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Friday, September 3, 2010

Lunch with Gramma and Schwartzkoff at Guida's

Guida's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
I've visited several Guida's locations now, and tried several varieties of their pizza, and I've been pretty consistently pleased with it. The crust is generally pretty good, and the flavor as well.
In my first-ever post on Guida's, in June '09, I liked my cheese slices, but wondered what the "Schwartzkoff" pizza was like. The Guida's sub of that name comes with ham, chicken, Swiss cheese, mozzarella, lettuce, onion, mayo, and sweet & sour sauce. They couldn't possibly put all of those items on a pizza. Could they?
Well, I recently returned to the Empire Boulevard Guida's, on a Friday, when word is you'll find the widest selection of slices. I picked up a Schwartzkoff slice, as well as a "Gramma's."
 The Schwartzkoff turned out to be a modified version of the sub. It was a white pizza with mozzarella, ham, onion and chicken, overlaid by a tangy, sticky sweet & sour sauce, something like a Rochester-style chicken wing sauce. The crust was the crisp, slightly charred crust that I've come to expect from Guida's. As for how it all worked, well, I probably wouldn't order this again, but not because of anything "wrong" with it. I just wasn't crazy about that particular combination of toppings. The honeyish sauce really dominated, and to me, pizza shouldn't be sticky. But is there a place for it in the pizza universe? Sure. Just keep some wetnaps handy.
I've been on something of a "grandma's pizza" kick lately, as this strikes me as a very traditional style, typified by tomato sauce and herbs with very little cheese. True to form, Guida's version was very heavy on the tomato sauce, which had a cooked-tomato flavor, with some herbs in the background. It was topped with a generous sprinkling of Romano, and that was about it.
Interestingly, though, the crust on the Gramma's was different from the Schwartzkoff, or indeed from any other Guida's pizza I've had. It was not as crisp, and had a more bubbly, browned underside. My guess is that it was pan-risen and -baked, which is perhaps another frequent characteristic of a grandma's pizza. I'm thinking that "grandma" would've been more likely to spread the dough out in a pan, let it rise, add some sauce and a sprinkling of cheese, and slide the whole thing, pan and all, into the oven to bake.
Both the crusts on these were medium thick, but the Gramma’s was a little softer. Both had a nice bready flavor, though, with a crunchy edge.
Neither of these pizzas would be an everyday pizza for me. Again, the Schwartzkoff was just a little too out-there, particularly with that sweet & sour sauce. And the Gramma's, while nice enough, didn't have the crisp crust that I like, and though sometimes less is more with pizza, just sauce and some Romano was, for me, a little too minimalistic. But they were both well made, and I appreciate their distinctiveness, so I'll give them both a B.
Guida's Pizzeria, 404 Empire Blvd., 288-0590
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri & Sat 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sun. noon - 10 p.m.


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  2. OK, new policy - any comments, especially completely anonymous comments, to the effect that a pizzeria owner (or anybody else) is a jerk will be deleted. If you want to relate an actual experience in which somebody was rude to you, that's fine. I'm not trying to protect anybody here. But just generalized comments along the lines of "so-and-so's an a**h***" will be removed.