|Under the red neon light of Roman Pizza's window|
I've certainly enjoyed exploring for restaurants all throughout the region in the two months I've lived here. But when it comes to pizza, the best thing is having a neighborhood spot you know and trust, and I think I've discovered that with Roman.
Or Roma. It's confusing. The sign says Roman. The front of the menu says Roman. But inside the menu they refer to themselves, and a dish, as Roma. And a trusted local food source, derryX, has informed me that the owners think of it as Roma. But for the purposes of this review, because it's known as Roman Pizza throughout the interwebs, I'll go with the N.
With that out of the way, it's time to talk about why I like Roman Pizza, and it's not just the location. And it's not because I've struggled to find good pizza--other than on a couple jaunts to New York City--for the past four years.
The pizza in Springfield was proof that good New York pizza isn't dependent on some mythical, miracle water. It's about letting the dough rise. It's about good sauce. It's about a nice balance of cheese. And on these fronts, Roman Pizza delivers.
There are maybe a half-dozen tables or so inside Roman, with a TV in the corner that seems to be perpetually showing baseball, though I suppose this will change in a month. The guys behind the counter are always ready to toss a couple oversize slices in the oven. These slices are foldable but not floppy, the crust chewy and not bland. The sauce? Seasoned up nicely, not too sweet, and not slapped on too heavily. It nicely complements the cheese, which seems like such a basic thing, but we all know places that even screw that up. Too much, too little, too chewy (once you're past the age of ten you probably don't want to pull all of the cheese off in one bite).
|The antipasta at Roman|
That attention to detail doesn't just show up with the pizza. The tossed salad, full of a nice array of mixed greens, tomatoes, red onions, black olives, croutons, pepperoncini, and mozzarella, was a pleasant surprise for a pizza place (though the antipasta isn't particularly interesting or inspired), better than what you get at many finer dining establishments.
K also tried one of Roman's hot torpedoes, the Eggplant Parmigiana. As with any sub or hoagie-type sandwich, the roll itself has to be good or the entire thing will fall flat. And Roman's torpedo roll is very good: crunchy outside, chewy inside, full of a nice yeasty flavor. It proved to be a fine vessel for the homemade fresh eggplant, tomato sauce, and heaping topping of melted mozzarella.
Roman also features an array of Italian dinners and cold subs. One of these days I'll branch out and try something from this side of the menu. The Locatelli Romano would certainly be a nice touch on the ravioli or veal parmesan. But for now I'm stuck on the pizza. As a new guy, I'm not going to tell you this is better than your favorite pizza in the area (which I likely haven't even tried yet). But I do feel very safe recommending Roman as a worthwhile pit stop to anyone driving along Troy-Schenectady Road. And maybe by next year we'll at least get it on the ballot in the Tournament of Pizza.
Roman Pizza is located at 200 Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham, NY