Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I thought I was finished with Victor, after reviewing Lucca, Leonardo's, and Posella's, but then I received several comments from readers telling me that I'd missed what they swore was the best pizzeria in Victor, Bernardo's. I had never heard of Bernardo's, and it's easy to see why I missed it, as it's on a side street that I'd never been down before.
That omission has now been rectified, thanks to a recent midday dash out to Victor. I'm happy to say it was worth the trip back.
I got a pepperoni slice, which measured 8 inches along the side. It had a golden brown, screen-baked underside, with a somewhat crunchy exterior. The crust was thin, and folded easily.
The slice was topped with a generous layer of mozzarella, which was actually thicker than the crust in spots. (I found that folding the slice helped balance it out, as folding resulted in a more consistent ratio of crust to cheese with each bite). It appeared to have been dusted with parmesan as well.
The sauce had a basic tomatoey flavor and remained in the background, with the cheese taking center stage. The pepperoni, of the wide and thin variety, was moderately applied. The slice as a whole had something of a salty flavor, the source of which I couldn't identify. The thick lip was crunchy, chewy, and almost sweet, in a bready kind of way, and made for a rewarding finish to the slice.
Bernardo's pizza lineup is pretty basic, with eleven toppings and two specialty pizzas (chicken wing, and steak, peppers and onions). The rest of the menu is also relatively modest in scope, consisting of wings, hot and cold subs, and salads.
I was a little amused by the prominent proclamation, in boldface type, on Bernardo's takeout menu, that they are "Now offering Thin or Thick Crust Pizza!," as if that were quite a remarkable innovation. I don't point that out to poke fun - it's just suggestive that Bernardo's is not some trendy place where you're going to find exotic, bizarre, or cutting-edge pizza, and that's just fine by me. I can appreciate a pizzeria that doesn't try to do too much - better to do a few things well than a lot of things poorly. And based on my visit, I'd say that Bernardo's does what they do rather well. A lot of folks must agree, since Bernardo's has been in business for some 25 years now, under continuous family ownership and operation.
So, my thanks to the readers who let me know about Bernardo's. This was very enjoyable pizza. Its overall flavor was basic and straightforward, which, when you're talking about pizza, can be a good thing indeed. The components blended well, and it had a well balanced profile, the somewhat heavy cheese layer notwithstanding.
My one quibble would be over the use of a screen, which almost always seems to result in a crust that's not quite as crisp and toasty as I would like. This was a pretty good crust in spite of that, though, and unlike a lot of screen-baked pizzas, it had some crispness.
Well, actually, I've got a second quibble, though not about the pizza itself. At Bernardo's, you place your order at a small counter just inside the front door, and there's a large, informal dining area beyond that. On my visit at least, the slices (which, by the way, are available only at lunchtime, according to Bernardo's menu) were not visible from the counter. Had I seen the slices, I might've been more likely to order a couple instead of just one, which I ended up wishing I had done. Next time I'm in Victor, I'll see to that. In the meantime, I'm giving Bernardo's a B+.
Bernardo's Pizza, Subs & Wings, 160 School St. 924-3960
Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 8 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.