Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Gallo's Old World Style Pizza
I did a post back in May of last year about Gallo’s on Stone Road in Greece. At the time, I just had a couple of slices, which I liked, but I also took note of their “Old World Style” pizza on the menu, which is described as having a “crispy crust, topped with fresh herbs & spices in a traditional red sauce and grated parmesan.” I mentioned that it “might be worth a try sometime.”
Well, “sometime” finally came, as I went and got myself a medium Old World pizza.
Why did I wait so long? I really liked this pizza, which, along with such other local examples as Pizza Stop’s meatball parm pizza and Joe’s Brooklyn’s grandma’s pizza, is beginning to make me think that my favorite style of pizza may involve much less cheese than the standard American pie.
My Gallo’s Old World pizza had a thin to medium crust that was a little thicker toward the edge. It was screen baked, but the dark brown underside had some exterior firmness, a slight crispness - and a definite crunch along the edge - with a bready interior packed with visible air holes.
Not only that, the crust tasted good. That was most noticeable along the edge, which is always where you’ll know for sure if a pizza crust is good or not, but it was also apparent throughout the pizza, and I think some of that has to do with the simplicity of this pizza. The relative lack of toppings, compared to many American versions that are piled high with meat, double cheese, etc., allowed the crust to really shine here.
This was, obviously, a saucy pizza, but the sauce, like the herbs and Romano cheese, was not overpowering, and everything was kept in good balance. Although it was not “cheesy” in the usual sense, there was enough of the sharp-flavored Romano to balance out the sauce and crust. There was also certainly some garlic in there somewhere, although it may have been powdered or granulated.
What struck me as I was eating this pizza was how simple it was, yet so delicious. I think that we Americans have become so accustomed to pizza with a thick, unbroken layer of melted cheese on top that it’s something of a revelation to eat a pizza that is so good even though (or more likely because) it doesn’t fit that profile.
As the “Old World” name implies, Gallo’s certainly didn’t invent this style of pizza, nor does it claim to. This is Gallo’s take on a very traditional Italian style of pizza. And of course, minimalist pizza doesn’t necessarily mean more sauce than cheese; some white pizzas, for instance, have no sauce, and little more than a brushing of olive oil, some fresh garlic, basil and black pepper.
But I do like tomato sauce, and what I liked about this pizza was the way that the sauce provided flavor and moisture, without the stomach-filling effects of a typical mozzarella-laden pizza. Although I managed to stop eating after downing half my medium pie, it took an effort of self-control, as this was a very easy pizza to eat.
So yeah, I liked this one a lot, and I rank it among my new favorites. It scores an A- from me.
I liked this so much, in fact, that I went back to Gallo’s a few days later to see if I could have a few minutes to talk pizza with the owner. I did, and highlights of that conversation will be coming up in a day or two.
Gallo's Pizza & Subs, 1064 Stone Rd. (in Frear's Garden Center Plaza) 663-5960
Mon. - Thu. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m. - midnight, Sun. noon - 10 p.m.