Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Chicken Mom's, North Goodman St. - CLOSED
Chicken Mom's, a takeout joint at the corner of Goodman and Clifford Avenues, is a place I'd been meaning to go to for some time. For one thing, I love that name, which is derived, I believe, from its previous incarnation, Chicken Tom's. And on my pizza map, where I note pizzerias I've been to or not by green and red icons, there it sat, smack dab in the center of Rochester, a red icon in a sea of green. I had to turn that icon from red to green.
But it took a while. When I went to Papa Van's across the street, I tried to get a slice at Chicken Mom's, but found out they don't serve slices. On another occasion, I called Chicken Mom's in the early afternoon, but was told the pizza ovens wouldn't be ready until later in the day. But finally, the stars were in proper alignment the other day, and I got myself a Chicken Mom's pizza.
Like a number of places in the city, Chicken Mom's offers very reasonably priced large pizzas. Here, the special is a large pepperoni pie for $7 even.
When I arrived to pick it up, I was greeted by a smallish, middle-aged lady, whom I took to be Chicken Mom herself. Hustling back and forth from the pizza oven to the counter, she had a plainspoken affability and an energetic manner that suggested a person both sociable yet tough enough to get by in this relatively gritty section of town. (Though I wasn't required to use it at this relatively early hour, Chicken Mom's front counter is topped by a heavy-duty, counter-to-ceiling security window, with openings just large enough to allow customers' orders to be passed through.)
I got the pizza out to my car and gave it a quick look-see. I wasn't expecting much, frankly, as my experience with these super-cheap pizzas from inner city pizzerias has been uneven at best.
So I was pleasantly surprised to see a pretty good-looking pizza. It had a very thick, bubbly, edge, and a screen-marked, tan underside.
The bottom was firm but not crisp, and though there was some grease, it appeared to have soaked down from the top of the pizza; in those spots where it hadn't, the underside was dry to the touch.
The edge was not especially bready or airy, but it had a pleasant bready flavor and a crackly exterior. The crust was much thinner toward the center of the pie. It was a decent enough base for the toppings, but the texture was unexceptional.
The crust was topped with a thin layer of sauce. It had a mild - even bland - flavor that stayed very much in the background.
Much more prominent were the cheese and pepperoni. Though there wasn't an abundance of pepperoni (perhaps no surprise, at this low price), the pepperoni had an assertively spicy flavor that worked well with that of the mozzarella cheese, which was moderately browned but not overbaked. It had a smooth, melted texture along with a lightly toasted flavor.
I don't know if it was just the pepperoni, or the cheese as well, but this pizza was quite oily on top. You may want to sop some of that up with a napkin if you're not a fan of greasy pizza.
Chicken Mom's pizza menu is pretty basic, with three sizes (medium, large and sheet) and ten toppings. The rest of the menu is quite varied, however. There are all the usual suspects, like wings, hot and cold subs, burgers, hots and bombers, and, of course, chicken dinners. But you'll also find ribs, pork chops, and chicken gizzards too.
As I said, I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of this pizza, and that carried through to the eating of it. I could quibble about a few things - the crust could've had a better texture, and the sauce seemed to be missing in action - but in general, the flavor was good. With its square cut and thick, puffy edge, it was something like what I consider traditional Rochester style pizza, albeit with a much thinner crust in the middle and a little lighter on the toppings.
But again, for seven bucks, you can't expect a lot of everything. And when you factor in the price, this was really a very good value. I would never get, or recommend, a pizza just because it was cheap. Life's too short to eat bad pizza. But this has more going for it than just the price; it was pretty decent stuff, regardless of the price. And judging it against some of the other places around town offering very low-priced pizza, this was one of the best. I'll give it a B.
Chicken Mom's, 1159 N. Goodman St. 482-8239
Sun. - Thu. 1 p.m. - midnight, Fri. & Sat. 1 p.m. - 1 a.m.