Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Joe's Brooklyn Pizza

1100 Jefferson Road, Henrietta
Visited July 31, 2010
Written by Drew
Joe's Brooklyn Pizza on Urbanspoon

Five (of us) guys headed to Marketplace Mall Saturday afternoon and figured we should cross another place off the list, even if it is in the gray area. Despite our chance at acting out a pun by all going to Five Guys Burgers and Fries (a national chain, mind you), Tyler, Jake and I filed in to neighboring Joe’s Brooklyn Pizza, while Joe and Greg went to Five Guys.

Joe’s, Five Guys and Moe’s Southwestern Grill (also a chain) share one building in the front of the parking lot to Henrietta Plaza on Jefferson Road, across the street from the Doubletree Hotel. I heard good things about Five Guys and really wanted to go there, but looking back on it I was glad I went to grab a few slices of pizza instead.

As we walked into the restaurant, we passed a couple, with one of them holding her stomach saying ‘that wasn’t a good thing to do,’ so right off the bat I was nervous about what I was getting into.

We went in the afternoon, so it wasn’t busy at all. We went right up to the counter and looked at the pizzas they had out to order slices from. After placing our order, we only had to wait about two minutes for our slices to come out of the oven.

I ordered two slices of Brooklyn-style pizza; one pepperoni and the other Buffalo chicken. Both slices were fairly large in size; if I had eaten breakfast that morning, I don’t know if I would have been able to finish them.

I am personally a huge fan of Brooklyn and/or New York-style pizza. As I always say, I prefer my food folded over. If I can fold it I will be much happier. And that is exactly what I did. After taking my first bite, something stood out that I haven’t really experienced too much with pizza before: the bottom of the pizza was perfectly golden in color and didn’t have corn meal or flour on it, just very small air bubbles. The bottom was so thin and crisp it was almost like biting into a tortilla chip. The crust was just the same way, perfectly crisp, and very enjoyable to eat.

Tyler went a different route and ordered a Sicilian (thick)-style cheese slice. Joe’s carries the Brooklyn-style crust in medium and large pizzas and the Sicilian in sheet pizzas. Tyler had a middle piece of a sheet pizza, so he didn’t get the pleasure to sampling the outer crust.

“My slice here was thick and reheated to a pleasant crisp,” he described. “The sauce was good and the interior was soft enough, with a perfect crisp on the outside.” He also grabbed a cinnamon knot for 75 cents, which he explained that it was better than it looked and was similar to the pizza crust he tried.

Jake also ordered a slice of Brooklyn-style Buffalo chicken pizza and enjoyed it as well. Jake said his Buffalo slice was tastier than any similar slice he's had before, and he gets Buffalo chicken pizza often. He added the sauce had a slightly sweet taste that made it stand out, and it was crispy and not too thick, but not too thin either.

There was one last thing that stood out when we were in there. The menu was relatively small; Brooklyn-style pizza, Sicilian –style pizza, six types of specialty pizza, chicken wings (in regular or Buffalo hot only) and calzones.

“The small menu shows they probably put a lot of focus in to their pizza,” Tyler explained, and I think he couldn’t be more right. I didn’t mind the small selection, but I did think it was kind of pricey. My meal, which consisted of two slices of pizza, a cup of blue cheese and bottle of water cost $8. But you pay for what you get, and it was really good.

Tyler had read a lot of reviews of Joe’s online prior to our visit. Many of them raved about it, but complained about rude service. We experienced none of that. The service was friendly and very quick. The atmosphere was pleasant as well; it didn’t replicate a Brooklyn feel outside, which is difficult to do, even in overdeveloped Henrietta, but had a fitting New York feel on the inside.

We all raved about our respective slices, and were all especially pleased with the crispiness of them. Much of the crispiness on our slices was due to them being reheated, so we are interested to see what a fresh pizza from Joe’s is like. I’d imagine it would still be crispy enough, and the fresh taste would probably make it even better than the great slices we already had. If the other reviews are right, it should be among the best pizza in Rochester.


Service/Atmosphere: Very neat restaurant with friendly and quick service. You can actually see the food before you order it, so you can actually ordered what you want.

Food: The individual slices were good, but both Tyler and I would like to go back and order a fresh, full-sized pizza.

Value: Relatively pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for.

Overall: One of the best pizza slices around.

Grade: B+


  1. Minor point. They don't "carry" the Sicilian in sheets. A sheet pizza is a bastardized Sicilian. All Sicilian pizza are rectangles. -Daug

  2. I'm afraid I'm going to have give a not so pleasant review. I was raised in Brooklyn since 1949. I witnessed the evolution of Pizza in Brooklyn from when it was fifteen cents a slice. It was thin and when folded as real pizza should be, oil dripped off the slice. It had a flavor that is very hard to find today. However, Brooklyn still has some incredible Pizza shops. The attempt at making a great Brooklyn style pizza in most other cities falls short for the most part. "Brooklyn Pizza" in Henrietta also falls short in my opinion. The pizza is good but not nearly as good as I expected. Initially I was excited when I saw the name "Brooklyn Pizza". Could there be a real Brooklyn style pizza in the Rochester area? Sorry, not yet, I was sadly disappointed. I don't know what it takes to make a real good Brooklyn or NYC pizza. Is it the dough, the sauce, the cheese? I don't know. Does the borough of Brooklyn have a secret recipe? It seems to me that it's not only pizza that falls short in this region. Other ethnic foods with a few exceptions have the same problem. If you like wings and garbage plates this is the town for you. Sorry I'm so critical but I am spoiled coming out of NYC where there are so many great restaurants. Some people might say , "move back to New York if you don't like it here!" I like Rochester for many reasons but as for the food, I'm hoping things will get better. There are some restaurants I have accepted, but not many. Oh by the way, the best pizza I have had in Rochester is: Bay-Goodman Pizza on Winton Rd. But when I crave the real thing I go down to NYC to visit friends and make sure I get a slice or three. If you get a chance to go down to the city, talk to the locals about the best pizza and I'm sure they will guide you in the right direction.
    Bon Appetite!

  3. If you like Joe's Brooklyn, head downtown to Pizza Stop. Open M-Th til 5:30p, and Fri til 7:30p (not open on weekends), they cater mainly to the office lunch crowd. But it is hands-down the best NYC style pizza I have ever had, outside of NYC. It is worth the hassle of getting down there during a weekday, believe me.

    Thank me later.

  4. Regarding the above anonymous comment: with all due respect to Bay Goodman, your claims to be an expert on NYC pizza went out the window when I read the part where you rate Bay Goodman the best around here. I've had many a slice in NY, and while there is no substitute for the real thing, Joe's is way closer to the real thing than Bay Goodman is.

  5. From what I understand, the water supply plays an important role in the distinctive qualities of Brooklyn's pizza, bagels, pastries, and other baked goods. While any pizza produced outside Brooklyn will pale by comparison, I am now racked by NYC pizza cravings (problematic as I live in Miami); thus I am determined to find a worthy contender within the tri-county area. The Aquathin Corporation developed a 14-step filtration process supposedly replicating the unique chemical composition of Brooklyn's water supply, now used by The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., based out of Delray Beach, FL. I am now inspired to take a trip out there and do my own "tastespotting."