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Friday, November 21, 2014

Alloco's, Long Pond Road

I've done several reviews of Martino's on Long Pond Road, some good, some not so good. But Martino's is no more (there is an unrelated pizzeria named Martino's in Webster, which remains in business).
In its stead comes Alloco's, which opened a few months ago. I stopped in the other day for a couple of slices.
One initial pet peeve - the pies for slices weren't out where I could see them. I always like to see what I'm ordering when I get a slice. That way I can see how fresh they look, or maybe one pie will just look more appealing than another on that particular day.
This visit provides another example. I asked for pepperoni, and that's what I got, but it appeared to me that these were cooked cheese slices that had some pepperoni slices added, prior to reheating in the oven.That's not the worst thing, but had I known that, I probably would've just ordered plain cheese. Adding toppings to a cooked slice and then reheating it simply doesn't allow the added toppings to integrate into the rest of the pizza, plus in the case of pepperoni, it doesn't get properly crisp.
But OK, this wasn't the end of the world. Aside from that, how was the pizza?
The crust was rather thick - if memory serves, thicker than Martino's - though pies can be ordered thick, thin, or "traditional." I assume this was traditional.
It had a dry, crackly bottom that was nicely browned, with a smattering of corn meal visible. Not the even, shiny golden brown you get with overly oiled pizza, but the shade that bread or pizza dough turns when it's in contact with a hot oven deck. I wouldn't exactly call it charred, but a thicker crust shouldn't necessarily be charred anyway, as it needs time to bake fully through.
While I found this crust fully baked, it was, unfortunately, a little gummy on top. Maybe it had sat a little too long with its toppings before going into the oven. There have been lengthy online discussions of the "gum line" phenomenon; Some folks have suggested that the act of slicing the pizza may itself create the appearance of a gum line. I don't think that was the culprit here, though.
I've probably made more of this than it deserves, and I won't speculate further. I will say that I've seen a lot worse than this, as far as gumminess is concerned, but I mention it in the interests of accuracy and thoroughness.  The outer edge, though, I'm happy to say, was nice and crisp, with a breadlike interior.
The cheese was fairly thick, and seemed to be 100% processed mozzarella. I removed the pepperoni from one of the slices (which was easy to do) to give you a better look at the cheese. It wasn't particularly smooth or stretchy, but neither was it mealy or overly chewy; pretty basic pizza cheese.
As was the sauce. It had a slightly sweet flavor, with just a hint of herbs in the background. Overall, the slices were well balanced among the various components.
So kind of a mixed bag here. The underside of the crust was well baked, but the gumminess up top detracted from things a bit. The toppings were certainly adequate, and were applied in good proportion to each other, but again I wasn't crazy about the pepperoni apparently having been added after the pie was baked.
Alloco's offers a wide variety of pizza toppings, and some interesting specialty pizzas, like a cheeseburger pie and a tater tot pizza. They also do subs, wings, breakfast items all day, seafood, pasta, and more. Download the full menu here.
Since Alloco's has been open for only a short time, I won't rate this pizza. It showed promise. The crust seemed fundamentally good, though the execution could've been a bit better. But the bottom line is, it was good enough to go back, and I hope to do so before too long.

Alloco's, 1742 Long Pond Rd.
585-426-8646 (426-TOGO)

Mon. - Thu. 8 a.m. - 11 p.m., Fri. 8 - 1 a.m., Sat. 10 - 1 a.m., Sun. 11 - 10

Friday, November 14, 2014

Avoca Pizzeria

On a recent hiking excursion to Urbana State Forest, I stopped on the way home at Avoca Pizzeria, in its namesake town. Having worked up an appetite after a morning of hiking, I was ready for a slice of pizza.
The choices were limited to plain cheese or pepperoni, and I went with the latter.
It was OK, but barely OK. The underside of the thin-to-medium thick crust was spottily browned, with screen marks.
The crust hadn't risen much, and was a bit gummy on top. It was easily folded, and not crisp. It wasn't particularly oily to the touch, but I did pick up a faint hint of cooking-oil aroma.
As for the toppings, the sauce had a somewhat thick consistency, and a pronounced tomatoey flavor. The mozzarella was well melted, and had accumulated in between the bubbly areas of the dough.
This was, well, as I said before, an OK slice of pizza. But frankly it could have been better. My number one concern is the crust, and this crust had several issues, from lack of rising to gumminess on top to its overall limpness.
I won't assign a grade to this, because it's quite some distance from Rochester and there aren't many places nearby to compare it to. And I don't want to come down too hard on them, based on one slice of pizza, but, for what it's worth, this wasn't great.

Avoca Pizzeria, 2 N. Main St., Avoca

(607) 566-2200

Open 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Revisit to Two Ton Tony's

One of the challenges of writing this blog is keeping up with developments in the local pizza scene while still returning to old favorites. 
One old favorite of mine is 2 Ton Tony's in Irondequoit. The pizza's consistently good, and owner Tony Proietti is always a pleasure to converse with. He's passionate about his pizza, and he's always got a story or two to share, often involving his family's long history in the pizza business.
I stopped by 2TT's the other day at lunchtime. From among the several slices available, I got a pepperoni & banana pepper slice. These are big slices, and Tony sliced mine in half, down the middle, although that proved to be unnecessary, as I ate them both in one sitting.
Tony's slice-ready pies start out on a screen, but are baked in a stone deck oven. Unlike a lot of screen-baked and "mega" slices I've had, this one was crisp and dry on the bottom, not floppy, soft or oily. Upon folding, the surface cracked, but the crust remained intact. The interior of the medium-thick crust had a soft texture and a fresh-bread aroma.
Tony takes pride in using top-notch ingredients, which showed in the toppings. The cheese was nicely melted and silky smooth, and the sauce had a good balance of salt and tomatoey sweetness. I love the combination of pepperoni and banana peppers, and they made for one very tasty slice of pizza.
I'm also going to mention here a slice I got a couple of months ago or so that I never got around to reporting on until now. This was a slice of "Eileen's Dream," a white pizza topped with spinach, artichokes and ricotta. My go-to pizza will always be a red pizza, but I like a good white slice now and then, and this one caught my eye.
Without tomatoes, a white pizza needs a little something to give it some oomph, and this slice accomplished that, with tangy artichokes that nicely complemented the slightly bitter shredded spinach, and nuggets of ricotta adding some additional flavor and textural interest.
I don't know if I could ever go to 2 Ton Tony's and not have pizza, but there are other options (you can view and download the entire menu here). Tony has added a very popular Friday fish fry, which includes battered haddock, potato wedges, cole slaw, hush puppies and tartar sauce There are also several new choices in the sweets department, including a s'mores calzone filled with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. They're also now serving Perry's ice cream, which I've been a major fan of for years. After I finished my pizza, I had barely enough room for a sample of Perry's cannoli ice cream (which is not available in stores, by the way) - yum.

This section of Irondequoit remains a pizza hotbed - I think you could go to a different pizzeria every day of the week and never drive more than half a mile - but with 2 Ton Tony's continuing to turn out such consistently good pizza, I'm not sure you'd want to.

2 Ton Tony's, 545 Titus Ave. (at Hudson Ave.)

Mon. - Thu. 11 - 9, Fri. & Sat. 11 - 10, Sun. noon - 9