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TOP2013 RD1 Troy pizza closeups

TOP2013: Round 1: Troy

TOP2013 RD1 Troy

The opening round of the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- heads toward the final turn with a stop in Troy.

The new-to-the-tournament pizzerias in this Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

Pizza DaVinci - Troy
Deli and Brew - Troy
Elia's - East Greenbush
Goomba's - East Greenbush

The judges gathered at the Arts Center of the Capital Region...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

A quick note about how all this works:
The judges taste the pizzas blind. That is, they don't know which pizza they're tasting during judging. They taste the competitors side by side. Each judge assesses the pizzas by crust (5 points possible per judge), sauce (5 points), toppings (5 points), and overall taste (10 points). Each judge represents either 1/4 or 1/5 of the possible points, depending on the number of judges present. However many judges, all scores will be according to a 100-point scale.

How this year's brackets were selected.

If you'd like to get a closer look at the pizzas, there are large-format closeups above -- scroll all the way up.

TOP2013 RD1 Troy judging

Round 1 pool

Post game

Deli & Brew
This shop, near HVCC, is known for its subs. But its pizza represented in this round, thanks in large part to its crust. The judges called the cornmeal-dusted crust "very good" with "good flavor," "nice char" on the bottom, and "a little chewy." Another winning category: toppings. The judges called the sausage crumbles "fatty but flavorful" with good fennel flavor, and concluded one judge "Yum!" Overall the judges praised Deli & Brew's pizza for its balance.

Elia's
This East Greenbush pizzeria posted a solid score thanks in part to its sauce. One judge said it had "solid tomato flavor" and another described it as "flavorful" and "spicy." The judges were split on Elia's sausage, though -- with a few calling it "meaty" and "very tasty." But it didn't light up some of the others, with one remarking that they didn't like the way it worked with the cheese.

Goomba's
Another suburban competitor, it also scored well with its sauce, with judges describing it as "sweet," "herb-y," and "garlicky." Its sausage did not go over as well. Some of the judges found it "chewy" with a flavor that didn't register for them. And though some of the judges enjoyed the texture of the crust ("end nice and chewy"), others were turned off by its flavor.

Pizza DaVinci
This pizza from this shop, on a busy section of Hoosick Street, didn't work for the judges. They didn't appreciate the texture of the pizza's crust ("too many properties of cardboard"), its sauce hit the wrong notes, and the pizza's sausage didn't register for them.

Up next

Deli & Brew posts a solid score to advance to the second round, where it will perennial Troy power DeFazio's.

Tomorrow: the Tournament of Pizza heads to Albany.

Thank you, thank you

TOP2013 RD1 Troy arts center kitchen

Many thanks to The Arts Center of the Capital Region for hosting us in their kitchen. We've always been treated warmly there, and this was no exception.

The 2013 Tournament of Pizza is sponsored by The College of Saint Rose.

Comments

I am totally in love with the subs from Deli & Brew and have given their pizza the eyeball more than once, wondering if it was as good as it looked. But the Italian Mix would win out every time.. I guess it's time to get the pizza!

Sweet Pizza Justice! I've been trying to get Deli and Brew into the tournament for 2 years now. I'm glad they represented Troy well.

I love their BBQ chicken and Buffalo Chicken slices!

Well after this I'm embarrassed to admit that I really like Pizza DaVinci, although I've never had the sausage pizza from there.

Then again, the only pizza I ever ate growing up was from Little Casears, so my pizza taste buds may be forever compromised.

Man, I haven't had Deli & Brew in years! My ex-husband worked at the nearby tech park and we used to eat there all the time. But we never called it Deli & Brew. It was always lovingly called "Dirty Hands" since no employee was ever observed washing their hands or wearing gloves while preparing food. Maybe that's changed over the years, but we always figured that's what gave all the food the extra good flavor. I'm usually a bit of a germaphobe but the subs were so dang good I always forced it to the back of my mind.

So is DaVinci's overall score the lowest ever attributed to an independent shop? While I well remember the debacle of inserting anonymous chains (Dominos, et al) into the competition a couple of years ago and their associated low scores, a 27 is really quite terrible for a non-chain. Just curious.

Also, since there seem to be other Deli and Brew fans out there... they have bought and are renovating the Pizza Hut that was next door. It's going to be a sit down burgers, fries and beer joint. There is even some outdoor seating! The guys behind the counter seemed really excited about it.

I am disappointed that Elia's didn't make it. I absolutely love their pizza. I easily think it's the best around by far.

I will have to try Deli & Brew sometime I guess.

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