Rhino's on Humboldt Street.
Last March, I gave Rhino's a C for a pepperoni slice that was OK but no better than average. Not long ago, I went back, this time getting a small pie with sausage. (I'm starting to like sausage on my pizza - I think there's more variability with sausage compared to pepperoni, perhaps because some places make their own, or maybe I'm just not as used to it as I am to pepperoni).
On that note, I'll break with my usual format here and start with the sausage. This was mildly spicy, and meaty but not greasy or gristly. Good sausage.
Rhino's menu notes that you can order your crust thin, thick or regular. My "regular" crust measured about a half to three quarters of an inch, with the cheese, which adhered well to the crust, making it difficult to tell where the crust ended and the cheese began. The underside was dry to the touch, and not exactly charred, but nicely darkened, showing good, high, conductive heat from the oven. Topside, the crust had bubbled in a number of spots, though not to such an extent as to detract from the pizza as a whole.
The sauce was amply applied, and had a medium-thick consistency. There were some dried herbs visible throughout the sauce, and they made themselves known on the palate as well, with an occasional burst of oregano or basil that imparted an almost minty counterpart to the overall tomatoey flavor of the sauce.
The moderately applied cheese had melted nicely, settling in around the bubbles in the crust, giving them the appearance of tiny islands poking up out of a mozzarella sea.
Each slice ended in a fairly thick, bready lip. It was a tad softer than I'd expected, suggesting perhaps a light brushing with oil before going into the oven, or maybe it was just that it stayed moist from the sauce, which was applied nearly to the edge of the pie. But it was nicely risen and had a pleasant, breadlike flavor and texture.
As I mentioned the other day, sometimes there is a big difference between getting a slice and getting a fresh pie. It was certainly the case here. This pizza was considerably better than the slice I had in March, which was topped with clumps of not-quite-melted shredded cheese and some lifeless pepperoni slices, and which frankly seemed a tad stale. This time around, everything worked, with a good (if not quite great) crust, well melted cheese, full-flavored sauce and meaty chunks of sausage. The only minor downsides were that the crust was not quite as crisp underneath as I like, the bubbles were a slight, mostly cosmetic blemish, and the sauce was maybe a bit too strongly seasoned for my taste. But all in all, this was a solid pizza, and good enough to rate a B+ from me.
Rhino's Pizzeria, 391 Humboldt St., Rochester 14609, 288-7492
Mon. - Thu. 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10:30 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun.noon - 8:30 p.m.
(The Webster location at 85 Donovan St. has the same hours, phone is 872-3150.)