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DiFara Pizza


Pan
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Same sign still on the door as of 9:05 am today.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Still closed, same sign in window as of 9:15 am today.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Let's give Dom time to heal. If he's got an injury in his foot, it'll take a while for him to get back on the job, given the amount of standing he does in his workday. If someone could please update when he reopens, that would be great.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Last evening at 5:30 there were a few people in the place - looked as though they were cleaning. This morning a new sign appeared - we will be open "in a few more days."

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Same sign as Friday, but a new development. There was a bread delivery sitting outside the shop at 8:45 this morning. If there's bread, it may be opening today.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Good news. I was starting to get concerned that I might never get to try DiFara's.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 4 weeks later...

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Finally made it over to DiFara, and it was absolutely worth the trip. (OK, I was already in Brooklyn, but I might make the trip from Philly just for another pizza this good!)

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The flavors and textures were amazing, but equaly impressive was just watching zen-master Dom do his thing.

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Fresh oregano was adorning each pizza this evening, just before the final scattering of grated cheese.

We ordered half artichoke, half mushroom, and it was a thing of beauty

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The Artichoke side got a touch more char than might have been ideal, with a few inches of one edge approaching pure carbon, but that was a small price to pay for the otherwise perfect crust.

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95 percent of the crust was just exactly as I like it, with an assertive char, good tensile strength, but still a bit soft and chewy, not crisped-out like a cracker.

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Some of the artichoke side got a little soggy and floppy, but it's understandable given the density of the toppings, and the good olive oil pooling on top. The artichokes were fresh and tender and roasty - just delicious, and elevated the flavors to another level.

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And hey, if some of that good oil escaped onto the pan, it's getting mopped-up with pieces of crust. (And yes, that's some of the approximately 347 napkins I went through trying to keep oil off the Nikon)

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The Mushroom side maintained its structural integrity a lot better, and had a nice contrasting flavor, obviously more subtle, allowing the sauce and cheese to shine. I had a hard time deciding which I preferred, but my dining partner came down assertively in the artichoke camp.

We both agreed that it was an excellent pizza, and worth the wait, and the $21.

We hadn't really thought about beverages, so my friend did a reconnaissance around the neighborhood, and given that we were in The Glatt Zone (as a nearby business is named) I shouldn't have been surprised that she returned with an Israeli Pinot Noir:

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It was a very nice wine, went well with the pizza, and thankfully DiFara has good stemware:

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The setting and pace could be a little off-putting to some, it's a very small, basic place, and gets pretty messy out at the tables, and well, you just need to not be too uptight about that. And the pizzas get made at Dom's quiet, methodical pace, so don't be in a hurry. It probably took about 20 minutes just to be acknowledged, and allowed to order, but that didn't really bother us, we were somewhat hypnotized, standing at the counter, watching the process unfold.

All-in-all a great experience, and one I'm hoping to repeat soon. It's a thrill to be able to so closely observe someone who's mastered his craft, and enjoy the results of that mastery.

(note: props to my dining partner who snapped about half of the above pictures, including that great one of Dom snipping the oregano onto the pizza...)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I'm glad you liked the pizza, and thank you for the pictures. It's great to see Dom at work again. I'm so glad he got over his foot injury!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Great report, Jeff! I am not proud to admit that I have yet to sample a pizza from DiFara's despite the fact that I grew up in Brooklyn. Alas, I don't get back there too much anymore, but I will have to make a special effort to get there.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some new DiFara shots, and a four minute video (85MB, Flash, Off The Broiler)

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Storefront

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Mozzarella di Bufala, used in combination with low moisture mozzarela and parmigianno reggiano.

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A cheese pie just out of the oven

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A square pie being prepped.

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Basil plants on the windowsill

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Dom sauces a pie

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Baby Artichoke slice closeup

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Sausage and Porcini

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Porcini Closeup

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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  • 9 months later...

According to seriouseats.com DiFara's pizza is one of the latest victims of the NYC DOH's new found zeal for at least temporarily closing restaurants. DiFara's is supposedly closed for a number of "little things" like not wearing a hat or gloves.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Unfortunately, all three times I visited there was a problem with creatures walking on the wall. I realize it's the city and there'e little you can do about that, but it's a bit disconcerting to share your lunch with uninvited guests.

Cleanliness is obviously not their forte. I'm sure this is just a wake-up call.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tried Di Fara's for the first time last night, so they're obviously back in business (I think that's been said in some other thread, but not this one).

