Monday, August 3, 2009
Guetti's is a place I had never heard of or noticed until I started compiling my list of local pizzerias and found its one-line entry in the Yellow Pages. It's just off Chili Ave., about a mile east of Chili Center, but it's easy to miss, since it's not on Chili Ave. itself but on Chestnut Ridge Road, which runs off of Chili. It's right next to a Wilson Farms, but the building is kind of tucked away behind ... well, anyway, if you want to find it, google the address.
The lunchtime special was two slices and a 20 oz. drink for $5, so I went with that. I wasn't asked what kind of slices I wanted, but out came two with pepperoni, which was OK with me.
They were pretty thin - that was good - but the undersides were the color of raw dough, except for the greasy areas, which were more yellow, and the spots with black oven soot - not so good. And taking a bite, I found that indeed the crust didn't seem to have been baked, or even risen, very much. It was soft and chewy, with a spongy, almost gummy texture.
The slices were coated with a thick, well-cooked sauce, but the sauce seemed to have penetrated the dough a bit on top, adding to the wet-dough texture of the slice. The sauce had a tomato-pasty, concentrated flavor and texture, but with a slightly spicy edge or acidic bite to it, the way that spaghetti sauce gets when you cook it way down until it thickens, so that the flavors are more concentrated.
The cheese was pretty well browned, which was odd and hard to figure given how undercooked the dough was. It was as if the pizza had been broiled rather than baked. The cup 'n' char pepperoni was good, with a little crispness along the edge.
Guetti's has a handful of speciality pizzas, including "Fletches Favorite," which is a white garlic pizza with mozzarella, a garlic-parmesan crust, chicken and diced tomato. They also have wings and subs, a few fried finger foods, a Friday fish fry, and homemade Italian sausage. Their menu doesn't say anything about delivery, and except for a few chairs there's really no place to eat on site, so this seems to be pretty much a pickup place.
This was a weird, split-personality kind of pizza. I liked the toppings. The sauce, cheese and pepperoni worked well together, and they all had good flavor. But the crust I didn't like at all. A crust should be, well, crusty. This wasn't. I actually ended up just pulling off the cheese, which took the pepperoni and most of the sauce with it, and ate that, leaving the crust behind.
I wanted to like this pizza, I really did. Partly because I wanted to feel as if I'd "discovered" this great little pizzeria that most people around here have never heard of. And the service (I think it was the owner) was friendly. And again, I did like the toppings, which were almost - but not quite - good enough to make up for the undercooked, soft, gummy crust.
I'd like to think that maybe I just caught Guetti's on a bad day or at a bad time, but the guy making the pizza - especially if he was the owner - should know if a pizza came out bad, or wrong, and if so, he should chuck it and make another. Since he didn't, I don't think it was a matter of bad timing on my part, and I assume this was a typical, representative sampling of Guetti's pizza. The best I can give Guetti's, based on that, is a D+.
Guetti's Pizza & Subs, 25 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Chili. 247-9410
Mon. - Thu. 11 am - 10 pm, Fri. & Sat. 11 am - 11 pm, Sun. 1 pm - 9 pm
Pizza Guy Note: for a more recent Guetti's review, go here.