Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Savastano's, Spencerport Road
Savastano’s is another one of Rochester’s long-established Italian bakeries, and like most of its brethren, it’s on the West Side, in Gates. As explained on their menu, the owner began his trade at Gruttadauria’s in 1964, and opened his own pizzeria/bakery in 1974 on Spencerport Road, where it remains today. It’s a small place, and easy to overlook as you’re driving by, but it’s worth stopping by, as I did recently.
I got a small pepperoni pizza. Ordinarily I like to get at least a medium but, well, I just didn’t want that much pizza this time.
The crust on this one was about three quarters of an inch thick, putting it somewhere in the medium-thick category. The underside was dry, and lightly browned, something like the color on a typical loaf of Italian bread. It had some exterior crunch, and was in fact a bit crumbly, not at all pliable or supple. I found that the slices would break if I attempted to fold them (not that these really needed to be folded; I just wanted to see if I could). The edge was very crunchy, but this wasn’t a “fried” kind of crunch; it was more of a well-baked crunchiness, something like a breadstick.
In that sense, this crust was in some ways reminiscent of the pizza I had at Proietti’s recently. Although the texture here was not quite the same as Proietti’s, the crust at both places was not particularly chewy, or, to use my word again, “gluteny.” Both establishments have been around a long time, and I wonder if this type of crust is indicative of an older, local style of pizza.
At any rate, it was good, and I don’t mean to suggest otherwise. The crust was a little crumbly, yes, but not in a dried-out or stale kind of way. It just seemed to have less gluten development than some pizza doughs, and more “bite” than “chew.”
Moving on, or up, to the sauce, it was fairly ample, though not excessive, and had a bright, tomatoey flavor. The lightly browned cheese was actually more of a supporting player here, with a presence that was noticeable, but that stayed mostly in the background. The predominant flavors and textures overall came mostly from the crust, sauce, and pepperoni, which was of the wide and thin variety. There seemed also to be a sprinkling of parmesan or romano on the surface, which contributed a soupçon (there’s a word I’ve never used before in my life) of tanginess.
Savastano’s has a modest list of pizza toppings (though you don’t often see cauliflower as an option), but several specialty pizza, including BLT, steak and lasagna pizzas. Interestingly, the Sicilian pizza here is apparently not a typical “American” Sicilian pizza (if that makes any sense), i.e., a rectangular, thick, pan-baked pizza, nor does it sound like (from what I’ve read) “authentic” Sicilian pizza (no cheese, and all the ingredients baked directly in the crust, not on top). Savastano’s Sicilian is distinguished instead by its toppings: a blend of oil, garlic, salt, pepper, grated cheese and mozzarella.
I should also mention Savastano’s mini pizzas. They’re essentially the same as the regular pizzas, although when I tried them I found the crust rather soft and moist, which isn’t that surprising since they are stacked up in a glass case at the front counter, where I imagine the moisture in the dough, sauce and cheese tends to soften the crusts a bit. Still, they’re tasty, and at less than a buck apiece, you could easily put away several of these for a quick, filling and inexpensive lunch.
Savastano’s is a bakery, too, and you’ll find plenty to pick from, including several breads, rolls, cookies and pastries, and pies. Savastano’s will turn one of those rolls into a hot or cold sub for you, and in a nod to its Western New York location, they offer Buffalo wings as well.
Getting back to the small pie, this was pretty good pizza. Its most distinctive feature, to me, was certainly the crust, with its almost biscuitlike texture. Although my tastes tend toward bready, chewy pizza crusts, I found myself liking this one, and appreciating it for the very fact of its differentness from most other pizzas around here. I’ll give it a B.
Savastano’s Pizzeria & Bakery, 477 Spencerport Rd. 247-0448
Tue., Wed., Sun. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Thu. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Closed Mon.