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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Barbeque & Pizza Too, Henrietta

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Barbeque and pizza might seem like an unlikely combination, but there are now at least two places in the area doing both - KC's, which opened several months ago on Lyell Ave., and Barbeque & Pizza Too, which has been doing business for several years now at the corner of East Henrietta and Lehigh Station Roads in Henrietta.
Certainly both barbeque and pizza call for a certain amount of artistry on the part of the chef, but the processes themselves are very different. Barbeque generally means "low and slow," as in cooking at relatively low temperature, say 250 degrees, for many hours. Pizza, on the other hand, is generally baked at high temperatures - upwards of 600 degrees, maybe considerably higher - for just a few minutes.
But when done right, they're both good. And if you love 'em both, and you want to open a restaurant, I guess you might do 'em both. Sad to say, I have yet to try the barbeque at either KC's or BBQ&P2, but they both do a pretty good job on the pizza side of the equation.
On a lunchtime visit at the latter, I was told that there was one pepperoni slice and three cheese slices available. The slices weren't visible - which I don't like - but I opted for the cheese.
It came out already encased in a paper to-go sleeve, so I had no idea what it would look like until I "unwrapped" it like a present.
To my pleasant surprise, it bore a pretty fair resemblance to a NY-style slice. It wasn't the "jumbo" slice advertised on the menu, but it was thin, and topped with an even layer of lightly browned cheese.
Turning it over, I was sorry to see it had been cooked on a screen. Surprisingly, though, it was well browned, nearly to the point of faint charring in spots.
It also had a definite exterior crispness, just a bit of crunch, and despite its thinness, some interior breadiness. It was also very pliable and folded easily.
The sauce was applied lightly, and mostly seemed to add a little lubrication between the crust and cheese. The cheese was applied moderately, in good balance with the thin crust, and had a somewhat tangy flavor, leading me to think that it was a blend of mozzarella and some sharper cheese. I'm not enough of a cheese connoisseur to hazard a guess at what it might've been.
The edge was pretty thin, just a little ridge to keep the toppings from dripping off. It was OK, but didn't have quite the crusty breadiness of a really good NY pie.
The menu, of course, is quite extensive. Besides all the usual pizzeria fare like wings, subs, etc., they offer jambalaya, gumbo and chili, ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken, and fried catfish, plus plenty of sides. There's a little seating, not much, and they deliver.
This may sound like damning with faint praise, but this was the best screen-baked pizza I've had to date. It was a very respectable NY-style slice. That said, I can't help but think that it could be still better if they'd lose the screen, and bake it directly on the oven floor, to give it some toasty/charred flavor accents and a breadier crust. But I'm not complaining. And if the barbeque is as good as the pizza, they've got a winning combination going here. I'll give it a B+.
Barbeque & Pizza Too, 3105 E. Henrietta Rd. 334-3300
Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sund. 12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

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