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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Crust Pizza Kitchen, East Rochester

In August 2009, I published a post about Despatch Pizza Kitchen in East Rochester. (East Rochester, by the way, was originally named "Despatch," for railroad-related reasons.) Despatch occupied the former site of a Piatza's pizzeria.
But the door continues to revolve at this particular address, and the latest entrant on the scene is Crust Pizza Kitchen, which opened in January.
I got a single slice recently at lunchtime. The thin to medium thick crust was generally pale, with some browner areas, and displayed screen marks. It was rather soft, and very pliable. The interior had a little breadiness, but it wasn't particularly interesting.
The slice did have decent flavor and was pretty well balanced. It was toppped with a basic tomato sauce, which was very middle-of-the-road, not too salty, sweet, or herb-infused. The mozzarella was a little browned, not overly so, but enough to make it a little less stretchy than it otherwise would have been.
That probably has something to do with the abundant pepperoni, which was generously if somewhat haphazardly applied. When a pizza has a lot of toppings on it, particularly toppings like pepperoni that benefit from a longer time in the oven, exposed areas of cheese are likely to get browned. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing depends on whether you like your cheese a little bit browned. Me, I like it just to the edge of browning, baked enough to be stretchy but with a faint hint of caramelization on the surface.
Crust's pizzas come in 9-, 12-, and 16-inch sizes, as well as 18 x 26" sheets. There are over 30 toppings available, including several varieties of cheese (feta, ricotta, cheddar, provolone and Swiss), and one of my favorites, fresh garlic. They have an impressive list of 22 specialty pizzas, from a "Mac's Cheeseburger," which, like a certain "big" burger from a ubiquitous chain is topped with 1000 Island dressing, pickles, onions, tomatoes, and American cheese, to a "SeƱor Taco" pizza with ranch dressing, seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, onions, mozzarella and cheddar, plus shredded lettuce that's added at the end.
Crust also offers jumbo-size wings (four sauces), salads, a wide variety of hot and cold subs, calzones, plates, fish fries, wraps, burgers and hots, and a few sweets.
It's a good looking menu, and some of the items, including some of the pizzas, sound good. But this slice, while not exactly bad, didn't wow me. The flavor was OK, but the crust was just too soft, and didn't have enough backbone to stand up to the toppings. That was particularly disappointing given the name of this pizzeria, and the statement on their Facebook page that they “proof” their dough overnight, "which ensures that it has a 'flaky' finish without a 'cracker' quality. If you want to tell the quality of a pizza, look underneath it" The name and that statement led me to think, or at least hope, that the crust would be especially good here.
Alas, for my taste, the crust on this particular slice was not stellar. But I think that CPK's heart is in the right place, and since they've just recently opened, I'm not going to assign this one a grade. This is the kind of place I want to go back to sometime, and give another try.
Crust Pizza Kitchen, 115 W. Commercial St., East Rochester
Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm, Fri & Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm, Sun: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

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