Brandani's has been around for over 20 years now on West Henrietta Road in Brighton. They make what, to me, is a classic Rochester pie. And they have ice cream to boot.
Let's start where it all begins, the crust. Brandani's is thick - a good inch thick. At the edge, it's a full inch and a half.
I love thin-crust, New York style pizza, but this was a good crust. It was firm on the outside, and soft, bready and chewy on the inside, with a flavor reminiscent of a freshly baked, crusty baguette. The many interior air holes indicated that the dough had been allowed a long, slow rise, which makes for both great bread and a great pizza crust. The underside was a bit charred, with a dusting of flour, and not at all greasy.
The crust was clearly the star of the show, as it should be, but the toppings played a nice complemetary role. The cheese, which seemed to be all basic mozzarella, was distributed fairly evenly, in a moderate amount, enough to stand up to the thick crust but not too heavy or gloppy. The sauce was applied with a slightly more restrained hand, and had a straightforward, bright tomatoey flavor.
Brandani's offers a few "specialty pizzas," nothing too wild, unless you count the "pizza patate" with sliced potatoes and rosemary. They also have one of the widest selections of slices I've seen, with a bunch of sliced pies with different toppings ready to go at any given time. (Of course you can always just ask for a given topping to be added to a cheese slice but it won't be the same as if the topping has been baked with the pie from the start.)
Brandani's also has wings, which were pretty good - nice and meaty, with a slightly "barbecuey" flavor to their Buffalo sauce, and calzones, carnival-style fried dough and french fries.
And they have ice cream. I guess that's a seasonal thing because there didn't appear to be any on my visit, but that sounds like a good combination for a hot summer day, which shouldn't be too far away. There are a few booths and a couple picnic tables, although the parking lot doesn't look to me like the most inviting place to eat. They also deliver, and are closed Sundays.
I'm still a thin-crust guy. For one thing, you can eat more slices before you get full, plus I think you can get a better balance of crust, cheese, sauce and toppings with a thin crust. But make no mistake, this was good pizza, in what I think of as "Rochester style." It's built from a foundation of what is, basically, good bread dough, which is where all great pizza starts. It may not have converted me to thick crust, but I give it an A.
Brandani's Pizza, 2595 W. Henrietta Rd. 272-718o
Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sun. 12 noon - 7 p.m.
Pizza Guy note: for a more recent review, go here.