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Monday, May 10, 2010

Carlton Express, Long Pond Road

As I've mentioned before, ordinarily I would not bother reporting on pizza from a convenience store, since the pizza at these places usually looks like it was made from a preformed crust or frozen pizza. But if a convenience store advertises itself as a full-fledged pizzeria, I'll check it out.
Such is the case with Carlton Express, way up at the intersection of Long Pond Road and Edgemere Drive, near the lake. They have a full pizza menu that also includes wings, as well as subs that are served on Carlton Express's fresh-baked bread.
I picked up a pepperoni slice. It had a fairly thin crust that had been screen baked. The underside was dry, not greasy, with a soft texture and pale hue. As you can see in the bottom photo, the crust seemed to have adhered to the screen because a part of it was torn away. The edge was formed into a thick lip, which had a chewy interior.
The sauce was moderately applied, in good balance with the crust, and distinctly, though not overly sweet flavor. The cheese was well browned, though not burnt. The pepperoni - what little there was of it - was crisp and had a smoky, almost baconlike flavor and aroma.
As I mentioned, Carlton Express has a pretty full menu for a convenience store operation. Although the pizza toppings list is relatively modest, at 13 toppings, their six specialty pizzas include a Grandma's pizza, something I don't recall seeing elsewhere around here outside of Joe's. (I have it on good authority that Guida's also offers a Grandma's pizza, but I haven't tried it.) Carlton's version comes with "light sauce, mozzarella, salt, black pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, chopped garlic, Romano and olive oil.
Other than pizza, Carlton Express offers wings, hot and cold subs, wraps, calzones, salads, a few sides, and (in what I assume is not a typo), a "Garage Plate." And of course, there are the basic grocery items available as well.
As far as the pizza's concerned, this may be a case of, difficult to judge based on one slice. This was not great pizza, though it had some things going for it. The components were well balanced, the sauce tasted good (if you like your sauce on the sweet side), the pepperoni was nice and crisp, and the edge wasn't bad. But the topside seemed more cooked than the underside, and the crust, apart from the edge, was rather soft and lifeless.
So while I'm intrigued enough that I might go back sometime to try that Grandma's pizza, based on this slice, Carlton Express rates a C from me.
Carlton Express, 16 Long Pond Rd. at Edgemere Dr. 225-5095

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