Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Piatza's is a local chain with four locations, including one in Macedon. It was founded in 1997, but I'm not sure where the original location was, and some locations have opened and closed over the years. I tried the Brighton/Henrietta location (takeout and delivery only, till 2 a.m. on weekends) on Crittenden Road; there are others on Park Ave. and in Fairport.
Piatza's is one of those "giant slice" places. In this case it's the "14" Mega Slice." I guess they mean 14" along the side, not that it's cut from a 14" diameter pie, but either way, at $4 for a pepperoni slice, it's not as much of a bargain as it sounds. Not expensive, exactly, but hardly a steal either.
It is a big slice. It's also extremely thin. Piatza's pizza menu offers "regular, NY style thin, or thick," and I'm thinking this has to be NY style thin, because it couldn't get much thinner than this.
This is where we run into problems, though. Just because a pizza is thin doesn't make it "NY style." But before I get into that, let me describe the pizza, from the bottom up. The underside was uniformly brown, with a mottled effect suggesting that it had been cooked on a screen or one of those big, dimpled aluminum trays. The surface was smooth and almost papery in texture, with no crispness whatsoever. The slice was foldable to the point of floppiness and could not support its own weight when held with one hand; I needed two hands to keep it from falling apart.
The crust was so thin that there wasn't much of an interior to speak of, but it had a slightly chewy texture and flavor reminiscent of unrisen, undercooked dough. The sauce was OK, and the cheese was applied fairly heavily, especially given the thinness of the crust. The pepperoni wasn't bad, thinly sliced "cup & char," with a pool of grease in each slice.
This sounds like an overwhelmingly negative review, but this wasn't the worst pizza in the world, or even in Rochester. What makes most pizza "bad," to me, is usually the crust, and if the crust is going to be bad, better to have it thin than thick, so that the toppings can, to some extent, make up for it. Piatza's crust is not very good, but at least it's thin enough to be (almost) overwhelmed by the toppings. Still, unless I lived nearby and had no car and this was my only option, I would not become a Piatza's regular.
Piatza's has a pretty extensive menu, with quite a few "gourmet" pizzas to choose from, wings, subs, burgers & hots, salads, sides and wraps. Speaking of wraps, though, it occurred to me while eating my Mega Slice that it was a lot like eating a pizza wrap - a thin layer of soft, almost unleavened dough topped with cheese and tomato sauce, designed to be folded or rolled up before eating.
To me, pizza is, at bottom (literally and figuratively), bread, and great pizza is made from what is really great bread dough. This was not great bread dough. I hate to use cliches, but it was more like damp cardboard. The best I can give it is a D+.