(This establishment is now closed)
Park Avenue in Rochester is home to several pizzerias. One of the more recent entrants is Little Park Ave Pizzeria, near the corner of Park and Oxford. It is in fact a little place, and the diminutive name has a certain symbiosis with the Half Pint Pub a couple of doors down. And since the Half Pint doesn't serve food, that symbiosis might extend beyond the names.
On a recent lunchtime visit to LPA, I got a cheese slice and a Buffalo chicken slice. (The other option was pepperoni.)
Both were thin, with a dark brown underside, criss-crossed by screen marks. The bottom was not crisp, but firm, and the slices were foldable, i.e., not floppy. The crust wasn't great, but it was serviceable, in other words, it was not bad and was a good-enough base for the toppings.
I usually love a basic cheese slice, but in this instance I preferred the Buffalo chicken slice. The cheese slice was OK at best. The cheese was a little browned, and sprinkled with dried herbs, among which the oregano stood out.
Some oil had exuded from the cheese. The sauce was thinly applied, which was reasonable given the thinness of the crust, but I found the sauce rather bland. This slice just seemed to be missing something. I would've liked a little more flavor or complexity from the crust, or cheese, or sauce. Aside from the dried herbs, there just wasn't much going on here.
Not surprisingly, the Buffalo chicken slice was more flavorful. It was topped with wing sauce, which was mild but had a little kick, and a distinctive flavor. A little less vinegary than your typical wing sauce, with the herbs playing a role too. Intriguing, and not bad.
Atop the sauce was scattered mozzarella and bits of breaded chicken. A spiral of blue cheese dressing added the right accent. The slice wasn't heavily laden with toppings, but the toppings were in balance with the thin crust.
Little Park Ave offers pizza in 10- and 16-inch sizes, with two dozen available toppings and ten specialty pizzas, including a mac-and-cheese pie and a signature house pie with red sauce, capicola, ham, mozzarella, Asiago, and fresh spinach. They also do an Italian-bread pizza, which is a foot-long sliced loaf of Italian bread topped with red sauce and cheese, and a flatbread Mexican pizza. Subs, soups and salads are also on the menu.
I've never graded Buffalo chicken slices, because it comes in so many ways that there is no benchmark for the style. I couldn't give this cheese slice a very good grade, but I don't want to just average the two slices out and slap a bad grade on Little Park Ave., because that might dissuade people from trying it. I liked the Buffalo chicken slice, and I'd like to try some of their other pizzas. So I'll just say that, for my taste, the cheese slice was not the greatest, but the Buffalo chicken slice was good enough to make me want to come back for more of LPA's other offerings. I'd encourage you to try it for yourself and let me and other readers know what you think.
Little Park Ave Pizzeria
371 Park Ave.
Mon. - Fri. noon - 11 p.m.
Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.