Copper Grill opened on Hudson Avenue in the former Irondequoit Ale House space. It joins the list of local bars and restaurants serving pizza. I had lunch there recently.
There are several pizzas on the menu at Copper Grill, plus thirteen additional toppings to choose from if you'd like to create your own. I was torn between a straightforward pepperoni pie and the Margherita. I generally go with the latter at places with a wood-fired oven or that otherwise advertise "artisanal" pizza, but stick with the former at basic, American-style joints. Copper Grill doesn't use a wood-fired pizza or make any particular claims about its pizza, but at the last second I decided to go with a Margherita anyway.
My personal-size pie had a medium thick crust, with a pale, screen-baked bottom. The crust was soft and chewy, right through to the edge.
While some Margheritas use either tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes, this had both. The sauce, which is said to be homemade, was mild tasting and pleasant, but the thick tomato slices were pale and bland. There will come a day, I'm sure, when flavorful fresh tomatoes are widely available and reasonably cheap. But we're not there yet.
The menu describes this pizza as topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, and while I'm not questioning that, this cheese seemed to me almost like a cross between fresh and processed (a/k/a aged or low-moisture) mozzarella. It had some of the soft, almost creamy texture of the fresh variety, but was a little chewier and had a more yellowish tone than I expect from 100% fresh mozzarella. A dusting of grated cheese added some additional flavor.
Basil's another one of those things that varies widely from one Margherita to the next. This one used fresh shredded basil, which looked as if it had been added at or near the end of the baking, as it was still pretty green. That's a good way to go, I think - add it to soon and it just gets dried out and burnt, and the shredding, while it may result in a less visually appealing pie than one with whole leaves, probably releases more aroma.
One unusual addition here was the thin slices of red onion. It's not a common topping on Margheritas, but it wasn't unwelcome, as I generally like onions on my pizza, and the flavor complemented those of the other toppings.
Besides the Margherita, Copper Grill offers pepperoni, Buffalo chicken, and Mediterranean (white) pizza, plus cheese pizza and a variety of toppings. The menu's pretty lengthy, and ranges from standard bar fare like burgers and sandwiches to pasta, steaks, fish and barbeque, as well as desserts. There's a rectangular bar on one side, with seating along the walls and in front, facing Hudson Ave., and TVs all around. The overall atmosphere is casual and a bit generic, but give it some time.
This pizza was not all that bad, as bar/restaurant pizza goes, but I wouldn't call it a classic Margherita, or especially great pizza. The soft crust was the biggest downer for me, and the flavorless tomato slices didn't help. I'd come back here, if I were looking for basic bar food, but I don't think I'd order the pizza again. I'll give this a C-minus.
Copper Grill, 2256 Hudson Ave.,
Irondequoit 14617. 270-4466
11 a.m. - 2 a.m. daily