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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pizza King, Dansville

In February 2012, I did a post about a place that I discovered in Belmont, Billy G's. You can read the full story at that post, but it turned out that there was a connection between Billy G's, The Pizza Stop, Joe's Brooklyn Pizza, Giovanni's and Pizza King in Hornell, and Pizza King in Wellsville. All of which make great New York style pizza, thanks in large part to the tutelage of Giovanni's owner, Bill Giovanniello.
Anyway - earlier this year, Billy G's moved to Dansville, and reopened as Pizza King. (I'm told that his former location in Belmont is now a non-pizza restaurant.) I'm down that way from time to time, so I made a mental note to stop in.
Which I did recently, following a hike here. And though I'm sad for the people of Belmont, their loss is Dansville's gain, as Pizza King is serving up some very fine pizza.
There are only so many ways to describe a good slice of NY style pizza, so I may find myself repeating what I've said about many of the places mentioned above, but we're talking here about a thin crust, crisp on the bottom, pliable enough to fold, and with a nice chew on the inside. The bottom wasn't quite charred, but was a medium brown, and dry to the touch.
As for the the toppings, the cheese was just slightly on the thick side, but not enough to throw things out of balance. It was processed mozzarella, nicely melted into a uniform coat. The sauce was reminiscent of slices I've had in the City, marked by a balance of sweetness, saltiness, and herbs, with a bright tomatoey flavor underneath it all.
Thin-sliced pepperoni lay atop it all. The pepperoni and cheese exuded a bit of grease, but not overly so, and about what I would expect from a NY style pepperoni slice. (Within reason, a little oiliness on top can actually enhance the sensory experience, as fat helps transmit flavor to your tongue. It's oil on the bottom that I dislike, and these had a nice, dry underside.)
My one quibble with these slices is the application of the toppings - the pepperoni was unevenly distributed toward the outer edge, while the area nearer the tips (i.e. the center of the pie from which they came) were devoid of pepperoni. And to really nitpick, the sauce and cheese at a couple of spots extended out all the way to, and even slightly beyond, the outer edge of the crust. But that's a matter of esthetics more than anything else.
You can see Pizza King's menu here, so I won't recite it all. I will note that their slices start at a very reasonable $1.65 (plus tax), and that they maintain what I understand to be the most widely agreed-upon distinction between calzones and strombolis, which is that the former contain ricotta in addition to mozzarella, and are served with sauce on the side, while the latter have sauce inside, but no ricotta. They also do wings and tacos.
As for these slices, I'm giving them an A-minus. I've mostly stayed away lately from pluses and minuses, but I think it's appropriate here. These were excellent slices, deserving of better than a B, but I've gotta knock off a style point or two for the uneven distribution of pepperoni, and the slight overhang of the cheese along the outer lip. Pretty inconsequential matters, yes, and they didn't detract from from my overall enjoyment of these slices, but enough to keep them from attaining absolute perfection.
Make no mistake, though, if I'm in the Dansville area, I'm stopping at Pizza King. I'll probably stop at Dansville's other pizzerias sometime for an update, as well. But Pizza King is on my go-to list.
Pizza King, 160 Main St., Dansville

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