Wednesday, March 16, 2011
While pizza seems to be popping up on a lot of bar menus these days, and there's been a proliferation of wood-fired pizzerias around here in the past few years, it's still unusual to see wood-fired pizza offered at a casual sports bar, which is a pretty apt description of Shooters on Fairport Road. After one recent misfired attempt, I returned a few days ago to give their pizza a try.
While several of the menu options sounded tempting, I went with my usual Margherita, which is something of a default choice for me when trying wood-fired pizza. I like the relative simplicity of the style, which seems to fit well with the rustic, Old World nature of a wood-fired pizza.
Shooters' version came with regular, low-moisture mozzarella, and both tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes (I was asked if I wanted sauce, and said yes). The thin crust displayed some light charring, but was quite pliable; it definitely showed signs of having been baked in a wood-fired oven, but it was not heavily charred at all.
The crust did not have a lot of bite to it, except along the edge; it also didn't have much of an interior (again, excepting the edge), but it did have some nice toasty overtones, and it wasn't soggy or lifeless. As wood-fired crusts go, it was OK but not outstanding.
The cheese on this pizza was just a bit browned, well melted and quite stringy when it arrived, hot out of the oven. It was topped with sliced tomatoes, which were pretty flavorless (they are out of season, admittedly), similar to the forgettable slices that adorn many a sandwich these days. That made me glad I'd asked for tomato sauce, which at least gave the pizza some tomatoey flavor. It had a medium thick consistency and was moderately applied. The shreds of torn basil were not overly plentiful, but they did add some pleasant flavor accents.
I wouldn't call this a classic Margherita, more like a regular pizza with sliced tomatoes and basil, but that's OK. And while this wasn't the best wood fired pizza I've tried, it was far from the worst; I'd say it came in somewhere in the middle of the pack.
As I mentioned, Shooters has several specialty pizzas on the menu, and this was good enough to make me want to go back and try some others. Frankly I'd like to see them try something more simple and sparse, maybe a white pizza with a brushing of olive oil, some garlic, maybe a few olives, which I think could work well with this thin, supple crust.
I don't expect to see anything like that, though, as Shooters' pizza menu generally runs toward bold flavors and multiple toppings, with selections like a Clams Casino pizza (chopped clams, bacon, onion, bell peppers, red sauce, Romano and mozzarella) and an Andouille sausage pie with hot banana peppers. But some of those sound good too, and I expect to return sometime to give them a try. Until then, I'll give Shooters a B+.
Shooters Sports Bar & Grill, 1226 Fairport Rd. (Rt. 31F), Fairport. 385-9777
Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sun. noon - midnight