Monday, February 14, 2011
Bernunzio's Deli, Penfield
When the new Yellow Pages come out, I always check the pizza listings, to see if there's anything new in there. There are always a number of places that have been out of business for years (how do they stay listed so long?), but often I also discover one or two places that are new or that I hadn't been aware of before.
This year's discovery was Bernunzio's, a deli just off Penfield Road. This is a very easy place to miss, as it's not that visible from Penfield Road, and until I saw the Yellow Pages listing I'd never heard of it, nor would I have expected it to serve pizza, had I driven by it. But the menu on their website says that they serve pizza, so I had to check it out.
On my weekday lunchtime visit, there were some plain cheese and pepperoni slices available, sitting in a warmer. I got one pepperoni slice, which was pretty good sized, a quarter of a pie, measuring about six and a half inches along the side.
The slice had a soft crust with a golden brown underside. It was well risen, with big air holes inside, and the dough was reminiscent of a soft dinner roll.
There wasn't much sauce on top, although it's possible that it simply seemed that way because some of the moisture in the sauce had evaporated or soaked into the crust. But there wasn't much cheese either, which can only mean that there wasn't much to begin with. Of all the toppings, it was the pepperoni that really stood out, not because there was so much of it or because it had a particularly strong flavor, but because of the relative absence of sauce and cheese. Paying close attention, I could detect some some concentrated tomatoey notes in the background, along with a faint touch of herbs, but the pepperoni was really front and center.
Finishing off the slice was the outer edge, which was formed into a thick, puffy lip. It too was pretty soft-textured, although it did have a little outer chewiness, if not crispness.
Bernunzio's is a deli, of course, and it offers a full range of hot and cold subs, salads, and baked goods, as well as some pasta, basic groceries, and ice cream in season. They also do catering.
As for the pizza, well, I really wanted to like this one, I mean I love running across these little mom-and-pop places, but this didn't really do it for me. I don't know what a fresh, made-to-order pie from Bernunzio's would be like, but on the basis of this one slice, I wouldn't be inclined to go back there for pizza. A sub, some pasta, or an ice cream cone? Sure. In fact a couple of their specialty subs (the "Alex's" and "Michele's") sound downright mouth-watering, and I'm a sucker for Perry's ice cream too. But this slice of pizza was just too soft for me, and it also needed more sauce and cheese to counterbalance the thick, doughy crust. It wasn't bad, mind you, but I'd say it was a notch below average, so I'm giving it a C-.
Bernunzio's Deli, 745 Penfield Road, Penfield 14625
(entrance is on Colonial Village Road - look for the sign with the American flag on Penfield Road)
Mon. - Fri.: 7:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., Sat. 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sun. 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.