Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Last November, I did a post on the Batavia Pontillo's (which is now "Batavia's Original"). I've also managed to sample another couple of Batavia pizzerias, so here's a quick roundup.
I had high hopes for Main St. Pizza Co., which looked a little more trendy or upscale than the average mom 'n' pop pizza joint. Not that mom 'n' pop places don't make good pizza, mind you, but Main St. seemed to offer the possibility of something a little out of the ordinary, perhaps a good New York style pizza, or a so-called "artisanal" pie.
Alas, it was not to be. The slice I got had a thin crust, but a soft, screen-baked bottom, which was browned but not at all charred. It was topped with a healthy helping of fairly sweet sauce, and atop that a layer of browned, congealed cheese, which easily separated from the crust. The slice seemed to have sat out for perhaps a bit longer than it should have. This was lunchtime, though, and pepperoni slices are usually the fastest-selling, so it couldn't have been sitting out for too long. Anyway, I always maintain that if a place sells slices, it's up to them to serve them reasonably fresh. This didn't seem too fresh to me.
The edge of the slice was a bit thick, and as is often the case with screen-baked pizza, it was more enjoyable than the rest of the crust. It had a pleasant crunch and some interior breadiness. It struck me that this was good dough, the potential of which was not fully realized in the baking process.
About two blocks away from Main St., you'll find Ficarella's Pizzeria, which has been in business since 1985.
My slice here also had a thin crust, with a crunchy underside that was lightly dusted with cornmeal. The crust was so crunchy and even brittle, in fact, that it broke apart as I was eating my slice, as you can see in the bottom photo. The edge was very crunchy, with some bubbles, so that when I bit into it, it was like biting into a hollow shell.
It's often hard to put a flavor into words, and that's the case here. Something struck me odd about the flavor of this slice, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It wasn't a bad flavor, exactly, but certainly distinctive and, well, just a bit unusual, even odd.
Maybe it's only that I'd just eaten the Main St. slice, which was rather sweet, and Ficarella's slice wasn't so sweet, so my tastebuds reacted to it differently. I wish I could convey it better than that. Words fail me, for which I apologize.
Whatever the flavor, I think it came from the sauce, which tends to be the wild card on pizza, since it can range from sweet to salty to acidic to herb-infused. That said, this wasn't a particularly sauce slice, with just a thin layer between the cheese and the crust.
The cheese on the Ficarella's slice was pretty thick, and while I like cheese, to me it seemed to throw the slice out of balance, as the cheese dominated the thin crust.
So, to recap: Main St. was OK, but not great, and not as good as I'd hoped. It earns a C+ on the strength of its dough. Ficarella's Pizzeria also had potential - it some ways the crust was more to my liking than Main St.'s, but I was a bit put off by the way it broke apart, and that flavor left me scratching my head. I think it's clearly deserving of another shot sometime, but this one slice I'm giving a C.
Main St. Pizza Company, 206 E. Main St., Batavia (585) 343-0007
Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m.- midnight, Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 1 a.m., Sun. noon - midnight
Ficarella's Pizzeria, 21 Liberty St., Batavia (585) 343-5545
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - midnight, Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.
P.S. I ran across this discussion of "Batavia style pizza" here.