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Monday, June 8, 2009

Constantino's, Ridgeway Ave.

Constantino's must be serving up some pretty good pizza, because they've been in business now for several years, despite an almost total lack of self-promotion. No website, only a handful of relevant search results on Google, no Yellow Pages ad, and no menus. At least on my visit. There was a laminated menu on the counter, but when I asked for a menu to go, they looked around a bit, and said, "No." But they were pretty busy, so they must be doing something right.
And, truth be told, the pizza is pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. It's thin and foldable, and qualifies, in my mind, as New York style.
The crust, however, was quite soft. Mine was done to more golden than brown - forget charred - and only the very edge had any crispness at all to it. It had some bready flavor, though, and although I like my crust on the crisp side, it wasn't unpleasant.
The pizza also had a very noticeable garlicky (I think) aroma. As soon as I opened the box, it hit me. It seemed to come from the dough itself, as if it had been dusted with or contained garlic powder, or, perhaps had been brushed with garlic-infused oil. There might've been some onion powder or herbs in there too, as I did see some flakes of dried herbs here and there, but mostly I detected garlic.
It was a fairly saucy slice, with sauce oozing out as I bit into the folded slice. The sauce had a mild tomatoey flavor.
The cheese on my slice, which was fresh out of the oven, was melted to the point of creaminess. It was a little greasy on the surface.
I wish I could tell you what else Constantino's has to offer, or give you more details, but I wasn't about to stand there and copy it all off their display menu. There is a little seating, including a couple of outdoor tables.
I should also mention that, at least at lunchtime, if you ask for a slice, you get two - essentially, a quarter of a large pie - for $3.25.
That's a very reasonable price, but it makes me wonder what this thing is about double-size slices. Whether they cut it in two, or serve it as one "mega slice," a lot of places around here pretty much require you to buy a quarter of a pie at once. Maybe that makes some sort of business sense, and maybe I'm in the minority on this one, but I like the option of buying a "standard" 1/8-of-a-pie slice, the kind you can get in any pizza joint in New York City. For one thing, I may not be that hungry. Or I may want to eat it on the go, and it's a lot easier to eat a standard-size slice while you're on foot than a giant slice.
That's not a rant about Constantino's, in particular, so much as about what seems to be an unfortunate trend. If any pizza parlor owners are reading this, take note, please.
Again, I don't mean that as a knock on Constantino's. I liked their pizza. If they could get their ovens hotter and crisp up that crust a little, I'd like it even more. I might even buy two slices at a time, of my own volition. For now, I give it a B-.
Constantino's, 2532 Ridgeway Ave. near Long Pond Rd. 227-0170
Note:  as of May 2010 Constantino's appears to have closed. This address is now the home of Good Guys Pizza.

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