I’m finding it more and more difficult to rate wood fired pizza as time goes on due to my raising standards and my experiences cooking pizza at home. Lucca is no exception. The pizza that they put out wasn’t bad per se, but it didn’t live up to what I expect and didn’t deliver on what should be relatively easy to accomplish.
We arrived during prime time on a Friday night and were told that we could wait for ~45 mins or take a seat on the porch. We appreciated the offer and took them up on a seat on the slightly chilly outdoor area with immediate seating. I’m sure this will be a much more popular option as we get into the late spring/summer months even though the view is of scenic Rt 96. Wait staff was friendly but very overworked on a busy night and the wait for the pizzas was a bit longer than normal (~30 mins from order until receipt of food).
We quickly ordered the Margherita pizza and the Funghi pizza shortly thereafter both in 10″ sizes. Before diving into the toppings, let’s talk about the crust since without a well flavored and seasoned crust a pizza has no chance of being great. On the positive side, Lucca was successful in achieving crisp crust from center to edge and the cornicioine (outer ring of the crust) had good chew to it although not quite as much rise or airy hole structure as I would like to see. Unfortunately, these positives were outweighed in my eyes by the lack of development of overall flavor. My fiancee compared the general taste to that of an unseasoned bread stick and I couldn’t help but agree. A little bit sweet and definitely needing more salt and some proofing time to give the crust some character beyond just being there as a vessel.
While it may be partially my fault for misunderstanding the description of the Margherita on the menu when we ordered, what we got was in no way what I expect from a pizza labeled as “Margherita”. As shown in my photo, our pie was an oil/garlic sauce base with a full covering of aged mozzarella, slices of tomato and chopped basil. Sauce was passable but boring (no salt) and sliced, out of season tomatoes have no chance of being good eats due to their general lack of flavor. The cheese was generic and the overall lack of salt made what was there even less than it could have been. Not a Margherita and as served it wasn’t anything I would consider ordering again.
The Funghi was a marked step forward topping wise but it still had some obvious faults that could be corrected. Portobellos were the star of the mushrooms on the pizza and were thick and meaty although lacking seasoning. The use of white mushrooms was kind of a downer when they easily could have been substituted for either a more flavorful variety or have some seasoning added with a marinade or quick saute. Proper salting was an issue in general although there was at least some salt present with the fully cooked prosciutto (not a fan of that either….removes all the subtlety to a great cured meat). The red peppers and spinach were fine but would be superfluous on a pizza with well prepared mushrooms on it. The truffle oil added a bit of an odd taste to the experience but not completely unpleasant. A lot of people in the food world rail on it as an inedible chemical concoction but I was pretty indifferent to it in this application.
I was disappointed overall at the pizza that we were served but nothing that came out of the kitchen was inedible by any means. We were hungry, ate both pizzas quickly and didn’t feel bad about it afterward like you can with heavier pies. I’m not driven to make a return trip soon, but if I find myself in the Victor area or stuck at the mall and needing dinner I would consider going back and seeing if they have made any improvement over this experience.