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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bella Pasta Review and $25 Gift Card Giveaway

I learned a few weeks ago that Romeo's on Ridgeway Avenue, a wood-fired place that I've reviewed before, had closed, and that Bella Pasta had moved into its space.
Bella Pasta is not new; it opened in March 2009 on West Ridge Road in Greece, and its roots go back to the fondly remembered Portico restaurant on St. Paul Boulevard in Rochester. I reviewed Bella Pasta's pizza in December 2009, giving it "a solid B+."
This move does give Bella Pasta more room, with a large dining room on one side and additional seating adjacent to the spacious bar on the other. More importantly from my perspective, Bella Pasta is now using the wood-fired oven for its pizza.
I had lunch there recently with two friends, and was able to sample three pies. I was not in a carnivorous mood that day, so I went with a "veggie" pie. I opted out of the mushrooms, which left artichokes, onions, peppers, and broccoli, along with garlic sauce and mozzarella. One of my companions got a "meat lovers," with meatballs, pepperoni, and sausage, and the other got a pepperoni pie.
The crusts were dotted underneath with dark brown spots, indicating a quick bake at a high, but not super-high temperature. So these weren't quite charred, in the way you'd get from an extremely hot oven (which not everybody likes), but neither were they burnt or pale, two faults I've run across at some wood-fired places. The crusts were pliable, with a chewy but not tough texture and a pleasantly bready flavor.
I found my veggie pizza quite flavorful and satisfying, thanks to the tasty mix of vegetables, which were fresh tasting and not overcooked. Where a red sauce might've overwhelmed the flavor of the toppings, the garlic sauce on this pie complimented the toppings nicely.
At the other end of the spectrum, the meat lovers' pie offered plenty of meaty flavor. While the toppings were certainly not skimpy, the pie was - wisely - not overloaded either. Like most wood-fired pizza, Bella Pasta's pies are thin-crusted, and the toppings here were added in good proportion to the crust - enough for flavor, but not so much as to throw the pizza out of balance.
I also tried a slice of my friend's pepperoni pie, which was likewise tasty, with a scattering of crisp pepperoni slices and a light dusting of grated Parmesan. Both it and the meat lovers' pie were also topped with a tomatoey red sauce, and the mozzarella on all three pizzas was nicely melted, with a good balance of stringy and chewy.

So yes, these were three good pizzas. But don't just take my word for it, see for yourself, on the house. I've got one $25 gift card, compliments of Bella Pasta, to give away to one lucky reader.

In the past, I've had readers enter by leaving a comment on the blog, but there have been some problems with winners not realizing that they'd won. So to ensure that the winner gets notified, I'm going to try something a little different this time. To enter, email me at Leaving a comment here will NOT get you entered; you must email me. One entry per person, please. The deadline to enter is next Friday, January 30, at noon. I'll pick a winner at random shortly after that, and email the winner directly. If you win, I'll need your full name and mailing address, but I will not publish those or use them for any other purpose but to mail you your gift card.

Thanks to Bella Pasta for this generous donation. Whether you win or not, do check them out sometime, for pizza or otherwise. And when you do, please be sure to mention the Rochester NY Pizza Blog. Now send me those emails!

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