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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fat Jack's, Fairport - CLOSED

Note: as of Nov. 2011, Fat Jack's is closed.
Last January, I reported on Portside Pizza in Fairport. I thought the slice I got there was OK but had a few flaws, and gave it a C+.
Well, Portside has exited the stage, and now enters Fat Jack's, which claims to be "Fairport's only home for true NY Style Pizza."
A bold claim, there, considering that Fat Jack's is new on the scene, and that Fairport already has some pretty decent NY style pizza at Pizza Chef. I was naturally eager, then, to put Fat Jack's to the test.
I got two slices, one cheese, one pepperoni. While slices aren't always representative of a pizzeria's best stuff, any true NY style pizzeria ought to be able to turn out good individual slices, like the ones you'll find at countless pizza joints in the Big Apple.
Visually, these slices bore some resemblance to what you'd get in the City, but there were noticeable differences too. They were thin, but of course there's more to New York style pizza than mere thinness.
The underside, for example. With rare exceptions, the slices I've gotten in New York have not been baked on a pizza screen. A NY-style slice should also be crisp and at least faintly charred underneath and along the outer edge.
These slices, though, bore clear screen marks, and were more medium or golden brown than charred, with just a few darker spots here and there. The bottom surface was firm, but not really crisp. On the plus side, they were foldable but not floppy, and the tip pointed straight out when the slice was folded.
The top side, too, didn't quite resemble genuine NYC pizza, as the cheese was rather browned. In my experience, a typical New York slice is charred underneath, but the cheese is simply melted, not browned.
I don't mean to get hung up on style, here - the bottom line, after all, is whether the pizza's good or not, not whether it meets some stylistic criteria - but I think it's fair to mention these things, since Fat Jack's chose to bill itself as a purveyor of "true NY style pizza."
That said, let's move on to the more important matter of how this pizza tasted. As I said, the crust was thin - very thin toward the tip - and there was some evidence in the outer lip of the dough having risen nicely, which gave it a pleasing chewiness. All in all, the crust had good texture and flavor, with the faintest hint of saltiness in the background, but it lacked exterior crispness.
The sauce was moderately applied, but certainly noticeable given the thinness of the crust. It had a thick texture, with a smattering of dried herbs visible, and I'm pretty sure I picked up some basil flavor. Not bad.
The cheese, as I mentioned, was a bit browned. It was OK, but not quite as smooth or creamy as I would've liked. The pepperoni had a nice peppery kick, and was reasonably crisp.
At this point, Fat Jack's has a relatively modest list of nine pizza toppings, and four specialty pizzas. They also do hot and cold subs, wings, salads and strombolis. It's pretty much a takeout place - sorry, I'm not sure if they deliver, but I'll try to find out.
I liked this pizza well enough to go back. It had good flavor, and the crust wasn't bad. I do take issue with Fat Jack's claim to serve authentic New York style pizza, though. I'd be pretty surprised if I got a slice like these from a pizza place in New York City. It may just be a matter of baking the pizza directly on the oven deck, which I think would make the crust crisper and cook the crust through before the cheese started to brown. But on the basis of these slices, this was better than average pizza, and I'll give them a B.
Fat Jack's Pizza, 110 Packetts Landing, Fairport
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Fri. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

11 comments:

  1. They can't cook it directly on the oven deck; their oven is a conveyor-belt style.

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  2. Oops! My bad for not checking out the oven - thanks for pointing that out, and I'll try to pay more attention in the future. But now that I know that, I'm doubly surprised that they would claim to be an authentic NY style pizzeria. I'm not saying you can't make good pizza in a conveyor oven, but that's certainly not typical of NY pizza.

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  3. Ordered a large with my "uncooked bacon" on it the other day. (It cooks at the same time as the pizza.)

    It was very good. I agree that it could use a little more charring. We got that on the reheat!

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  4. When I tried it, there seemed to be no sauce at all. Some was visible, but I could not taste it. There also was a strong herb and spice flavor that I could not quite identify. It seemed as if the herbs were in or on the cheese rather than in the sauce.

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  5. I've had those kind of slices before, where you can see the sauce but you can't taste it or feel it in your mouth. I think it's a combination of not using enough to begin with, and the sauce drying out in the oven and/or warming tray.

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  6. Hi Pizza Guy, love this blog - I have been following for several months now. I read the Fat Jack's review for the first time today. For my taste, Fat Jack's serves the best pizza in the Rochester area. I've sampled over 25 places and my top two are Fat Jack's and Pizza Stop in Webster. Fat Jack's is closer so when it is Pizza night at my house, Fat Jack's serves it well! I never bought a separate slice, always a full pie on order.

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  7. OK, well, another one to add to my list to go back to. This is why I will never run out of places to review, but that's a good thing, so thanks.

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  8. Ordered from Fat Jack's for the first (and last time) recently. Leaving the shoppe I thought that no matter the taste of the pie, I wouldn't be back. My "Hi, how are you tonight?" was met with an annoyed stare, a gruff request for my name, and an open hand thrust toward me with an amount owed grunted out. I paid and the chef/owner (who was also standing at the counter and hadn't acknowledged my prescence upon arrival) turned around and handed me the pizza without a word. When leaving, I thanked them for the pizza and offered them a good night; crickets chirped so I left. BTW, pizza was nearly the worst I ever had. Flat beyond NY style, extremely greasy, void of sauce, stiff, dry cheese, and an unidentified and unevenly distributed abundance of spices/herbs. A note to the owners, even a small attempt at customer service (especially in a village where there are pizza joints every half block) goes a long way in this small town. This may be a moot point because I was the only customer in the place, the chef wasn't cooking, and the phone didn't ring while I was in there.

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  9. First time I had the pizza here, I thought it was pretty good. I was starving at the time and when I got towards the end of the meal, I realized I must have ate two tablespoons worth of salt. I was very thirsty afterwards. The crust was nice and floppy, but tasteless. I returned a month or two later and got two fresh cheese slices out of the oven. Both felt really good texturally, but lacked any flavor. I won't go back knowing I can get a great slice at a slightly higher price at Pizza Chef. I have no affiliation with any pizza joint. I just want the thin-crust places to know what to strive for so I can eat at more than one place in Fairport. For cheap pizza, Perinton Pizza's Monday night special can't be beat. They will make a thinner crust if you ask.

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  10. Fat Jack's is closed

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  11. Thank you. The phone has been disconnected so that appears to be correct.

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