Thanks to a reader, I became aware of a recently opened pizzeria on Thurston Road in Rochester, Big Jay's. It occupies a small storefront in a building that houses a few other small businesses.
On my way home from work recently I stopped in for a couple of slices. Since I wasn't going to eat them immediately, I didn't have them rewarmed.
Perhaps I should have. The slices weren't bad, but they were underdone. The bottom, which was crisscrossed by screen marks, was pretty pale, with just some light browning. The crust was thin, with a thicker cornicione about an inch wide. The underside was firm but not crisp, with a trace of oil near the tips of the slices, i.e., near the center of the pie.
On top, the mozzarella was melted but a bit coagulated, meaning that it tended to pull apart, rather than melt together.
Sauce often takes a back seat to the crust and cheese, but not so here. The sauce had a medium-thick consistency, and was generously applied. I found it a little more sweet than I'd like, but that may just come down to a matter of personal taste.
Getting back to the crust, this was one of those crusts that made me think of how much better it could've been. The crust was not too interesting, until I worked my way to
the edge. The cornicione had a fresh, bready aroma, and a chewy texture, with air
holes spread uniformly throughout.
I wish that the rest of the crust had been as good. It seemed underdone, not like raw dough, but more like dough that had been baked at a relatively low temperature. Flabby and uninteresting.
I saved one slice, and reheated it the next day in a toaster oven, at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. That resulted in a browner underside, but the crust also got more brittle. The cheese melted nicely, though, and the thin slices of pepperoni got a little crisp along the edges.
Big Jay's offers pizza in four sizes (S, M, L, and sheet), with ten toppings. Interestingly, you can order beef or pork pepperoni (perhaps to cater to customers' religious concerns?). They do seven "deluxe" pizzas, including Philly steak, seafood, and Buffalo chicken.
Aside from pizza, you can get hot and cold subs, including steak subs. Calzones, wings (six sauces) finger foods and sweets round out the menu.
This wasn't bad, nor was it great. Frankly, it was a little below average. But it was the kind of pizza that makes me think, it's got potential. And I think Big Jay's is worth a revisit. I could see this pizza being considerably better with a few tweaks; maybe a longer, cold rise time, a hotter oven, better cheese, or some other adjustments. But it's worth checking out.
Big Jay's Pizzeria, 340 Thurston Road
Mon. - Sat. 11 am - 11:30 pm, Sun. noon - 9:30
Curbside delivery, $15 minimum, delivery charge based on area