Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Distillery, Mt. Hope Ave.
Continuing my occasional series of reviews of bar pizzas, today takes us to the Distillery on Mt. Hope Ave. The Distillery is more than a bar, of course - it has a very long menu, and plenty of people go there to eat, not to drink - but it's certainly not a pizzeria, either, and I'd say this pizza falls into the general category of bar pizza.
Except for those places that have dedicated pizza ovens or otherwise specialize in pizza, most bars around here don't turn out particularly good pizza. There are bars that make good pizza, of course, but most don't, in my experience. So I can't say I was expecting much, but I tried to keep an open mind.
I ordered a tomato & basil pizza, which sounded roughly like a Margherita, topped with tomato slices, red onions, tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and fresh basil. All of the Distillery's pizzas are available on a "traditional" (white) or whole wheat 10-inch crust, and I opted for the white.
The crust was pretty thin, not very bready, but a little crunchy, with a golden-brown underside. It wasn't what I would call well integrated, by which I mean that it seemed more like a cooked flatbread with toppings added, than a pizza where the crust and toppings are all baked together. I don't know if this crust was prebaked at all, but that's how it seemed to me.
The flavor was fine, nothing out of the ordinary but not bad. The cheese and sauce, both of which had been pretty generously applied, consisted of melted mozzarella, Parmesan, and a basic tomato sauce.
The Distillery's other pizza offerings include plain cheese, pepperoni, a white veggie pizza, Buffalo chicken, and a Mediterranean pizza, with grilled chicken, pine nuts, basil pesto, diced tomatoes, green onions, and Kalamata olives. And as I mentioned, the rest of the menu is lengthy, ranging from bar food (including wings that are among Rochester's best, at least at the original Mt. Hope location) to more substantial entrees like grilled sesame ahi tuna and sirloin steak. And there is a full bar, with a decent, if not overly impressive, draft beer selection.
As far as the atmosphere goes, the Distillery is a sports bar, make no mistake, with TV screens everywhere you look, but unless there's a big game on, most of the crowd is there to eat and drink, not to watch sports.
This was not bad pizza, but it's not a pizza I'm likely to order again, except perhaps as a shared appetizer. The flavor was pretty good, and a slice or two could be a good warmup or accompaniment to wings or other bar food. But as an entree, it didn't quite match up to some of The Distillery's other menu items, such as the aforementioned wings, or just a basic burger with fries. The crust just didn't wow me, and the components didn't come together as well as they could have. So while I wouldn't turn it down if you offered me a slice, I'll peg it at just below average, and give it a C-minus.
The Distillery, 1142 Mt. Hope Ave., Rochester 271-4105
Other locations at 300 Paddy Creek Circle, Greece, 3010 Winton Rd. South, Henrietta, and 10 Square Dr., Victor.
Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sun. noon - 2 a.m.