Red Front – Troy, NY
One of my favorite pastimes is to sit down with a 10 cut COB from Red Front (71 Division St, Troy). It’s actually a really unhealthy hobby, and I don’t really recommend doing it the way I do, but i do recommend checking it out in moderation some time.
COB is an abbreviation for “Cheese On Bottom” and is Red Front’s claim-to-fame as far as their food goes.
One Saturday evening, I sat down with a few friends for some pizza and laughs. We arrived at 6 to a packed dining room, but by 7, the restaurant was practically empty.
I don’t know what got into me that night, but I felt the need to order some of their garlic parm boneless wings ($7.25).
These are nothing more than breaded nuggets of chicken tossed in a sauce of butter, garlic, and parmesan cheese. They were very good, but not particularly outstanding.
My friends were surprised (but not too surprised) when I ordered the 10 cut pizza with one topping ($13.50) for myself. They were on their own that night, as was I.
The square pizza with cheese on bottom isn’t like “Sicilian-style” that you can get at L&B Spumoni Gardens (for example) in Brooklyn. There’s not enough crust for that.
It’s not even like the various “tomato pies” that you can get around Utica or Trenton, NJ. The crust is too dense to be that.
It’s really its own thing.
At Red Front, a very basic pizza dough not unlike most pub-style pan pizza dough is topped with a relatively scant amount of sliced mozzarella then topped with a sweet and slightly tangy and spicy sauce and then baked.
What you’re served isn’t oozing with cheese, but has just enough hiding under the sauce to know it exists and to add a layer of softness atop the chewy crust. The main delivery of flavor comes from the sauce, which is very liberally applied. In my case, their crumbled meatball topping adds some texture and umami.
As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t finish the whole thing. I think I ate 7 of the 10 slices, which is still a lot. For me, this isn’t an every day or every week or even every month treat, so when I have it, I can’t stop myself.