Friday, May 4, 2012
Back to Acme
After I gave Acme Bar and Pizza a B-minus back in November 2009, I got several responses saying that their pizza deserves a better grade, and that I should try it again. And it has been a long time, so a return visit was overdue, and I went back recently.
I got a medium cheese pizza. The crust was super thin - about 3/32nds of an inch thick, on average (the quarter in the middle photo will serve as a reference point). The bottom was dry and quite pale, and the slices were very supple. There was a small amount of corn meal underneath.
The sauce was thinly applied, though in proportion to the very thin crust. I spotted a lot of dried herbs, and to some extent they were noticeable on my palate.
The cheese was pretty good, a nicely melted layer of shredded mozzarella, without much exuded oil, which I took as a sign of high-quality cheese.
This pizza was broadly in the New York style, at least in appearance, but aside from its thinness, the crust was not typical of a true NY pizza. Way too pale, and lacking in both crispness and breadiness.
I don't want to get hung up on taxonomy, but you could, I suppose, call this "bar pizza." In a literal sense, it is just that, of course, but stylistically, if there truly is a subspecies of American pizza that falls under the heading of bar pizza, that term generally refers to a pie that's not only thin (so as not to be too filling), but very crisp and crackly or crunchy, and maybe a bit oily. That's probably because most bars don't have true pizza ovens, or the time and wherewithal to make fresh pies, using pizza peels, so when they do make pizza, it usually involves baking a pie on an oiled pan in an ordinary commercial oven.
This pie certainly had the thinness part down, but not the crisp/crunchy/crackly part. And it wasn't oily, which was fine with me.
Not that it's not particularly important to me whether a pizza fits some preconception of what it "ought" to be like in order to fit within the parameters of a given style. I do have certain criteria of my own that I look for, and I know what I like and don't like. Categories can be useful to help explain what a pizza is like, and so I mention this just to say that this pie didn't really conform to either NY style or the bar-pizza paradigm.
But in the end, what matters is, was it good or not? Well, I like crisp crusts, and this just wasn't crisp. Some places make their pizza this way on purpose, so that when somebody orders a slice, they can reheat it and crisp it up. But I didn't order a slice, I ordered a pie. I don't know about anybody else, but I like my pizza crisper than this. And I like it a little more well done underneath.
Having said that, this did taste good, and that's not nothing. I had no problem slurping down several slices at one sitting.
But this could've been better. The fact that some readers have said that they got great pizza from Acme means that either their likes and dislikes are much different from mine, or that Acme is inconsistent. And inconsistency is not good for any pizzeria.
I'm not going to say that I disliked this pizzeria, but given that pale, soft crust, which lacked any sort of bready qualities, I can't say it was above average either. So it gets a C from me.
Acme Bar & Pizza, 495 Monroe Ave., Rochester, NY 14607
Mon. - Fri. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sat. & Sun. noon - 2 a.m.