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thereuare

Pizza in New Jersey

295 posts in this topic

The relationship between the Brooklyn and Hoboken Grimaldi's is this;  Sean McHugh built the oven for Grimaldi's in Brooklyn and was asked by the owner if he wanted to join in business with him in a place in Hoboken (Since it is against regulations to build a new coal oven in Manhattan).

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There were some posts I made in another forum that have some relavance here so I am copying them here.  I hope that is not against Message Board etiquette.  Here's the first:Fat Guy,

I sent you the email below prior to realizing you had a message board associated with your site.  I have included the email below so others can read it as well.

I have been reading your reviews for a number of years now and have have tried and come to love some of your recommendations.  In particular, I headed up to Briarcliff Manor and checked out the steak at The Flame.  Although I was rushed because I arrived so late, I did enjoy the steak and the after dinner grappa (gratus).  More importantly, I have been going to Christos Hasapos-Taverna quite often with various friends and loved ones and have never gone wrong.  I visited there a few weeks ago sandwiched in between visits to Peter Luger and those visits didn't pale the flavor and tenderness of Christo's porterhouse.  And if I knew how to properly cook a steak I would go there with a cooler to stock up on the incredibly reasonably priced dry-aged porterhouse.  How can you go wrong at $11.99 a pound.  Peter Luger sells them for $133 plus $29.95 overnight shipping (only option in the drop down box) for two 38 oz steaks.

Now that I have gotten your attention, I have to ask you to lay off the vino before you go out on your pizza parlor visits.  I have been going to most, if not all of the coal oven pizzerias in the tri-state area for the past few years.  One thing that I have noticed is that they have been, contrary to your opinion, pretty consistent.  Although I agree whole-heartedly with you about the inferior quality of the East Side Totonnos,  I continue to frequent the Coney Island original and have never been disappointed.  I don't get it.  Perhaps Joel and Cookie go out of their way to make your visit unpleasant.  You certainly wouldn't be the first or last to experience that kind of treatment.  The other place that has remained top-notch is Grimaldi's.  The pies are always delicious to me.  And if you haven't had the please to experience the wonderful Irish hospitality of Sean and Bernadette at the Hoboken branch (perhaps you didn't mention it because it's in Jersey), you should get youf "Fat" behind out there in a hurry.  Just as good and consistent.  Although the cheese isn't quite the same as Totonno's or Grimaldi's, I have also regularly enjoyed the pies at Lombardi's.  I also visit Patsy's occasionally on my way to Yankee games and although their pies are very good, they certainly don't belong on the top of the list.  Especially if you don't get the fresh mozzarella.  Now the topper was the detour I took with my family to New Haven strictly on your recommendation on my way back from Boston, to visit Sally's.  Although the pizza was better than most, no way was it as good as my Holy Trinity (Totonno's, Grimaldi's Brooklyn and Hoboken).  And it certainly wasn't worth the two hour wait that we endured before we finally got to get served at 10 PM (Granted, It was a Saturday night.).  BTW, if you are ever up in Boston, and would like to sample the best fried calamari on the planet (I haved had it in Sicily, The Isle of Capri and Genoa), try the Daily Catch on Hanover and Prince.  It is an amazing little (and I do mean little) Sicilian Seafood restaurant.  I can't vouch for their other two locations though.

Now back to pizza.  Although your updated pizza reviews really rubbed me the wrong way, my faith in your opinion was greatly restored when I read your review on the Sicilian slices at L&B.  I've been going there for thirty years (I think). Truly a great Sicilian slice in a class by itself.  And the rainbow spumoni ices are a unique treasure as well.

Regards,

Paul Giannone, Warren, NJ (By way of The Borough of Churches)

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Here's Mr. Shaw's reply:Paul, who told you about my pizza-and-drinking problem? I've been trying to keep that a secret!

There is internal consistent logic to your opinions, and I mean that as a compliment. You know what you like, and you know what you don't like, and I think your pizzeria recommendations follow those preferences. I think I just happen to disagree with you fundamentally about what makes pizza good. I think the original East Harlem Patsy's stands head and shoulders abouve the other NYC thin crust joints and I think the pizza there is better if you get it without the fresh mozzarella. Likewise, as you know, I think Sally's is a lot better than Patsy's, and therefore better by a longshot than anything in New York. I doubt either one of us is being biased by inconsistency. I've been to all these places enough to be comfortable with my conclusions, and it sounds as though the same is true of you for the most part.

There's not much more I can say without wholesale repetition of what I've written already on fat-guy.com. I'd like to get to the bottom of our fundamental disagreement, but I'd have to hear more from you about why you like some pizzerias better than others. For example, what were the defects you think you detected in the Sally's pie you had? What causes you to rate Grimaldi's ahead of Patsy's? The one thing I can definitely get from your conclusions is that you like fresh mozzarella on pizza. That's a starting-point for a disagreement: I thing low-moisture mozzarella is often better in this particular application.

