Pizza is humanity's last, best hope.
Tofu stir fry is the best - throw whatever veggies are around and add some soy sauce, perfect!
I order lots of takeout, and a fun challenge is trying to incorporate any leftover dishes (or aspects of dishes) into larger "freshly" made dinners the following nights.
Easy one ... he microwaves all leftover pizza contrary to the definitive leftover pizza consumption method of just eating it cold (thanks Ed Levine!).
For me the most exasperating crust is a pizza with a totally dried-out, crackery crust with no body or flavor. Shattering or broken crust on a single bite is a hallmark of this error. I might as well have eaten a box of Saltines. Sadly, I've had this happen to me both at lower-tier faux-Neapolitan places, and a couple of top-tier Neapolitan places as well.
Uh, really? If they wanted to, the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission could be on this obvious collusion in seconds flat. It's time for a lesson in pizza antitrust.
@ Kenji: Sure, like I said, I'm sure that Danny Meyer was thinking that Shake Shack was chain material from day one. But I'm not in food journalism, so I don't know if Meyer was telling everyone to excuse the quality of the burgers in 2004 because he was trying to set it up to be on every corner in America. I would strongly doubt it. My guess is that he was trying to make the best burgers he could, even with a thought in the back of his mind that the concept may be repeatable. I mean, he went four years without a second location, so clearly they were working things out for a while. That's the attitudinal difference I'm talking about. I have no problem with White owning or investing in a chain whatsoever. I just think that he's shot himself in the foot by saying that he's not aiming for great pizza, chain or not, but rather something less. Most importantly, given all we know, he should not have set up this concept nearly in the literal shadow of Keste and Motorino.
And by the way, I'm eager to try Nicoletta, and judge the pizza for myself.
This is a really interesting piece. However, I'm deeply uncomfortable with the idea that Michael White went into this specific Nicoletta (and not the infinite more locations in the future) with the idea that this concept will be his opportunity to branch out and franchise a concept that's not Marea or similar. If I were in his shoes, I would start by trying to make the best pizza restaurant possible. From there, sure, he can tweak his recipe or the concept if future locations become possible. But to go in saying that this is a model of sorts for a future mass chain sort of kills it for me.
There are two counterexamples to what White is doing that I can think of: first, the Batali/Bastianich "Tarry Lodge" project. They started with one location in Westchester, it became a hit, and then recently they added another in suburban CT, and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they were to add more. The chemistry works, the original seems to be a hit, and people, especially nowadays, like more accessible celebrity chef food. The second example is Danny Meyer. He opened Shake Shack as a single cart in a park, and now it's becoming a successful chain.
The difference here between these guys and White is that I don't think their originals were specifically built to serve as prototypes for chains. Both Batali and, in particular, Meyer, are smart guys and surely thought that these concepts were possibly chain material in a way Del Posto or Gramercy Tavern are not - but I doubt they would have told a bunch of journalists right off the bat of their intentions. I think that changes the calculus. White should have just tried to make the best pizza he could, and then adapt that pizza to future locations if it proved successful. Doing it the other way around, I think he's just shooting himself in the foot.
I completely agree with the price/quality discussion. A dollar slice can be unbelievably overpriced, while a $5 slice can be a bargain ... all depending on quality. That said, I think for an average stop-in joint, the $2.75 average price mentioned in the post is probably the sweet spot.
While Adam is definitely right that whole pie is the way to go at Di Fara, if somehow their slices were preferable, I'd have no problem paying the $5 given the quality (though I might not do it every day). And I'm often loathe to stop into a dollar slice joint because I feel like I'm being ripped off.
This contest is akin to pitting the Yankees against the baseball teams at Fordham and a terrible Bronx public high school. Just because they are in the same neighborhood doesn't mean they play in the same league!
@Adam. I vouch for Bar's mashed potato pie - even sober! I love that garlic-y insanity. However, I'll grant you that it's a treat best enjoyed infrequently. At least if longevity is a concern.
"A lovely cheese pizza - just for me." Is there a more satisfying pizza scene in cinematic history than its role in Home Alone? That's the Pizza Cognition Theory in action right there!
