Monday, October 12, 2009
Tony's Birdland, Greece
Tony's Birdland has two locations, on West Ridge Road and Dewey Ave., both in Greece. I recently picked up a cheese slice at the former.
The crust was thin to medium in thickness, with an overall appearance that would put it in the New York style category. It had clearly been baked on a screen, but the underside was dark, even a bit charred, and had a pleasantly toasty character.
The sauce, which was applied fairly generously, had a balanced flavor, with both tomatoey and herbal notes. The cheese was moderately applied, and had been baked to the point that it had developed some brown blisters across its surface.
The slice ended with a thin, floury, crunchy lip, that had a nice bready flavor.
Tony's Birdland has a pretty big menu. The pizza selections are fairly standard, but they also offer - you ready? - calzones, wings, fried chicken, wraps, hot and cold subs, "plates," burgers and hots, salads, various sides and appetizers, and dinners that include chicken (no surprise there, given the name of the place), ribs, fish and fried seafood. The desserts include fried dough (which I've never cared for, though I love the straightforward, unabashed descriptiveness of that name), Oreo cheesecake, and a few pie selections.
By the way, about those wings: if you like either of Tony's two sauces (sween 'n' sour or Buffalo), you can get it to go, in quantities up to a gallon.
But back to the pizza - I liked this slice. It was well balanced, with no one component taking center stage. The crust had a good flavor and some crispness, but would've been even better, I think, had it not been baked on a screen. The crust didn't have quite the mix of crunch and breadiness that makes for truly outstanding pizza.
I suppose there are practical reasons for using a screen, but from my experience, producing great pizza isn't one of them. So while this pizza fell a bit short of greatness, it was still pretty doggone good, and I'll give it a B.
Tony's Birdland & Pizzeria, 2680 W. Ridge Rd. 225-4720. Also 3800 Dewey Ave. 621-3277. (The Ridge Rd. location is open for lunch; I think the Dewey Ave. location doesn't open until sometime in the afternoon.)