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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pizza Pi, University of Rochester

As college students return to school, I figured it would be a good time to review some of the options on and near the local campuses. I've covered most if not all of the RIT places before - check the RIT label on the left sidebar - so this week I'm covering two options for students at the University of Rochester.
We'll start at ground zero, in other words, right on campus. Pizza Pi is one option at The Commons, which is essentially a food court and your most likely option if you just want a quick lunch or bite to eat between classes.
I think colleges have been making an effort in recent years to improve their food offerings - if you (or your parents) are forking over $20 to $40,000 a year or more, it seems like the least they can do - so I was cautiously optimistic about Pizza Pi.
Alas, it was unfounded optimism. I arrived around noon, so I figured there'd be heavy turnover and fresh slices. And I guess my slice was pretty fresh. It just wasn't very good.
There were a few pies to choose from, cheese, pepperoni, I think a veggie pie and some specialty pie, but I went with a basic cheese slice.
The crust was thin, though not ultra thin. Its pale bottom was dotted with dark brown spots, obviously from the pan in which it had baked. I surmise that where there were holes in the pan, the dough was touching the oven deck, resulting in the heavy browning. Regardless, there was quite a contrast between those browned spots and the rest of the crust.
On the plus side, the crust wasn't oily, and it was actually a little crackled underneath, so it did have a bit of surface crispness. But that couldn't make up for the uninteresting crust, which, though not gummy, smacked of undercooked dough.
Up top, the cheese, like the underside, was dotted with brown spots. Unless you like your pizza well done, it was overcooked. When I bit into the slice, the cheese peeled off easily, like a thin layer of melted and cooled plastic.
The sauce was rather dried out, which made it difficult to properly evaluate its flavor, and there were a few granules of sprinkled cheese on top of everything. The slice was rounded out by a thin lip that was crunchy but uninteresting, with what I can best describe as a flat flavor.
Well. What can I say? The U of R is a fine school, its students pay pretty hefty tuition, and from what I've read, they've invested in some very good pizza ovens. And this is the best they can do?
Well, no, it's not. They can and should do better. It can't be that difficult. I think they owe their students better than this.
Before I finish, let me add that the server was very courteous and friendly. I wish every pizzeria server was that nice. So I had no problem with the staff.
But the pizza rates a D.
Pizza Pi, The Commons, University of Rochester
The Commons dining area is open 8:30 a.m. - midnight Mon. - Fri., and 11 a.m. - midnight on weekends. I'm not sure if Pizza Pi is open throughout those hours.

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