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Monday, January 11, 2010

Eastside Cafe, Fairport

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Here’s another one that I just realized I never got around to posting. It dates from last summer, but I’ve no reason to think that anything significant has changed since then at Eastside, so here it is.
Eastside CafĂ© is on 31F, across from a VFW post, just east of the village of Fairport. I believe that it was formerly a Mr. Shoes location, but I’m not sure if there remains any connection between it and Mr. Shoes.
I got a cheese slice at lunchtime. This is one of those places where you place your order at the counter and they bring it out to you, so although I asked for it to go, I had a chance to look around a little. There were several tables and a couple of TVs tuned to sports. This is a breakfast/lunch/dinner place, something of a cross between a diner and a pizzeria, and the pleasant aroma of frying sausage was in the air, perhaps left over from the breakfast hours.
When my pizza arrived, it turned out that my slice was in fact two slices. I was glad I hadn’t ordered two, or I’d have ended up with half a pizza, as I did here.
The underside was quite dark brown, but not charred. This was the kind of brown you get when dough cooks in the presence of oil, though it wasn’t particularly greasy. It had been baked on a screen. The crust was medium thick, with a soft texture.
The pizza was heavy on the cheese, with a thick layer of pale melted mozzarella, lightly dusted with dried herbs. It seemed also to have been sprinkled with parmesan (I think), which added some complexity and a bit of tanginess to the flavor.
The sauce was moderately applied and was similar in consistency and flavor to a thick canned spaghetti sauce. I’m not saying it came straight from a can or jar, just that that’s what it reminded me of pretty thick, and had a crackly, fried crunch.
Eastside has a fairly standard lineup of pizza toppings, and nine specialty pizzas, including a potato pie. Eastside’s take on potato pizza is not a traditional Roman pizza di patate, but an Americanized version with Idaho spuds, bacon bits, and cheddar, with sour cream on the side. All their pizzas may be ordered “red” or “white,” with regular or “N.Y. style thin” crust.
Aside from pizza, Eastside serves calzones, wings, and hot and cold “grinders” (a term you don’t see used much around here), which come with such colorful names as the “Big Bad Joan” and the “Scooby Doo.”
As I mentioned, Eastside is open all day, and has a full menu, from breakfast through dinner. The breakfast menu, which is available Friday through Sunday, has all the standards, as well as breakfast pizza (which is definitely not my thing). The rest of the menu includes “Monsta Plates,” salads, wraps, pasta, seafood, chicken and rib dinners, and a few desserts. Eastside delivers, for a charge, as far as Macedon and Walworth.
Although this didn’t really fit my profile of great pizza, it wasn’t bad. A lot of its attributes - screen baked, soft crust, heavy cheese - are, for me, strikes against a pizza. But flavor counts too, and this tasted pretty good; the components seemed to work together, and maybe that dusting of herbs and parmesan helped as well. For whatever reason, I found myself liking this one almost in spite of myself, or at least in spite of my usual preferences. I’ll give it a B-.
Eastside Cafe, 303 Macedon Center Road (Rt. 31F), Fairport 223-7463
Breakfast: Fri. 6:30 - 10:30 a.m., Sat. & Sun. 7 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Lunch & dinner: Mon. - Thu. and Sun. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.

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