I don't always stop into pizzerias shortly after they've opened, because sometimes they need some time to get their act together. But I was eager to check out Aunt Rosie's, which opened in November on East Main Street in downtown Rochester.
Aunt Rosie's offers brick-oven pizza, antipasto, pasta, hot and cold sandwiches, and desserts. Of course, I was there for one thing only.
When I stopped in, a little before noon, there were two sliced pies available, cheese and pepperoni. I got two pepperoni slices, to go. Had I been there with companions, I would've eaten on the premises, which are attractive, with large windows and a contemporary, comfortable feel.
My slices were quite thin, with a nice-looking spinkling of cup-and-char pepperoni on top. The underside was very blackened, with a crackled, blistered surface and a very noticeable toasted-bread aroma. The crust wasn't quite burnt, but it came right up to the line.
This was a crust that might divide people. It was a shade too blackened for my taste, but with a thin crust, I'd rather err on the side of over-, rather than under-done. So I didn't mind, much.
The crust was a little dry, and was firm but supple; it wasn't brittle, and could be folded without breaking. All in all, I liked it.
The other components were good and in balance with the crust. The cheese had a smooth texture, if not a lot of flavor; it seemed to me to be entirely composed of aged mozzarella. Similarly, the tomato sauce was straightforward in flavor but was applied in good proportion, just enough to add some moisture and acidity. And the pepperoni slices were nicely crisped along the edge. No one topping stood out from the rest, which is the sign of a well-balanced pizza.
The obvious emphasis here was the crust. Each bite brought with it that marked flavor and aroma of dark-toasted bread. It seemed like a ramped-up version of New York style pizza, which is typically thin and charred underneath.
This was good pizza, in my opinion, though whether you would like it depends on your taste in pizza. It brought to mind, though, some food trends in this country toward extremism. For example, "killer" hot sauces, mouth-puckeringly bitter beers, and the like. Whatever your opinions about those, extremism generally doesn't work with pizza, at least as far as the crust goes. "Artisanal" pizza is a trend these days, and a charred crust is associated with artisanal pizza. I like a well-charred crust as much as the next guy, but this came close to being simply burnt. It's a fine line, but this came close to the line.
Close, but not quite there. Good pizza, overall, and worth a stop, for sure. Since Aunt Rosie's just opened, I won't give it a grade, but I'll be back. But consider it if you're downtown. And do check out their Facebook page for daily specials.
Aunt Rosie's, 350 E. Main St.
Mon. - Fri. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.