I grew up eating Pepe's, Sally's, and the other staples of New Haven apizza, and I tried Pete's a couple years ago. When I was there I certainly did not expect a perfect replica, but what I ate was just plain bad pizza. These pictures look like it's improved a bit, but certainly nothing close to the real deal.
Thanks, all, for the great advice. I just got back from my Phoenix trip, and figured I'd post my experience. I ended up going on Thursday night. I arrived at Bianco's at 7, and a table for 2 had a 45 minute wait. Certainly a huge improvement. We enjoyed some antipasti and drinks at Bar Bianco (which is a great spot) to warm up. I saw Chris walking around and was concerned that since he wouldn't be manning the oven the quality would be more like Lance's first visit.
My worries came true. The crust was dry, cracker-y and burned out. No spring, and not at all up to the standards of the finest pizzas I've had (Motorino, Keste, Una Pizza) and far closer to simply average Neapolitan pizza cooked in a too-hot oven. We tried the Margherita and the Rosa. The toppings were great and the Rosa in particular is a fantastic and really fun combination - totally deserves the hype. The Margherita reminded me of Lucali.
Anyway, mediocre dough cannot save amazing toppings. I was disappointed, but perhaps someday on another trip I can try one of Chris's own pies, which I imagine are on par with the greats.
The last time a Slice post mentioned the quality was this past August in a Dear Slice column:
It was reported then to be a little bit inconsistent - but I'm be excited to finally give it a try for myself.
Thanks for the advice, tempepizzagirl and Adam. I think the plan will be to aim for Saturday lunch - and either get there just before they open, and walk right in, or sometime in the mid-afternoon, and hope that any lines have dissipated. I can't wait for the Rosa!
Absolutely vile. It's even more disgusting than when a foreign exchange student I knew in sixth grade put giant globs of ketchup on the cafeteria pizza.
Generally, most pizza restaurants fall into one of two categories: the first category is a pizza I decide on my own that I have to try based on the pizzaiolo, location, style, or something else. Of course, a lot of times, that very decision is based on news reports from Slice. For those, the eventual formal Slice review, positive or negative, would only influence how quickly I make a visit, with a negative review likely to slow down my eventual visit.
But for most pizzas, I will defer to Slice and make a decision to go based on if the reviewer has a strong negative or positive reaction.
This looks very similar to the pizza at the Liberty Tavern, just down the road, which, if memory serves, cooks their pizza out of a similar oven. Maybe the rest of the menu is fine (as it is at Liberty) or the bar scene compensates (as it also does at Liberty) but that pizza is just downright embarrassing. As the author said, Pupatella is five minutes away - if you want real pizza, no excuse not to go there.
All this, and he's a really friendly guy. I went there about a year ago while on a trip to Atlanta, and he sat with a friend and I (both pizza junkies) chatting about pizza and the process of opening the restaurant for well over an hour. His enthusiasm for pizza and care for the quality of what he was serving was obvious.
PB: I've had the pizza at Liberty on a number of occasions. While it's definitely worth trying (if for no other reason than to see how some reviewers can be so wrong) the rest of the menu is far better than the pizza. Even fresh out of the oven, the pizzas are far too crisp (cracker-y crusts coming out of a WFO!) and dried out - the opposite of how I like my Neapolitan pies. I'm baffled that they have a local reputation for exceptional pizza.
That looks like it could really use some fresh fruit as an accompaniment. Pricey, but maybe a good option if you are there with a big group.
If it's not too far north for you, Artichoke on 14th between First and Second should be your place for a slice. It is certainly one of the best in Manhattan. When I'm not in the mood for the expense or wait of Motorino, Veloce, or one of the other new-Neapolitans, Artichoke is the place for a slice. What's nice is that it represents the "new school" pizza in a lot of ways and offers a superior product, but it's really just a casual, classic slice joint. Just beware two things: the wait, which can be aggravating at random times, and sometimes the slices cross the line from char to burn in a bad way.
Post Corner Pizza in Darien, CT is the best example of this style I've ever tasted. Highly recommended.
Trend following or not, more competition in New York's Neapolitan scene can't hurt. Plus, she sounds committed to it and to learning the craft. I look forward to trying it out!