Taking it one day at a time . . .

--------------

Steven A. Shaw

Fat-Guy.com

eGullet Community Coordinator, New York

"You ring. We bring."

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And my response to Mr. Shaw:Fat Guy,

"...but I'd have to hear more from you about why you like some pizzerias better than others."

There is a special quality of the crust at Totonnos that I find unique and rustic.  When you examine the bottom of a slice there is sort of an uneven, slightly charred, slightly powdery "landscape".  Although it is not the thinnest crust, it's texture acts very favorably on my palette.  The only way to describe it is to compare it to the bottom of a bialy, which the outter crust in general reminds me of.  Being of Italian and Jewish heritage, perhaps that is why I am partial to it.  When I go to Totonnos I usually eat a whole pie, but I only eat two thirds of each slice, bringing home the crusts and a bit of the slices that have sauce and cheese. I stick them in the toaster oven in the morning to have for breakfast.  Joel has suggested breaking the crust into smaller pieces and frying it up with eggs, but I have yet to try that.  As I had indicated and you have acknowledged, I do strongly prefer fresh mozzarella, which I find especially tasty at Grimaldi's as well as Totonnos.  As with L&B, Totonno also sprinkles on a small amount of grated cheese of some kind that contrasts well with the sweetness of the sauce.  I have spoken with Joel about the freshness and high quality of the tomatoes that he grinds each day and I think that his attention in that area has added to the quality of the pie.  Although the crust at Grimaldi's is not quite as "rustic", I enjoy the pies there almost as much as Totonno's because they have a very fresh taste.  I especially enjoy the considerable amount of fresh basil used by Sean in Hoboken.

"...what were the defects you think you detected in the Sally's pie you had?"

I did enjoy the uneven presentation, but the cheese wasn't to my liking.  Again a fundemental difference in preference.  And although it has nothing to do with the quality of the pie, the wait was quite intolerable.  When I have to wait two hours beyond being hungry, when I finally sit down I am full of stress from the lack of food that no meal can easily tame.

"What causes you to rate Grimaldi's ahead of Patsy's?"

Freshness of the cheese and sauce.  Although I request the fresh mozzarella at Patsy's, it does not seem to be as fresh as either Totonno's or Grimaldis.  In addition the sauce seems a little "pastie".  The sauce in my Holy Trinity appears to simply be ground San Marzano tomatoes.  That again could be a matter of taste, but I much prefer the "Al Naturale" approach.

BTW, I always order my pies with no topping.

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If anyone is interested in very good white clam pizza in New Jersey, you can venture down to the Chambersburg section of Trenton and try it at "Delorenzo's Tomato Pies" on HAMILTON ST.  The white clam pies at the Hudson street establishment of the same name (I think it's the same family, but not the same business) is not as good.

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No one likes Sciortino's at 395 New Brunswick Ave., Perth Amboy?  They have some of the best brick oven-baked pizza in NJ.  Place is ran by a group of older Italian women.  Home made sauce.  The sausage one is to die for.  Not your usual junk pieces of sliced sausage but real crumbled sausage.  Tasty.  Just be careful of your surroundings :)


"Who made you the reigning deity on what is an interesting thread and what is not? " - TheBoatMan

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Yes, I've been to Sciortino's a couple of times and enjoyed their pies.  I didn't think they stood up to Grimaldi's though.

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Since we're beginning to go a little south, i will mention that i recently tried Conte's in Princeton.

I was fairly disappointed in their pie, although i will admit that it was take-out and we had a 20 minute drive to get home before we ate it.

Next time i will surely venture to Delorenzo's as it's the other "known" pizza place in that area.

Also, although it belongs on the NY Board, i also recently tried Nick's in Forest Hills.  Although "good", it certainly is NOT worth all the hype it receives.

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what about plumbo's in old bridge now they got a decent pie over there

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If anyone is interested in very good white clam pizza in New Jersey, you can venture down to the Chambersburg section of Trenton and try it at "Delorenzo's Tomato Pies" on HAMILTON ST.  The white clam pies at the Hudson street establishment of the same name (I think it's the same family, but not the same business) is not as good.

But...  Hudson Street has Hamilton beat on all the other pies.

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My favorite NJ Pizza is Fort Lee Pizza.  You can't beat the thin crust.  Anyone agree?

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For those down the shore, Regina Pizzeria in Atlantic Highlands makes a very good pie, both thin and thick crust. When I order out I always tell them well done and get there a few minutes to tell the old man manning the oven to make sure it's well done. He is one of the few who is still fussy about his product and will make sure you have good blistering and a bit of char on that crust. Only downside is that the cheese is not as good as the sause and crust. If you eat in, the pizzeria is also a good sit down Italian-American restaurant.

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Since this thread was resurrected, i will add a slightly off topic reply and add that i recently went to Denino's in Staten Island, and i think it's the best pizza in the tri-state area, and perhaps the best i've ever had!

