After recently writing about the weekly Friday All You Can Eat (AYCE) fish fry at Mr. G's Pizzeria in Fairlawn, Ohio, it occurred to me (and probably a number of you, as well) that I probably ought to be writing a review of their signature offering, the pizza. I couldn't agree more. The problem with returning had been more to do with good timing than anything else. Having worked into the evening on a recent Friday night, I finally managed to pack everything up and leave the office around 7:15 PM or so. I knew how popular Mr. G's could be during lunch and dinner, but I figured if I showed up around 7:30 or so, I might have missed the rush.
Yes and no.
During my last visit, I noticed that there was a hole cut into the far wall of the restaurant that had been covered in a plastic tarp. Apparently, they were expanding. What I didn't realize was how close they were to actually opening that space up to their customers. When I arrived tonight and walked in the main entrance, initially my hopes sank as the main room was packed with patrons. But when I realized that the new space was officially open and only partially filled, I knew that I wouldn't have long to wait. I was right.
After seating me, my server left me with the menu, even though I knew what I would be ordering before I even walked through the door. I know I posted the menu during my first visit, but I thought I'd re-post the menu since I got much clearer photographs with my new camera:
While there was "regular" pizza being offered, tonight I was here for the New York style thin-crust pizza. The problem (and I noticed this before, too) was that the smallest size offered was the medium at 16" in diameter. The large was 20" and the extra large was 24". Clearly this was not a pizza for the individual with a light appetite. While the regular pizzas are offered by the slice during the day, the NY style pizza must be ordered whole. Concluding that I would just have to take the leftovers home with me, I placed an order for a medium NY style pepperoni pizza.
It took a fair amount of time for the pizza to arrive at the table, but considering it was a Friday night during prime dinner hours, the length of time was appropriate. Here was what I received after about a twenty-five minute wait:
The medium consisted of eight slices that were fairly large. One of the true tests of authentic New York style pizza was its "foldability." Folding the slice allows busy New Yorkers to eat the slice on the run without having to worry about toppings sliding off and staining clothing. I pulled off a slice from the stainless steel pan and put it on the dinner plate my server had thoughtfully provided:
Here's the slice from a slightly different angle:
First impressions were that the distribution of sauce, cheese, and toppings were equitably split. The crust had a nicely browned crust, but after looking at the bottom of the slice, it seemed to be a bit too blond and under-caramelized. A taste test confirmed I was missing some of the wonderful complexity of flavor that browning the bottom of the crust a little more would have given it. I added a light sprinkling of red pepper flakes and attempted to fold the slice. Success!
I took several bites of the pizza and noted that the combination of flavors was good, but not outstanding. There was a sweetness rolling around in my mouth that bothered me somewhat. After unfolding my slice and doing a little digging with my fork, I discovered that the sauce was what was giving the pizza its uncharacteristic sweet flavor. Not sugary sweet, but a definite sweetness more than savoriness. In addition, I picked up on an herbaceousness that tasted like it came from oregano. I know that the acidity of a tomato-based sauce can be off-putting and the remedy is often to add some sugar, but in this case, I think a more acidic sauce would've paired better with the richness from the cheese and pepperoni.
That's not to say I didn't push my slice away from me in disgust. Quite the contrary. I ended up eating my way through three of the eight slices and took the remainder home where I enjoyed a couple of slices cold the following morning for an impromptu breakfast. At $12 for a medium pie, I definitely think this could easily be a single meal for two hungry adults. Having not had their non-NY style pizza, I don't know if the pizza sauce is used for both styles of pies. While I enjoy the novelty of being able to get a foldable slice, the lack of bottom crust caramelization and sweetness of the sauce kept this particular pie from being in my top five. That being said, if you like your sauce a little on the sweeter side, then this might just be the pizza for you.