Note: this establishment is now closed.
One of my very first blog posts was about Paradiso Pizza at RIT, in February 2009. Although my posts back then were considerably shorter than they are now, I think I accurately summed up that pizza as a "decent approximation," though not a perfect copy, of NYC-style pizza, and I gave it a B.
Paradiso very recently opened a second location in the area, in the site of a former Mark's Pizzeria on Lyell Ave.
The pizza here was indeed similar to what I got at RIT. On my lunchtime visit, they had about a half dozen varieties of slices available, and $5.40 will get you two of those, plus a 12 oz. can of pop. I got one cheese and one pepperoni.
These were clearly NY-style slices, quite thin, and easily foldable. The cheese slice was browned, and not quite charred, underneath, while the pepperoni slice was a bit more well-done, with some nice dotted char spots. Both were just slightly crisp underneath, with a chewy texture.
The slices were topped with a moderate layer of mozzarella cheese. The cheese had melted, but hadn't really melded together, and the individual strands of cheese were still easily visible. My guess is that they use part-skim mozzarella, which with its lower fat content doesn't melt as well as the whole milk variety.
The sauce was applied relatively thinly. It had a tomatoey flavor with some herbal notes.
The pepperoni was of the wide and thin variety, and rather spicy. Usually pepperoni doesn't get my attention much, but this had a very noticeable peppery kick to it.
The outer edge on these slices was pretty good. It was formed into a medium-size lip, which was crisp and toasty (particularly on the pepperoni slice), and had a slightly salty, bready flavor. Somewhere in there among the crust, cheese and sauce, I also thought I detected a hint of garlic powder, as I was left with a faint, garlicky aftertaste after finishing these slices.
Pies here come in 14", 16", and sheet sizes. There are 16 available toppings, and five specialty pizzas ("Meat Worshippers," Philly cheese steak, chicken wing, veggie, and "Mediterranean Dream," which is more or less a Greek pizza). Other items include calzones, wings, hot subs, plates, and Italian, chicken, rib, and fish fry dinners. They offer free delivery, though I'm not sure how wide their delivery area is.
This was not bad pizza at all, and like its sister operation in Henrietta, not too far off from typical NYC pizza. It may have simply been due to the fact that these slices were reheated in the pizza oven just before I got them, but I'd say that they were a smidgen more crisp and toasty than the pie I got last year at the RIT location.
Paradiso may just give Cam’s, which is just down the street, a run for its money, though at this point I'd give the edge to Cam’s for its consistently crisp, charred crust. But I wouldn't complain if you set down a Paradiso pie in front of me, and I'll give these a B+.
Paradiso Pizza, 1074 Lyell Ave., 647-6777
(hours not available as of this writing)