Colombini's, a pizzeria/deli on Chili Avenue. And somebody, I think, told me I should go back for one of their giant slices. So I went back.
On my first visit, there were two choices available, pepperoni and Buffalo chicken. Since they were quite large, I didn't really want one of each, and I opted for the Buffalo chicken. The Buffalo chicken pie looked fresher, plus I figured this would allow me to check out Colombini's take on this style, which I've been covering, off and on, for some time now.
The slice, which was briefly reheated before being given to me, was big and floppy, with an orangey-brown bottom that was pockmarked with a few bubbly craters. It wasn't really greasy, but there was clearly some oil present, which is not too unusual with Buffalo chicken pizza. As is often the case, it was hard to tell if the oil was in the dough to begin with, applied to the baking surface, or had just seeped down from the toppings.
The crust was reasonably firm, and a little crisp along the edge. I'm not quite sure why you see three different, distinct areas underneath in the photo - the craters, as I call them, the orange area on the right, and the dark brown area along the perimeter. The crater is where there was a bubble in the dough, but I'm not sure why there's such a clear differentiation between the orange and brown areas. Perhaps some oil did seep down from on top, and caused the crust to brown more in those areas.
There was a mix of cheeses on top, mozzarella and cheddar, I think, along with chunks of unbreaded, diced white meat. The base consisted of a thin, medium-hot sauce, with no tomato sauce.
On my second visit, I was told that no hot slices were available, though there were some wrapped Sicilian slices in the deli case. I got a couple of those, which I reheated for 10 minutes at 400 degrees in a toaster oven, directly on the rack.
These were pretty good. The bottom was rather pale, but reasonably crisp, with no oiliness. The reheating definitely helped in that regard.
The dough was nicely risen, and the crust had an airy texture with a bit of crunch underneath, but softer on top, where the water from the sauce had soaked in a bit. The edge was quite crisp, with a crunchy bite.
The slices were topped with an ample layer of thick tomato sauce and plenty of dried herbs. The only cheese was a generous sprinkling of grated Romano.
So in two visits, I did not try a basic cheese or pepperoni slice, but between the Buffalo chicken and the Sicilian pizzas, I preferred the latter. Partly that was because of the toppings - although I like wings, where pizza's concerned, I guess I'm more of a red-sauce-and-cheese guy than a hot-sauce-and-chicken guy, but I also liked the crust better. It was crisp and airy, but with enough substance to provide some bite and chewiness. And I liked the flavor - you can hardly go wrong with a good tomato sauce, Romano cheese, and herbs.
The Buffalo chicken slice was acceptable, but I found the crust too soft and oily for my taste. But the flavor wasn't bad.
The deli itself, just from what I saw, is also worth a stop. There is a nice selection of cold cuts to choose from, and they make their own bread. I haven't tried their wings, but they have gotten excellent reviews.
As has been my custom, I will not assign a rating to the Buffalo chicken pizza, since there is so much variation within that style, but the crust fell somewhere into the average category. The Sicilian slices could've been a little more done on the bottom, but all in all, I liked them, and I'll give them a B.
Colombini's Pizza & Deli, 3193 Chili Ave.
Hours: Sun. - Thu. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.