A pizza that's half Red Vine (fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes,...

A pizza that's half Red Vine (fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, basil, red sauce, olive oil), and half Veg Out (zucchini,mushrooms, red onion, mozzarella and red sauce) at Blaze Pizza in West Babylon in September 2014 Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick

Blaze Pizza, which opened a short while ago in West Babylon, is the first Long Island branch of a California-based franchise chain. The place has the assembly-line style of Chipotle Mexican Grill, only here, building your own 11-inch pie is the name of the game.  You move down a line, choosing either a signature pie, which is a set option, or else picking your own ingredients from an array that includes meatballs, sausage, olives and the like. You can even compose a pie half one way, the other half another. Pies range from $5 to $7.65.

It sounds ideal — especially since, once you’ve chosen everything, your pie is popped into an 800-degree gas-fired oven and is ready in about three minutes. But, on a recent visit, I found the experience less than ideal.

For one thing, by the time my companion and I had gotten together salads and beverages and paid the cashier, we were being called to pick up our pies. Then, it was a flurry of fetching plastic utensils and setting everything down before getting a bite of that crucial first slice. No complaints about the thin crust, which had a nice char and a clean flavor. Trouble is, however, it can get soggy at the center. The “simple” version — just red sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan — was fine. So, too, was the Red Vine version with ovalini (little balls of fresh mozzarella), cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, red sauce and an olive oil drizzle. I was less taken with my Veg Out featuring zucchini, mushrooms, red onion and mozzarella, which was positively wet on the bottom. Wetness also plagued an otherwise flavorful custom half with spicy red sauce and sausage.

Side salads ($3.85) are served in too-small plastic containers, coming from the refrigerator case over-chilled. Neither the tomato, basil and ovalini nor the roasted veggie and Gorgonzola was worth a second bite. Also unimpressive was the S'more Pie ($2) — two cookies sandwiching marshmallow and chocolate, melted together in the pizza oven.

Blaze Pizza is at 1047 W. Montauk Hwy. (Great South Bay Shopping Center), West Babylon, 631-620-3326, blazepizza.com



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