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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gaetano's, W. Ridge Road: Sicilian pizza

Gaetano's Bakery on Urbanspoon
I've previously posted on Gaetano's bakery, about a year ago, but it was just for one slice, which didn't seem especially fresh, and I've long meant to go back for a freshly made pie.
In that prior post, I said that Gaetano's Sicilian pizza sounded tempting, and that's what I opted for on a recent visit. "Sicilian" here does not denote a rectangular, thick-crusted, pan pizza, which is what I usually think of as Sicilian pizza, but a regular pizza topped with oil (presumably olive oil), black pepper, fresh garlic, parsley, Romano cheese and basil.
I don't know why, but somehow I had come to expect Gaetano's Siciilan pizza to be a red pizza, i.e. with tomato sauce, similar to a Grandma's or traditional pizza with just sauce and a sprinkling of Romano. But it's a white pizza, no sauce.
OK, well, my fault in thinking otherwise. I like white pizza.
But I don't really like a soft crust, which is what this had. The underside was a bit oily to the touch, and though it wasn't wet-sponge soft, it was definitely on the soft side. As was my slice last October, the underside of this pie was dotted with small, pinprick puncture holes.
The medium-to-thick crust was also a little gummy on top, where it met the cheese. The cheese - which I'm pretty certain was mozzarella - was browned, and formed a uniform blanket over the crust. The Romano cheese overlaid a little sharpness, but the mozzarella certainly predominated.
Bits of chopped, browned garlic also dotted the surface, and this pizza definitely left a garlicky aftertaste. The black pepper was a background presence, and the bits of dried parsley added little, either visually or on the palate. (We need a word for that in English - what's the sense-of-taste equivalent of "visual"?)
This pizza tasted pretty good, but its major shortcoming was the crust. That was one of the things I disliked about my slice last year, and though I guess I had no real reason to expect it to be different this time, I was still disappointed, because Gaetano's bread is so damn good. On an impulse, I found myself getting a gorgeous loaf of bread with my pizza. It had a floury, crunchy crust and a soft, chewy interior. If only some of that had been present in the pizza. I had the sense, in eating the pizza, that the dough was just fine, but that it had not been baked in a way that would extract from it its optimal flavor and texture.
*Sigh* Well, there's still the mini pizzas, which I have yet to try, and Gaetano's also sells pizza dough, so you could always try it at home. Aside from that, I'll pick up the occasional loaf of bread here, but I doubt I'll give the pizza another shot. It tasted good, so I'm not going to give it a truly bad grade, but that soft crust drags it down, so I'm giving it a C-.
Gaetano’s Bakery, 1439 W. Ridge Rd. 865-7810
Mon. - Thu. 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. - 8 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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