Stone Genius for Pizza
Fifth and Fifty
By B.A. Nilsson
N. Ballston Ave. (Route 50), Scotia, 372-4668. Serving Mon-Thu
11-9, Fri-Sat 11-10, Sun (only during football playoff season
and Super Bowl) noon-9. Cash and checks only.
of the pizza and wings variety
price range: $4.75 (spaghetti or ziti) to $33 (100 wings)
Loffredo slides the fully constructed pizza onto a wire disk
slightly larger than the pie, and this goes into the aged
oven. “New pizza ovens look much nicer,” he notes, “with a
lot of stainless steel. But this is what was here, and it
works well, and the ovens are lined with good stones.”
That’s one pizza-baking key: a stone that will passively regulate
the heat distribution. It wasn’t until I added a couple of
pizza stones to my own oven that I lost the hot spots that
once plagued all of my baking, so I’m sold on the concept.
Another thing: the wire disk. “I make a thick crust, New York-style
pizza,” Loffredo explains. “That has to cook longer. So I
want some air circulating around the bottom of it.” He pulls
out another pie and makes a shallow cut around its circumference
of toppings, giving it a more attractive appearance. “I’m
also releasing air bubbles,” he explains. This one finishes
its oven time directly on the stone.
The pies emerge golden and redolent of the oregano in Loffredo’s
homemade sauce. Mine sports broccoli and sausage on a red
pizza ($13), a combo devised after a torturous discussion
with my daughter. Who, I should note, proceeded to eat the
pizza without first tearing off the top layer of ingredients,
This was also true of the barbecued-chicken pizza we shared
on an earlier visit, but that’s long been her favorite despite
(or perhaps because of) the fact that it’s hard to find. Small
bits of chicken are interspersed with a dark, sweet sauce,
then covered with mozzarella.
Loffredo’s offers that and more. We didn’t explore the Greek,
Hawaiian, taco or lasagna pizzas, but I suspect I’ll get around
to them, because I’m sold on the place.
Bob’s current restaurant is celebrating its first anniversary,
but his work is familiar to Schenectady-area pizza lovers
who patronized his old place in Sheridan Square (now run by
the city’s former police chief). Loffredo wanted to get out
of that city, and his current restaurant is not far from where
he had his first restaurant job: Carm’s, on Freeman’s Bridge
There’s not much to speak of in terms of ambiance. The dining
area is large—too large for the tiny parking lot in front
of the place—but most of the business is takeout and delivery.
Too bad, I think, because our experience as dine-in customers
is that the staff couldn’t be more attentive.
During our first visit, we also lit through an order of wings
(12 for $5), which were worth the attention. A “regular” Greek
salad ($4.75) turned out to be a whopping affair: mostly iceberg,
no surprise, but rich with feta and a good contrast to the
On a recent Friday, there was a line at the counter that stretched
to the door, and, as the skies darkened, the pizzas were flying.
Pickup, delivery—it was a steady stream of boxes of red, white
This caused my dine-in order a little delay, but we (a threesome
now, with my wife along) were always kept apprised of the
progress of our too-large meal. For your sake—of course—I
ordered a cross-
section of items.
A cup of chili ($3, but huge) turned out to be your typical
beef-and-kidney-bean stew with some added heat. Jalapeno poppers
($5)—well, there’s no need to report on them. They’re all
the same, it’s a silly excuse for a foodstuff, and I’m addicted
to them. Sweet potato fries ($3) were crisp and sweet, a pleasant
Dinner items are available, such as baked ziti ($6.25) and
eggplant, chicken or veal parmigiana ($6.25, $7.25, $8.25).
You can also get your parm in a hot sub, a smaller portion
that costs a couple of bucks less. We sampled the Italian
hero ($5.35), which sported salami with provolone on a torpedo
The list of cold subs includes what you’d expect, as well
as variations like triple cheese and a vegiwich, all of them
priced around $4 for a small, a dollar more for a large.
When you find pizza, calzones can’t be far behind. I’m happy
to report that the capacious sausage calzone ($6) kept me
going for three days.
Where I live, there are only a couple of pizza joints nearby,
and they’re just not consistent. In a more urban area, the
threshold of difference among pizza restaurants can get quite
small, so a friendly, accommodating staff can make all the
Bob Loffredo’s philosophy about food and food service is another
key ingredient: “It’s all hands-on here. First of all, all
of our ingredients have to be fresh, have to be the best.
And I’m involved with it every step of the way. I want to
see your face when you come in.”
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, authors of The
Book Club Cookbook, will be at the Schenectady
County Public Library (Clinton and Liberty Streets,
Schenectady) from noon-5 PM Sunday, Oct. 17, to
discuss and sign their book. The event is a fund-raiser
for the Capital Campaign to expand the downtown
library to include a new children’s center, gallery
and performance space. Samples of food made by
area restaurants from The Book Club Cookbook
recipes will be offered for sale. Gelman and
Krupp interviewed book-club members all over the
country to see what they were reading and eating;
the result is a collection of 100 entries, each
focusing on a literary masterpiece. . . . The
Hudson Valley Council of Girl Scouts will
hold its third annual Cookie Cuisine event from
6-9 PM Tue, Oct. 26 at the Italian-American Community
Center (Washington Ave. Ext., Albany). Honorary
Chair Carmine Sprio, Ric Orlando and a host of
talented culinary teams take on the challenge
of preparing gourmet entrées and desserts using
Girl Scout cookies. This year’s participants include
the Arlington House, Aromi D’Italia, Capital District
EOC, Carmine’s, Crowne Plaza, Magnolia’s, New
World Home Cooking, Real Seafood, SUNY Cobleskill
and 333 Café. Tickets are $35; pony up $75 and
you’ll be part of the honorary committee. For
reservations, call Sharon Smith 489-8110, ext.
105. . . . Remember to pass your scraps to Metroland
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very much enjoyed eating dinner at Daniel's
at Ogdens. You review described my dining
experience perfectly. This wasn't the case
with Pancho's. I much prefer Garcia's or
Lake View Tavern for Mexican fare. I agree
that a restaurant can have an off night
so I'll give the second unit on Central
Avenue a try.
yes I miss the star ratings, bring it back.
Second, I haven't had a chance to visit
Poncho's yet, but I especially like reading
would travel to Amsterdam to this restaurant
- it's not that far away. People traveled
from all over to eat at Ferrandi's in Amsterdam.
From his background, I'm sure the chef's
sauce is excellent and that is the most
important aspect of an Italian restaurant.
Sometimes your reviewer wastes words on
the negative aspects of a restaurant. I'm
looking forward to trying this restaurant
- I look forward to Metroland every Thursday
especially for the restaurant review. And
by the way Ferrandi's closed its Amsterdam
location and is opening a new bistro on
Saratoga Lake - Should be up and running
in May. It will be called Saratoga Lake
Bistro. It should be great!
comments about the Indian / Pakistani restaurants
being as "standardized as McDonald's"
shows either that you have eaten at only
a few Indian / Pakistani restaurants or
that you have some prejudices to work out.
That the physical appearances are not what
you would consider fancy dancy has no bearing
on the food. And after all, that is what
the main focus of the reviews should be.
Not the physical appearances, which is what
most of your reviews concentrate on.
A restaurant like The Shalimar, down on
Central Avenue, may not look the greatest,
but the food is excellent there. And the
menu has lots of variety - beef, lamb, vegetarian,
chicken, and more..