Tuesday, August 21, 2012
On a recent foray into Canandaigua, I got a medium pizza from Pizano's, which adjoins the Villager restaurant and the V Pub (you can read a little of the background here).
Pizano's menu advertises pizza dough that is "fresh and made hourly," which I don't think could possibly mean that they literally make a fresh batch of dough every hour, from scratch. Pizza dough isn't like coffee; you don't want to use it, or eat it, right after it's been made. Unbaked dough needs time to achieve optimal flavor and texture before it does in the oven. So my guess is that they mean that they bake pizzas at least hourly, so that if you get a slice, you know it hasn't been sitting there all day drying out under a heat lamp. But since I ordered a pie, the freshness of Pizano's slices wasn't a particular concern of mine.
This medium pepperoni pie had a thin crust, with a pale bottom that was firm but not crisp, and dry, not greasy. Though the bottom was pretty dry - which is a good thing - the top was a different story. It wasn't drenched in grease, but some areas were coated in a thin layer of orangey oil, which may have come from the cheese, the pepperoni, or both. Some of the oil had soaked into the top side of the crust, though not too deeply. I wasn't thrilled by the pale underside, but there was some nice breadiness near the edge, with some good-sized air holes created by the yeast.
Though the cup-and-char pepperoni was fine, the most prominent component here was the cheese. It had a tangy flavor, and very much predominated over the thin layer of mildly-flavored sauce. A light sprinking of grated cheese added to the overall cheesy flavor of this pizza.
Pizano's offers six specialty pizzas, including a "Tuscany Valley" pie topped with roasted red peppers, pepperoni, onions and Genoa salami. I think salami is an underused, underappreciated pizza topping that is well worth trying, if you haven't done so yet (but it's got to be good, hard salami, not the wimpy stuff that shows up on your average sub sandwich). They also do wings, calzones, sandwiches, salads, pasta, ribs, and (mostly fried) seafood. It's a pretty full menu of standards. They also do catering.
As for this pizza, I found myself liking it in spite, or because, of what seemingly should've been considered flaws. What I particularly liked about this pizza was its distinctiveness. It had a combination of flavors and textures that was subtly, yet definitely, different from other pizzas I've tried. And the overall flavor and texture, was, I thought, rather enjoyable. Somehow, the firm, chewy crust, the oil-slicked cheese, and the ever-so-slightly burnt pepperoni worked together, to make for a good pie.
I made a note, while eating this pizza, that despite its seeming flaws - the almost underdone crust being foremost among them - my impression at the time was that it deserved a B, with the caveat that this pizza would not be to everyone's taste. If you demand a pizza with a crisp, crackly crust, you might be inclined to give it a D. But I do prize distinctiveness among pizza, and to me, this is one to at least try. So I'm sticking with my initial impression, and giving it a B.
Pizano's Pizza, 243 S. Main St., Canandaigua
Open 10 a.m. - midnight daily