Thursday, August 27, 2009
Carmine's Express, Elmgrove Road - CLOSED
Carmine's Express. which is not to be confused with Carmine's Family Restaurant, is at the corner of Elmgrove and Lyell in Gates.
I was disappointed to find out that a slice here meant a rectangular slice out of a sheet pizza, rather than a slice cut out of a circular pie. I like to think that a slice is representative of what I would get if I ordered a whole pie, and a round pie and a sheet pizza are two different things.
Well, no matter. Let's just consider this a "Sicilian" slice.
The first thing I noticed about this slice is how light it was. I often find sheet pizza to be thick, heavy, and greasy, but this had a surprisingly light and airy texture. The lightly browned underside had a delicate crunchiness and a slightly toasty flavor.
The sauce had a slightly herbal flavor, but mostly stayed in the background. The melted cheese was almost liquid in consistency, and quite stringy. In its pale, just-melted state, it was reminiscent of Little Louie’s in Spencerport, which, coincidentally, was also a sheet pizza.
One thing I don’t like about getting a square piece is that if if was cut from the middle of the pizza, it won’t have an exterior edge, which is where the character of the dough comes through best. Had I known this was going to be a square slice, I would’ve asked for an “outside” or even a corner slice. All I can say about this dough is that had just a bit of crunch on the outside and doughy, but light-textured interior.
If you’re ordering a pie, Carmine’s Express does make round pizza, in 10, 14 and 16” diameters. They have a relatively modest list of available toppings. They also do wings, hot and cold subs, burgers and other grilled items, salads, several sides including homemade soup and chili, pasta dinners, Friday fish fry, and the “kitchen sink,” which is Carmine’s version of the garbage plate.
There are a few chairs at Carmine's, but as the "Express" implies, it's pretty much a takeout and delivery place. Delivery, by the way, is free.
At some point I will probably go back for a pie and see how that is. As for my square slice, it was OK, but not great. I don't have any particular complaints, but nothing about it stood out as especially praiseworthy either. As I said, it was reminiscent of Little Louie's, but I think I have to give a slight edge to the latter for a little more "oomph" to the crust and a good balance among the components. So Carmine's Express comes in just a notch lower, with a C.
Carmine's Express, 3872 Lyell Rd. (corner of Elmgrove). 247-7575
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.