Saturday, March 22, 2014

Empire Pizza

Empire Pizza bills itself as "Webster's only true pizzeria."  I can't testify to the veracity of that claim, but I can say that it is the only pizzeria on the route home from my hair stylist :)  And, this is why I picked up a couple pizzas and some garlic twists from Empire last week.

We selected the garlic, broccoli and mushroom; and the Southwestern BBQ Chicken.  Overall the pizzas were quite good.  We agreed they were a step below Pizza Stop, but still way above most we've had.  The crust was thin and crispy; the toppings fresh and generous; and I'll add that the counter service was quite friendly.  As for the specifics--

--The garlic, broccoli and mushroom could have used much more garlic from our perspective, but when it comes to garlic, we're like reverse vampires.  So, next time, we'll ask them for extra.  Otherwise, the broccoli was perfectly cooked (blanched ahead, it seemed, and then carefully baked so as not to burn) and the mushrooms were meaty and tasty.

--The SWBBQ seemed like Empire's version of Pizza Stop's Jurassic Chicken.  (I understand that EP once had some relationship with PS, so some of the menu similarities make sense.)  This version had more sweet and less heat, though; guess which we prefer.  Still quite yummy!

--The garlic twists could have use more (say it with me) garlic!  But, they did come with a delicious side of marinara, which I'm guessing is their pizza sauce.  Quite good!

Whether or not Empire Pizza is Webster's only true pizzeria, I can say for certain that it is a very good pizzeria.  We had to make ourselves stop nibbling on toppings and edges after we were "done."  It's clear we'll be back!

BC's Chicken Coop

The Wednesday before my husband's birthday, the Rochester City Newspaper's wonderful Chow Hound column ran a round-up of overlooked Webster restaurants.  BC's Chicken Coop was among them, and I thought, "Mmm, birthday fried chicken."  So, taking note of the suggestion to call ahead, I did: ordering a "hen house"--fried chicken, cornbread muffins, and sides--and (when ribs weren't available) a dozen wings.

We set off for Webster and found the Coop in a blue siding'd hole in the wall.  It was a very chilly Saturday, but once we stepped inside the small shop, the temperature rose dramatically (in fact, the windows were foggy!).  The Chicken Coop is quite charming inside, though I would not advise eating there.  It offers only a couple tiny tables (stacked a bit incongruously with National Geographics).  So, we took our order to go.

The chicken is fried to order, so it is fresh, crispy, moist and definitely hot.  It had a perfect crunchy crust, liberally seasoned with salt, pepper and (I'm guessing) paprika and a bit of cayenne.  The chicken meat was tender and flavored by (again, a guess) a solid salt/pepper/buttermilk brine.  The wings were prepared just as the chicken, and we picked a medium hot sauce (more medium-hot and super wonderful) to go with these.  The proof of the deliciousness of the chicken is in its rapid disappearance: we had barely enough left over for lunch the next day!  Truly the some of the best fried chicken I've had.

As for the sides: the cornbread and tomato/bacon/garlic green beans were wonderful; the mashed potatoes were fine; the mac and cheese left a lot to be desired.  But, then again, who cares? I can make my own sides, but I'll guarantee that I cannot make this chicken.  Yum!!