Three years between visits is long enough for any pizzeria, and so I recently decided to pay a return visit to Salvatore's, which I hadn't been to since April 2009, shortly after I started writing this blog. I don't go out of my way to try chain pizzerias, but if they're local chains, I will check them out. And even with some 23 locations (if I counted right), Salvatore's is still pretty much a Rochester area chain.
On my prior visit, to the East Main Street location, I faulted my slice mainly for being bland. It had a very crunchy exterior and a very soft, almost too soft, interior. I gave it a C.
This time, I stopped by Salvatore's at another city location, on Mt. Read Boulevard. My "slice" (a quarter of a pie, cut down the middle) was pretty thick - about 5/8" for the crust - with a pancake-like bottom, meaning that there were dark brown spots where the dough was in direct contact with the cooking surface (a pan of some sort, I suppose), and other lighter-colored spots where it had bubbled up. It was not greasy, though I did detect a faint scent of cooking oil. The underside was slightly crisp, the edge more so.
The sauce on this slice had a thick consistency, with a cooked-tomato flavor. It was reminiscent of tomato paste - not because it was made from tomato paste, but when much of the moisture from tomato sauce has evaporated, you're going to end up with something that is like tomato paste.
The cheese, which seemed to be all mozzarella, was well browned, and easily peeled away from the crust. It was a little overdone, for my taste.
This pizza was somewhat different from the one I had back in '09. The crust wasn't as airy as that one, and the underside, though not oily, had a bit more of a "fried" aroma and appearance.
I wasn't crazy about this pizza, but that doesn't mean I'm done with Salvatore's. I see from their online pizza menu that they do a "Thin-Thin" pizza that I'm curious to try. Salvatore's also now offers gluten-free pizza, which I don't plan to try, but I know some people do look for it.
This wasn't a great slice of pizza, in my estimation. I don't mean to bash Salvatore's - I mean, there must be a lot of people who like their pizza - but I would describe this as a little better than convenience store pizza, which it rather resembled. There were no glaring faults, but there were several minor ones, from the less than stellar crust to the overbaked cheese to the dried-out tomato sauce. I have to give this one a D.
Salvatore's, 433 Mt. Read Blvd., Rochester
Sun. noon - 9:05 p.m., Mon. - Thu. 7:05 a.m. - 9:05 p.m., Fri. 7:05 a.m. - 10:05 p.m., Sat. 10:05 a.m. - 10:05 p.m.