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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Copper Grill: Margherita Pizza

Last month or so, Copper Grill opened on Hudson Avenue in the former Irondequoit Ale House space. It joins the list of local bars and restaurants serving pizza. I had lunch there recently.
There are several pizzas on the menu at Copper Grill, plus thirteen additional toppings to choose from if you'd like to create your own. I was torn between a straightforward pepperoni pie and the Margherita. I generally go with the latter at places with a wood-fired oven or that otherwise advertise "artisanal" pizza, but stick with the former at basic, American-style joints. Copper Grill doesn't use a wood-fired pizza or make any particular claims about its pizza, but at the last second I decided to go with a Margherita anyway.
My personal-size pie had a medium thick crust, with a pale, screen-baked bottom. The crust was soft and chewy, right through to the edge.
While some Margheritas use either tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes, this had both. The sauce, which is said to be homemade, was mild tasting and pleasant, but the thick tomato slices were pale and bland. There will come a day, I'm sure, when flavorful fresh tomatoes are widely available and reasonably cheap. But we're not there yet.
The menu describes this pizza as topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, and while I'm not questioning that, this cheese seemed to me almost like a cross between fresh and processed (a/k/a aged or low-moisture) mozzarella. It had some of the soft, almost creamy texture of the fresh variety, but was a little chewier and had a more yellowish tone than I expect from 100% fresh mozzarella. A dusting of grated cheese added some additional flavor.
Basil's another one of those things that varies widely from one Margherita to the next. This one used fresh shredded basil, which looked as if it had been added at or near the end of the baking, as it was still pretty green. That's a good way to go, I think - add it to soon and it just gets dried out and burnt, and the shredding, while it may result in a less visually appealing pie than one with whole leaves, probably releases more aroma.
One unusual addition here was the thin slices of red onion. It's not a common topping on Margheritas, but it wasn't unwelcome, as I generally like onions on my pizza, and the flavor complemented those of the other toppings.
Besides the Margherita, Copper Grill offers pepperoni, Buffalo chicken, and Mediterranean (white) pizza, plus cheese pizza and a variety of toppings. The menu's pretty lengthy, and ranges from standard bar fare like burgers and sandwiches to pasta, steaks, fish and barbeque, as well as desserts. There's a rectangular bar on one side, with seating along the walls and in front, facing Hudson Ave., and TVs all around. The overall atmosphere is casual and a bit generic, but give it some time.
This pizza was not all that bad, as bar/restaurant pizza goes, but I wouldn't call it a classic Margherita, or especially great pizza. The soft crust was the biggest downer for me, and the flavorless tomato slices didn't help. I'd come back here, if I were looking for basic bar food, but I don't think I'd order the pizza again. I'll give this a C-minus.
Copper Grill, 2256 Hudson Ave., Irondequoit 14617. 270-4466
11 a.m. - 2 a.m. daily


  1. Know what you mean about too soft crust. Even if the toppings are fresh and taste great, a crust not cooked right absolutely messes up a slice.

    Won't recommend the Copper Grill if anyone asks me.

  2. Why did you say ,"I'd come back here, if I were looking for basic bar food, but I don't think I'd order the pizza again."....?

    What happened to you giving new pizzeria's a 2nd chance to fine tune their product and a fair chance at improving their grade, which in this review is a C-.?

  3. A fair question. What I meant was that if I came back here with family or friends, just socially, I'd be inclined to order something other than pizza. I wouldn't be thinking, "Gee, that pizza was so good last time I want to get it again." So I'd probably get a burger or something.
    But you're right, I do think everybody deserves a second chance, so I will make a mental note to go back sometime, specifically to check out the pizza.

  4. What about Pontillo's in Hudson-Ridge plaza in Irondequoit? Can we get a review?

  5. Our pizza was water logged and soggy, we complained to the waiter and he said "Oh sorry about that" and walked away. They held 3x our bill amount when they ran our credit card. When we called to ask then to cash out their credit card machine the manager refused and was very rude. We had to get the bank involved to release the hold on our money. We will never eat there again.

  6. I just discovered the joy of making this simple yet delicious Margarita pizza. Which is great for our friends who don't eat meat. The neopolitan crust can be crisp if you place the pie on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before slicing. Here's the recipe we used in this cool video: