Certain places are on my radar screen for a long time before I get around to trying them. One such is The Retreat on Long Pond Road in Greece. It's primarily a bar, but it serves pizza, and I don't just mean microwave pizza, French bread pizza, or pizza on premade shells. This is house-made pizza, and so it deserved a visit.
Pizzas here come in "personal," medium (12 inches across) and large (half sheet) sizes. The menu lists a modest eight toppings. I picked up a medium pepperoni pizza.
The crust was about a half inch thick. The underside showed it to have been pan baked, in other words, allowed to rise on a pan and baked in the same pan. You can tell from the bubbly areas underneath. The golden brown color also indicates a pan-baked pizza.
Pan baking typically results in a softer bottom than a pizza baked directly on the oven deck, and that was true here. It was also just slightly oily to the touch. None of those attributes are defects, mind you - this comes down to a matter of individual taste - though I still generally like my pizza more crisp on the bottom.
It seemed to me that the crust also had a slightly sweet flavor. It could just be that it was made with relatively little salt, allowing the natural sweetness of the risen dough to come through more. It was slightly crumbly, which suggests a relatively high proportion of oil or other shortening in the dough.
The most outstanding feature of this pizza was its sauce. That's a little unusual, because in my experience the sauce is typically the least prominent of the three fundamental components of a pizza (the other two being the crust and the cheese). This sauce was thick but not dried out, rich and flavorful. Good sauce, and in good proportion to the thickness of the crust.
The cheese was slightly browned, and texturally was at a cross between smoothly melted and congealed. I'm guessing it was part-skim cheese, as it did not have a particularly rich texture. The pepperoni had a nice, meaty, spicy flavor.
The Retreat offers a full range of food, from standard bar fare like wings and quesadillas to barbequed ribs, NY strip steaks, and pasta dishes. The centerpiece of the interior is a large, rectangular bar, similar to the one on Cheers, which The Retreat openly compares itself to.
Situated right next door to Pizzeria Americana, and just a few doors down from Russo's Clubhouse Pizza, The Retreat is unlikely ever to become a pizza destination in its own right. But this wasn't bad, particularly for bar pizza, which all too often is nothing but a dry, frozen crust with a few toppings slapped on. This was average pizza, nothing wrong with it, but nothing special, and I'll give it a C.
The Retreat, 512 Long Pond Road, Greece. 227-9100
Mon. - Sat. 4 p.m. - 2 a.m., Sun. noon - midnight