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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

All Star Pizza Buffalo Chicken Pizza

All Star Pizza on Urbanspoon
Early on in the course of this blog, I was particularly keen to search out purveyors, actual or claimed, of New York style pizza. That led me to visit All Star Pizza in Penfield back in March 2009. The cheese pizza that I had on that occasion wasn't spectacular, but it was good enough to rate an above-average B-minus.
Lately I've been trying to sample Buffalo chicken pizzas, mostly because it's a very popular style in these parts. I'm not a huge fan of the style - I like wings, but I'd rather eat them separately from my pizza - but it's enjoyable now and again, and it is interesting to see different pizzerias' takes on this type of pizza.
Recently, I went back to All Star to check out their version. I ordered a small Buffalo chicken pie.
The crust was very thin, and as before, it was screen baked. The underside was dark brown overall, with some light char spots near the center, and paler near the edge. The bottom was slightly oily, nothing too bad though. The edge was considerably thicker, nice and bready, and nearly blackened in a few places.
The pie was topped with what appeared to be  ground chicken, rather than the chunks of chicken I've found at most other places. Naturally, then, the chicken wasn't breaded. The pizza had a vague aroma of frying oil, which is not such a bad thing in this case, since we are talking about Buffalo chicken.
The thin layer of sauce was spicy and a little oily. Visually, it could've passed for tomato sauce, and in fact I'd wager that there was some tomato sauce in there. I could be wrong, but it struck me as either a blend of hot and tomato sauces, or possibly tomato sauce topped with hot-sauce-laden chicken. There was some definite heat, but it tended to lurk in the background rather than assault the senses. (Interestingly, I seemed to notice the heat, and the distinctive Buffalo wing sauce flavor, more the next day when eating the cold leftover pizza.)
The mozzarella was also applied somewhat thinly, but in proportion to the crust; in fact, the cheese layer was probably about as thick as the crust itself. It, too, was on the oily side (you can see the oily sheen in the bottom photo), but that's typical of this style.
I didn't notice any blue cheese, making this more akin to a spicy chicken pizza than what I would expect of a Buffalo chicken pizza. Again, I'm guessing a bit here, but it seemed to me that a thin layer of tomato sauce had been applied, then the cheese, and finally sauteed ground chicken that had been tossed in wing sauce.
I'll reiterate that I am not rating Buffalo chicken pizzas. Ratings are only useful if the things being rated are at least broadly comparable, and there's such a wide variation among Buffalo chicken pizzas that I can't see how it would be of much help to rate them. I wouldn't just be rating the execution, but the concept, based inevitably on my subjective preferences (who's to say what's better - a pizza with a hot-sauce base, like this one, or with a blue cheese base, like Brandani's?).
But I will say that for what this was, it wasn't bad. You might prefer chunkier chicken, or the addition of blue cheese to give you a more authentic "wing" flavor, but that's a matter of taste. From as objective a standpoint as I can muster, this pizza was reasonably good, with no particular flaws to speak of. So if the idea of a spicy pizza topped with ground chicken appeals to you, this one's for you.
All Star Pizza, 1628 Penfield Rd. (across from Panorama Plaza) 385-2244
Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m.- 9 p.m.

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