Monday, June 22, 2009
Pizza Chef, Fairport
The Pizza Chef is on East Avenue in Fairport, just off North Main St. The entrance is on the side of the building facing the gas station next door and would be easy to miss if you didn't know where it was.
They had a few types of slices available at lunchtime, but I went with plain cheese. The pepperoni looked a bit fresher but the cheese slices just looked good to me. The guy at the counter courteously asked if I wanted it to get a 30-second rewarming, which I did. The pies, by the way, are cut into sixths, putting the slices halfway between a regular, eighth-of-a-pie slice and a "giant" quarter-pie slice.
The crust was on the thin side, with some definite charring underneath, more, or blacker, perhaps, than you can see in the photo. Maybe it had something to do with the rewarming, but it was also very crackly, and split when I tried to fold it.
That was, however, a minor fault in what was otherwise a very good New York-style slice of pizza. True to its appearance, the crust had an immediately noticeable toasted flavor, and under the crunchy exterior lay a thin but still bready interior.
The sauce and cheese were also applied in good balance with the crust. I'm not saying that a saucy pizza can't be good, but to me, the sauce on a NY-style pizza should stay in the background, with just enough to balance out the dryness of the crust and provide some acidic, tomatoey flavor contrast, and that's what the sauce did here. It was flecked with a few herbs, but had a mild flavor.
Likewise, the cheese, though not skimpy, did not predominate or overwhelm the crust. It was more creamy than stringy, and was fairly greasy (check the pool of grease on the paper plate in the lower photo). Maybe it's whole-milk mozzarella, which I assume is higher in fat than part-skim and hence more likely to get greasy when baked.
If you want a whole pizza, The Pizza Chef also offers a thick-crust Sicilian pizza in addition to its NY pies. Toppings are pretty much the usual ones. They also have wings, calzones and strombolis (never had one, probably never will, and not sure what the difference is), hot and cold subs, salads, and fried sides. They offer free delivery to Fairport, East Rochester and Perinton. There are a few tables, not many.
As I said, this was a very good slice of pizza: the ingredients were well balanced and well integrated with each other. The only real fault that I could find here was that crackly crust. A NY slice should be neither brittle nor floppy, but instead be crisp and supple at the same time. You should be able to fold it, yet still feel that little bit of crunch when you bite into it. This slice didn't quite pull off that balancing act. So I'm giving it a B+, but putting the Pizza Chef on my mental list of places to go back to, in the hopeful expectation that next time it'll rate an A.
The Pizza Chef, 7 East Ave., Fairport. Mon. - Sat. 11 am - 10 pm. Sun. 3-9 pm. 377-9690