The main thing I have to add to this thread is that the expected wait time can be even more ridiculous than has been conveyed. I got there when there were only a few others there, and still had to wait about 45 minutes for the two slices I ordered. It seems Dom was only cooking two pies at a time, one round, one square .. and sometimes when I'd think I had a claim to the round one coming out of the oven, it would turn out to be for a phone order. The scary thing is that it appeared there were people that had to wait even longer than me ... when I left, there must have been a dozen people waiting, many of them for multiple pies, and Dom was still cooking them two at a time.

As for the food, it's unquestionably the best by-the-slice place I've ever been to, and by a huge margin. Still, it hardly seems like a fair comparison to compare a slice you have to wait 45 minutes for (and comes right out of the oven) to a slice from a place that you can count on to get you a slice within a minute or two.

The crust was thicker than most other NYC style places, sort of similar to Arturo's I guess. The excess oil and cheese makes a mess, as others have noted, but that's nothing I can't handle. :)

Edited by chetlemon (log)
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  • 1 month later...
Eater reports that the DOH has shuttered DiFara again.

I haven't posted on eGullet for months but this situation required me putting in my opinion. I have been involved consulting about so called "Health Department" corruption, inspections and ridiculous interpretations of enforcement criteria.

Almost everywhere we observed food service workers utilizing plastic gloves by generally wearing one pair for a full shift, including toilet stops. Many employers complain if they are charged frequently.

Majority of competent, experienced chefs still use their fingers to test for done, (gloves melt), prepare mixtures for preparation, and are often needed when doing anything so-called artesian. Imagine wearing gloves while throwing and shaping a pizza or even putting cheese that sliced or topping effectively with gloves, snipping basil, filleting or boning fish, close trimming anything.

It would make some sense for do gooders to insist that any place actually touching the foods served, have this posted on the menu's or where it is visible to customers.

Anything obvious is the this place was deliberately singled out for harassment. Just look at the number of inspection visits. Generally most inspectors are only able to visit places in their area several times a year, monthly spells corruption. (not unusual in NYC) or go after that place. There are very few business in NYC of any type without rodent infestation. Why not get after Landlords since almost 100 % of business are rental units in multi-unit buildings. How many freestanding places are located in NYC? Pest control with seasonal changes occurs everywhere in the properties, with nearby construction prevalent increases the conditions.

How about Parks, Subways and public areas everywhere in NYC being held to the same standards. Subway toilets are a good example. (UCK) I'm aware of Federal, City and State Buildings with major problems.

It would be realistic to provide some room for business to keep traditions that have been effective for years without any incidents occurring. Chinese Restaurants need to use fans for drying and handing items to effectively prepare them to customers satisfaction as done for more years then I can count. In 2007 it must be done insidiously. The reality is most problems start at Inspections where government inspectors are actually paid for my the provisioner's. Most of the demands and violations are generally a accumulation of small, minor offenses that are very short time in nature, due to the time frame in prepping and serving customers. Almost every place pre-opening or upon closing is in compliance.

Tempertures of products, how they are being heated, covered, insects? Have you ever been someplace when termites are hatching ? I agree that certain things are very wrong, but find nothing that would require closing a place like DeFara Pizza for the reasons cited.

Could be that the health department intends to require that restaurants pay to have a inspector on the premises during business hours to increase employment and expenses to customers. At least many Kosher operations have a Rabbi supervisor.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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I think there is a thread around here somewhere about the ridiculousness of the current DOH crackdown.

That said, I have to wonder whether the continued scrutiny of DiFara is due to perceived "defiance" on the part of the owner, who has been quoted saying things like, "they say I've gotta wear gloves now—and a hat . . . I'd only wear a hat if I were bald. I'd rather pay the fine than wear the hat."

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Interesting timeline of DiFara's recent DOH involvement on Eater:

6/04/07 - Failed inspection with 51 points - Closed

5/30/07 - Failed inspection, 77 points

4/02/07 - Passed re-opening inspection

3/23/07 - Failed re-opening inspection

3/23/07 - Failed re-opening inspection

3/15/07 - Failed inspection 89 points - Closed

4/18/06 - Passed inspection with 21 points

2/23/06 - Failed inspection

1/06/06 - Failed inspection

7 failed inspections in 5 months is pretty bad. And the first two failed inspections came before the current DOH crackdown (the "KFC rats" video was posted on youtube on February 23).

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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