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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nick's Deli, Chili Center

Nick's Imports & Meat Market on Urbanspoon
Nick's Italian Deli is a family-run place that’s been in business now for over a quarter century. It’s on Chili Center Coldwater Road (what a mouthful) near the corner of Chili Ave. In addition to being a full-service deli, they also offer homemade pizza.
When I stopped in at lunchtime, the only single-serving pizza choices were pepperoni slices and “mini pizzas.” I think I’m going to do a review of some local mini-pizza places (it seems to be a west side phenomenon), but I wanted a more representative sample of a whole pie, so I got a slice.
Oddly, the slice was thicker toward the tip than toward the outer edge. It was very soft, with no real crispness to speak of in the crust, except at the very lip, which had a fried crunchiness.
The underside had a medium-brown, fried-dough color, though it was not particularly oily. There was some oil or grease on top, though, enough that I sopped it up with a napkin.
The crust was more doughy than bready in flavor and texture. It was not undercooked, but didn’t have the visible air holes that you typically find in a breadlike crust.
What was perhaps most noticeable about this pizza was the sauce, which had a distinctive, slightly sweet flavor. It contained small bits of crushed tomato, and what appeared to be diced onion.
This was a fairly cheesy slice, but most of the cheese was on the “inner” half of the slice, i.e., nearer the tip. That was a little odd too, since I would've expected the cheese to pool toward the thinner outer edge as the pizza baked. I suppose the cheese was probably just distributed more toward the middle of the pizza prior to going in the oven, and that’s where it stayed. Anyway, the cheese was lightly browned, and literally fell off the pizza as I was holding the slice, which had flopped straight down. As I said, it was a very soft slice of pizza.
The wide and thin pepperoni was unremarkable. It shared the surface with a dusting of dried herbs, the flavor of which was definitely noticeable, forming a counterpoint to the sweetness of the sauce.
Nick’s has a pretty basic list of pizza toppings and several specialty pizzas, including the “Four Seasons,” which is described as “New York Style dough with white garlic sauce split into four quarters: ¼ Artichoke, ¼ Prosciutto, ¼ Olive, ¼ Sausage.” Four pizzas in one? Sounds good to me.
The menu at Nick’s runs the gamut from pizza, subs and wings to pasta and seafood dinners, and a variety of Italian pastries and cookies.
Nick’s also deserves mention as the only place in Monroe County (to my knowledge) that offers gluten-free pizza, as well as gluten-free pasta, bread, meatballs (think bread crumbs), cookies and other items. I’ve tried the gluten-free pizza here, and it’s not bad. (The bottom photo here is of the underside of Nick's gluten-free pizza.) The overall flavor is very similar to the slice that I’ve described here, the only real difference being in the texture of the crust. It’s hard to describe, but it’s kind of like biscuit dough, only not as crumbly.
Nick’s also has a small grocery section, with some imported Italian foods and other items, including the aforementioned gluten-free pasta. There’s an informal dining area, as well as a covered outdoor patio.
Although, by my standards, this pizza had some flaws, I liked it nevertheless. Yes, the crust was way too soft for me, and lacked breadiness, but, as a whole the pizza tasted good. It also had a distinctive flavor, and I prize that too - I wouldn’t mistake this for anybody else’s pizza. So on balance, it comes in, for me, at about a B-.
Nick’s Italian Deli, 1098 Chili Center Coldwater Road. 247-6270
Mon. - Thu. & Sat. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun. 3 - 8 p.m.

6 comments:

  1. Pizzeria UNO(UNO Chicago Grill) also offers gluten-free pizza, since January 2009, although in my humble opinion is extremely poor in quality.

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  2. Thanks for the info. I guess if you can only have gluten-free pizza you can't afford to be too picky, so even if UNO's isn't so good, it's worth knowing.

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  3. Thank you for posting.
    it is really useful for us.

    Bathmate

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  4. I love this pizza more than aything in the area. My Grandmother who was born & raised in Sicily made pizza that tasted just like this. It's so authetic tasting with its fresh tomatoey/onion sauce with the heavy oregano. It's not your typical pizzeria pizza. But as an Italian boy this one can't be beat for me. It just tastes like home. They got a meaty spice peperoni with a slight crisp to it. The cheese is the only determent. It's heavy on the grease and gets that ornagey film on top. Not enough to stop me from giving this pizza an "A".

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  5. So much of what we like where food is concerned has to do with memories and family. That's why I always try to describe the pizza objectively as well as I can and not overemphasize the ratings, which are purely subjective.
    As far as the cheese goes, they may be using a high fat cheese, which some people would consider a sign of quality. I don't mind it on the surface so much since that's easy enough to sop up with a napkin, but I don't like when it seeps down to the underside.

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  6. Nick's is the favorite local pizzeria and deli for my family. I don't get slices anywhere, so I can't compare pizzas from that perspective, but the pies we bring home are always perfect! The Sicilian-fresh sauteed tomato sauce is delicious, and all of the ingredients abundantly cover the pie. We particularly like the Mediterranean (garlic sauce, spinach, sausage and more), Chris & Tone's Favorite (Buffalo chicken wing), Four Seasons (4 quarters of artichoke, prosciutto, sausage and olive), and the Sicilian (eggplant). The dinners are delicious and ample, as are the calzones. Try Sylvana's hot meat sauce on a sub if you are so inclined. And the wings are the best I've had. To top it off, you'll go a long way before meeting nicer people than the Bellone family!

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