Friday, July 17, 2015
Pizzeria FAVO, Monroe Ave., PIttsford
Pizzeria FAVO opened last month in Pittsford Colony Plaza, on the northeast side of Monroe Avenue, across from Pittsford Plaza.
FAVO is among the first local examples of what I'm guessing is an emergent trend, or actually a combination of two trends: fast-casual pizzerias that use a gas flame, to mimic wood-fired pizza.
That sounds like something I would dislike, just on grounds of principle. But ultimately the end product is what counts, and this was good pizza.
At FAVO, you order at the counter, and in a few minutes you pick it up a little further down the line. There you'll see the Italian-made oven, which utilizes a gas flame and a rotating deck.
My Margherita came up quickly, in just a few minutes. It displayed a somewhat unevenly baked edge, with some charring, and not-quite-charred blistering along the other. The underside was firm, but not crackly crisp (that's not a criticism, just a description). The bottom was slightly dusted with either corn meal or semolina; whatever it was, there was too little of it, and it was too finely ground, for me to identify it.
One issue I have with some places these days, using open flames, is that the edge gets charred, but the underside remains pale. It's easy enough to get some blackened blistering along the edge, if you expose the edge of the pie to a flame for a few seconds. It creates a nice appearance, but with a thin-crust pizza baked in a high-temperature oven, I'd like to see some "leopard spotting" on the bottom as well.
The crust here was browned underneath, but not spotted. I don't want to make too much over some sort of pizza-snobbish criteria ("charred - check"; "spotted - check"), but I'll confess to being mildly irritated about a crust that's blackened along the edge, but not underneath. It seems to be done more for appearance's sake than anything else.
Having said all that, this crust was enjoyable. It lacked the toasty, slightly smoky notes of a great wood-fired crust, but it was bready, a bit chewy, and thin but not paper thin.
The toppings were good as well, both on my and my companion's pies. On my Margherita, a thin layer of tomato sauce was layered with slices of fresh tomato, melted rounds of fresh mozzarella, and a smattering of torn basil. One of my companions found the sauce a bit metallic; I thought it was acidic, in a tomatoey way, but maybe that's just a case of us coming up with two different adjectives for the same thing. But it was not a sweet sauce.
My friends both liked their pies. The pepperoni pie was a well balanced take on an American standard. My other friend's Paesano was very tasty, with a light layer of tomato sauce, topped with processed mozzarella, sliced sausage, mushrooms and tender, sweet grilled onions.
We got there relatively early, right around noon, and initally had the place almost to ourselves, though the crowd started to pick up quickly shortly thereafter. Service was efficient, and the manager seemed to be on top of things, making sure that everything ran smoothly.
FAVO's website doesn't seem to be fully up yet, although I did find an image of their menu on Yelp. They offer seven "classic" pizzas, and six "specialty" pizzas (I'm not quite sure how some of them ended up in one category or the other), and a very reasonably priced "build your own" option, which includes a choice of sauce, crust ("traditional" or "ancient grains"), cheese, meat, and unlimited veggie toppings for $8.95. They also offer gluten-free crust for an additional $2.50. There are a few salads on the menu, as well as self-serve gelato.
Pizzeria FAVO's menu states that they are "inspired by the spirit and traditions of classic brick-oven pizzerias from Naples, Italy to New York City." That's probably a good way to put it. This is an Americanized, neo-Neapolitan pizza, suited to the fast-casual format and at a relatively low price. For what they're doing here, I'd say they're doing a good job.
To grade, or not to grade? With new places, I often hold off on assigning grades. But having sampled three pies, and given its standardized procedures (which presumably result in some consistency), I feel safe in giving Pizzeria FAVO a B. I can't say it's among the very best I've tried in our area, but I was pretty pleased with it, as were my companions, so I do think it's worth checking out.
Pizzeria FAVO, 3400 Monroe Ave. (Pittsford Colony, opposite Pittsford Plaza)
11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily