Monday, April 4, 2011
Brandani's Buffalo Chicken Pizza
It was only a matter of time before I tried the version served up by Brandani's on West Henrietta Road, which is one of my favorite local pizzerias, mostly for its consistently delicious, thick, bready crust.
I was especially intrigued when I was perusing Brandani's menu one day and saw that their Buffalo chicken pizza included celery - according to the menu, the pizza is layered with a blue cheese base, marinated chicken and mozzarella, topped off with celery, so it includes "everything but the bones!" It's not that I'm such a huge fan of celery, but this sounded unlike any other Buffalo chicken pizza I'd had before.
And it was, even if it wasn't quite what I expected. The slice was indeed covered with a blue cheese sauce. That alone differentiated this from the other Buffalo chicken pizzas I've tried, which have come with either tomato or hot sauce. In fact, a lot of Buffalo chicken pizzas don't seem to have any blue cheese at all.
There was, however, no celery that I could detect. Maybe if you order a whole pie, they add some diced or sliced celery after it comes out of the oven, and maybe the thinking is that celery wouldn't hold up well on a lunchtime pie, which has to sit out for some time. But I was a little disappointed by that.
This was a pretty greasy slice of pizza. There was an oil slick at the bottom of the box, and some pooled grease on the top of the slice as well. But hey, whaddaya want with Buffalo chicken? We're not talking salad here.
The crust, though not oil-soaked, was also a little more greasy than I've come to expect from Brandani's. But again that's not a total shocker when you consider the toppings. Not only will the bits of fried chicken add some grease, but you've got that blue cheese sauce to contend with as well.
The sauce was like a thick dressing in consistency, though it may have thinned out a little, or separated into its oil- and water-based components in the heat of the oven. It was not just a blue cheese-flavored sauce, as there were small chunks of blue cheese noticeable throughout.
They were interspersed with larger chunks of breaded chicken, and of course, there was some hot sauce present. Unlike some Buffalo chicken pizzas, though, the hot sauce provided more of a flavor accent than a dominant theme, making the overall flavor profiled something like a lightly-sauced wing doused in blue cheese sauce. All that was missing, then, were the bones and the celery. I'm not sure that I would've liked this any better with celery - maybe not, actually - but it would've been nice to find out.
Of course, unlike when eating actual wings, here you've got the addition of Brandani's crust. Though not as wonderfully crisp and flavorful as on some of Brandani's pizzas, this one still had a bit of crispness, and it remained nice and breadlike inside - beautifully risen dough with large air holes, giving it the great internal structure (or "crumb," in breadspeak) that is a hallmark of Brandani's pizza.
For my second slice, I could've opted for another, new-to-me variety from among Brandani's impressive lunchtime lineup, but the primavera slices, which I've reviewed before, looked too good to resist. It had a crisper crust, topped with finely chopped tomatoes, herbs and grated Romano. Simple but delicious.
I'll stick with my plan of not rating these Buffalo chicken pizzas. Not enough personal experience of them, plus they differ so widely from each other that I'm not at all sure a rating would be much help. I'll just say that if you like a lot of blue cheese with your wings, then Brandani's version is for you. If you're more into the hot sauce than the blue cheese, then this might not be your best bet, though you could always order wings from Brandani's along with one of their other pizzas. Either way, Brandani's should be on local pizza lovers' radar.
Brandani's Pizza, 2595 W. Henrietta Rd. 272-7180
Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sun. 12 noon - 7 p.m.