Certain things in life just go together, and baseball goes with hot dogs. I can't say I eat a lot of hot dogs, but when I go to a ball game, I almost always have a hot dog (brown mustard and sauerkraut, in case you were wondering).
But in the interests of thoroughness, I've wanted for some time to try the pizza at Frontier Field. Like a lot of ballparks these days, Frontier Field has boosted its food offerings. There's nothing particularly exotic or upscale--you won't find sushi or dry-aged steaks here--but you can get BBQ, roast beef sandwiches, and subs, in addition to more traditional fare like soft pretzels and nachos.
And there's pizza. I've held off trying it, for a couple of reasons. Number one, as I said, I generally go for hot dogs and maybe a bag of peanuts at a ball game. Number two, I figured it would suck. I assumed it would be convenience store-type pizza on a squishy, or crunchy/oily, premade crust.
But then I read that the dough comes from Di Paolo, one of Rochester's venerable Italian bakeries, and, anyway, I just figured it was time to suck it up and have pizza instead of a hot dog, in the interests of making this blog as thorough as possible. So when I attended a Red Wings game the other day, I got a slice.
On the whole, I was pleasantly surprised. And yet I have to give this slice a D. How can that be?
Let's start with the crust. The underside was heavily floured, and scored with screen marks. It was also quite pale, and soft. In terms of thickness, I'd call it thin to medium.
But I could tell that it was made from good dough. If you can imagine somebody being given very good bread or pizza dough and then cooking it at too low a temperature for too short a time, you'll have an idea of what this was like. It tasted good, and had a good, chewy texture, but it had been a disservice in the preparation and baking.
In contrast to the underdone bottom, the cheese was browned. I can see why the pizzamaker took this out of the oven when he did, given the brownness of the cheese. I could theorize, or speculate, about why the top would cook so much faster than the bottom, but for whatever reason, the top was fully cooked while the bottom still had a ways to go.
The flavor was pretty good. The cheese seemed to be all mozzarella, and though it was a little more brown than I would've liked, it wasn't hard or dried out.
The cheese also covered only a small portion of the slice; there was a large gap between the cheese and the outer edge. Either it hadn't been applied close to the edge, or it migrated during the baking process.
The sauce had good flavor, and was well balanced between tomatoey sweetness and tanginess. It did reach the border of the cornicione, but was dried out where it wasn't covered with cheese.
Finally, there's the price. I don't usually figure the price into my ratings, but $3.50 for this slice was too high to go unmentioned. I know everything at a sports venue (hot dogs included) is overpriced, but if I'm going to compare this slice to other pizza in our area, I think that deserves a mention.
So, this had the fundamental makings of good pizza, but it was poorly executed. I'm not blaming the person who made it - I'm sure he was following the instructions he'd been given, and was subject to the constraints of when to show up for work, turn on the oven, etc. But all in all, this was below average for local pizza, so I'm giving it--with some regret at what could have been--a D. For my next Red Wings game, I'm back to hot dogs.
Mama Mittsy's, Frontier Field
Open during Red Wings games