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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dontonio's, Avon

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I don't find myself in Avon a whole lot, but I managed twice in the past month to stop at Dontonio's, a pizzeria on the eastern edge of town on Rts. 5 and 20, right next to Tom Wahl's.
The first time around, I got a couple of pepperoni slices, which was the only thing available on my midday visit. They were "normal" size, and pretty fresh out of the oven, though they did get a quick reheating.
The crust was thin, with a  crackly, bumpy underside. It was not dark, but there were a few small char spots, and it was dry to the touch.
The edge of the crust was especially crackly. On one slice, it broke off from the rest of the slice entirely. The interior, though, was on the chewy side, in a good way. I liked the contrast between the exterior crunch and the interior chewiness.
These were reasonably tasty slices, with a well balanced mix of slightly browned mozzarella, a middle-of-the-road tomatoey sauce, and a bit of spicy kick from the pepperoni. Nothing particularly remarkable there, but they worked well together and were added in good proportion to the crust.
After that good experience, I was looking forward to trying a full pie from Dontonio's, which I did a couple of weeks later. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't quite as good as the slices, I'm afraid.
The crust on this pie was quite thin, but the edge was very thick. The underside was dry and firm, but not really crisp. I found the dough nice and bready, but it seemed a bit bland. Though the underside showed some dark brown spots, it didn't have the toasty flavor or aroma that I look for in a crust. The flavor brought to mind a loaf of bread that was baked at a relatively low oven temperature, giving it a nice texture but not the complex flavors that develop at high temps.
The toppings were also on the mild side. As I often do, I got a plain cheese pizza, which best allows you to see what a pizzeria's pies are really like, so I wasn't expecting that much in the way of flavor, but even taking that into consideration, the sauce and cheese didn't do much to lift the overall flavor profile. The thin layer of sauce added some mild tomato flavor, but not much else. There was a faint hint of oregano, though I couldn't tell if that came from the sauce itself or from a sprinkling of the dried herb.
The cheese on this pie was perhaps the most dominant component, but more because of its quantity than its flavor. It was melted juuust to the point where it was beginning to brown, which is about where I like it, but it too seemed rather bland. Even processed mozzarella sometimes has a certain tanginess to it, but this cheese added more texture than flavor; the addition of a slightly sharper cheese, even just a little provolone or a sprinkling of Romano, would've been welcome. I also wondered if this was part skim cheese, as it was congealed but not particularly smooth or stringy. It had exuded some orangey oil in the oven, so I'm not sure.
Dontonio's offers pizza in 9-, 12-, and 16-inch sizes, plus sheet pizzas, with your choice of 16 toppings. Their only specialty pizza is a chicken wing pie. They also do wings, calzones, subs, salads, and fried sides.
I don't mean to sound overly critical of this pizza. It was OK. But perhaps after liking my slices, I was expecting more from the pie. And frankly, my family wasn't crazy about the pie, which I brought home for dinner, so that probably made me scrutinize it a little more closely than I otherwise would have.
In retrospect, I think the slices benefited from being reheated, which made the crust crisper and the cheese a little browner (and more flavorful) and from the pepperoni, which added some kick. Maybe if I'd simply asked that my pie be "well done," and gotten some extra toppings, I would've liked it more.
And though it's a cliche to say that a dish tastes OK, but could use salt, in fact I think that might've been the case here. The crust tasted to me like bread made with very little salt, and neither the sauce nor the cheese tasted of salt either. I'm not a salt fiend, but a little sodium chloride does have a way of perking up the taste buds.
On the plus side, the dough did have some nice bready qualities, and though it was on the bland side, the outer crust, or "bones," made for good dipping into my homemade hot sauce. And it was a well made, well balanced pizza. I liked my slices better than the pie, but even the pie was all right, and I'm going to average them out to a C+.
Dontonio's Pizzeria, 303 East Main St., Avon
Tel.:  226-3290
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - midnight

1 comment:

  1. I agree that they tend to be inconsistent. I've had great pizza a couple times, and I've had pretty bad pizza other times. I don't live in Avon (my parents do) so I don't go there very frequently, but I'd say your review is right on target.