onion, green pepper, garlic ginger, cilantro, green chiles and jalapeño, $16.99 for a medium, 12-inch pie.

– Curry Paneer: Tiny cubes of paneer cheese with mild curry sauce, mushrooms, red onions, black olives, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chiles and fresh cilantro. $16.99 for a medium, 12-inch pie.

– DIY: Unusual toppings like mint, lime, fresh cucumbers, butter chicken and tandoori sauce, along with thick or thin crusts make for endless combinations as weird and wonderful as your imagination.

Traditional pizzas also available, along with dine-in and delivery to selected areas. 2780 Stony Point Rd, Santa Rosa, 707-606-1000,