Wednesday, June 3, 2009
KC's Smokin' BBQ & Pizza Pit, Lyell Ave.
Looking at my pizza map, it's striking how pizzerias seem to cluster in certain areas and along certain streets. One contender for Rochester's #1 pizza strip has to be Lyell Avenue, where, depending on how you count them, you can find a good 10 pizza parlors in a 2-mile stretch in the area roughly centering on 390.
I'm overdue, then, to report on this area. I'll begin with a relative newcomer, KC's Smokin' BBQ & Pizza Pit, which is in Gateway Plaza, across from the Lyell Ave. Wegmans. This used to be a Piatza's, and at one time it was also called "Hot to Trot," but for some reason - maybe the presence of the ovens - there always seems to be a pizzeria here. (The BBQ, though, is something new, and I haven't tried it yet.)
And they always seem to be big-slice joints. I'm happy to report, though, that unlike the pizza at most such places, this was a pretty good slice of pizza. Not great, mind you, but pretty good.
The crust was quite thin, but despite the size of the slice - probably a good foot long - it passed the fold test, meaning that it could be folded without the tip flopping down. It was pretty soft, though, and almost had to be folded unless you were going to eat it with a knife and fork. But you should not be eating this with a knife and fork.
The underside was browned toward the tip, i.e., the center of the pizza, and was nearly charred in spots. It had telltale cross-hatch screen marks, but had just a bit of crispness, which is often completely lacking in screen-baked pizzas. The edge, which was also pretty thin, had a nice crunch and a toasty flavor, but the rest of the crust had a floury, slightly undercooked, raw-dough flavor.
The orange-red sauce was very prominent here, although of course the thinner the crust the more likely the sauce is to get noticed. Then too, folding the slice causes the sauce to collect at the bottom of the fold, so the first few bites were especially saucy. But this was definitely a saucy slice, with a definite tomato and "Italian herb" flavor in each bite.
The cheese was pretty creamy and gloppy, and also tended to slide into the bottom of the fold. It was noticeable, but not laid on so thickly as to overwhelm the other components.
KC's pizza offerings aren't too exotic, unless you count the 28-inch "Monster" pizza. The rest of the menu is intriguing, though, with "hickory-smoked St. Louis style ribs," jambalaya and gumbo, an andouille sausage sandwich, and country fried steak. There's limited seating, and they deliver.
KC's is tucked into a corner of a plaza and would be easy to overlook. That may be one reason that other places haven't made it in that spot. But the pizza's not bad at all, and despite the abundant competition along Lyell Ave., I think they're worth a try, especially if you like thin-crust pizza. If they can lose the screens, crank up the ovens a bit and get some real crispness in their crust, they might have some really great pizza on their hands. For now I'll give KC's a B- and a sincere wish of success.
KC's Smokin' BBQ & Pizza Pit, Lyell Ave., 2346 Lyell Ave. 426-3444. Mon. - Sat. 10-10, Sun. 12-9
Pizza Guy Note: see an updated post on KC's here.