Still have a few more on the list of "must try" which includes some place i was just tipped off about in Coney Island, Totonno's, and still yet to get to DeLorenzo's in Trenton, but i'll put it on my New Year's Resolution list if i don't do it within a few months.

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Brooklyn Pizza in Ridgewood and Hackensack

Nellie's in Waldwick

Carmen's Pizzeria (a.k.a. Pete and Elda's) in Neptune City

Maria's Colonial Inn in Manasquan

Squan Tavern in Manasquan

Jimmy's Restaurant in Asbury Park

3 Brothers of Italy in Belmar

Vic's Restaurant in Bradley Beach

All solid pies, but the best by far is Carmen's Pizzeria. Arguably the best thin crust in New Jersey.

The Man, The Myth

TapItorScrapIt.com

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Since this thread was resurrected, i will add a slightly off topic reply and add that i recently went to Denino's in Staten Island, and i think it's the best pizza in the tri-state area, and perhaps the best i've ever had!

What style of pie do they serve at Denino's? If it's thin crust, my next question would be if you've been to Sally's Apizza in New Haven? The ingredients they use for everything there are just sooooooo good. The only thing I think they could do better would be to put some "oomph" into their sauce.

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First time I've seen this thread. I want to put my vote in for Pizza Town on RT 46 west in Lodi. Great slices! They always seem to be fres( not oxidized) thin crust, tart sauce and lite cheese. You can't get any extras on a slice, but you can on a whole pie. I think the place was an old Westons that they added a screened dining area with picnic tables.


I'm a NYC expat. Since coming to the darkside, as many of my freinds have said, I've found that most good things in NYC are made in NJ.

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I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Federici's in Freehold. Very good thin crust pizza with lots of different toppings available. In this year's NJ Monthly poll, it was voted best pizza in Central NJ, and Springsteen used to eat here and, maybe, on occasion, still does -- if either of these things matters. In nice weather, you can enjoy your pizza sitting on the sidewalk patio.

Another place for well-made thin crust pizza, including "designer" pizzas, is Gaetano's, in Red Bank. Excellent antipasti and pasta, as well.

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201,

Denino's pie is not thick crust, but it's not wafer thin either... i would say it's slightly thinner than the "traditional pizza slice on the corner" i grew up with (remember the days when it was just "pizza" and not Neopolitan, thin crust, traditional, fresh mozzarella, spinach, etc).

Besides quality ingredients (a delightful sweet sauce), i think what makes their pies so incredible is that the crust gets crispy and actually crunches when you bite into it, without being too thin. I think Grimali's makes a very good pie, but the problem i have with all of this variety is that the crust gets soggy once you're done with the first 2 slices (if you eat fast)... this doesn't happen at Denino's, the crust stays crunchy throught the entire pie, no matter how slowly you eat. The entire operation is family run, and i like that aspect too.

Another plus about Denino's is after pizza, you can go across the street to Ralph's for dessert (great Italian ices, but they also offer a "creamed ice" which i had never heard of before and this was FANTASTIC.... but this is for another thread).

As for Sally's, we tried to go once on our way up to Mystic, CT and they were closed for vacation so we ended up at Pepe's down the road. While the pizza was not bad, i didn't understand the whole cult following around New Haven pizza. There is often a battle between whose pie is better between Pepe's and Sally's, and if they are both close in quality/taste, i didn't see the need to try the other one. I will certainly give it another try when in the area, but a little far to travel just to "give it another try", and thus far i haven't been back in the area.

Give Denino's a try and i'm certain you won't be disappointed... it's less than 5 minutes from the Bayonne Bridge and probably 10 minutes or so if you take the Goethal's (traffic permitting of course).

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As for Sally's, we tried to go once on our way up to Mystic, CT and they were closed for vacation so we ended up at Pepe's down the road.  While the pizza was not bad, i didn't understand the whole cult following around New Haven pizza.  There is often a battle between whose pie is better between Pepe's and Sally's, and if they are both close in quality/taste, i didn't see the need to try the other one.  I will certainly give it another try when in the area, but a little far to travel just to "give it another try", and thus far i haven't been back in the area.

I've been to both Sally's and Frank Pepe's and I really feel that Sally's is better. It's subtle, but the crust is just tastier, the cheese seems more flavorful, etc. Pepe's just didn't leave the same impression on me. However, I completely sympathize with you about not understanding "the whole cult following around New Haven pizza". I travel to Boston pretty frequently (from 6-12 times a year) so I like to stop in every now and then for some pizza when I'm passing through New Haven during the 5 hour window that these places are open. It's definitely worth a stop if you're in the mood for thin crust pizza, but I wouldn't base an entire trip around it.

Denino's sounds like it's interesting though. I think I'd enjoy it because I like to order my "traditional" pies to be a little bit well done so that the crust is crispier. Generally speaking, I'm only in Staten Island when I'm passing through to see friends in Bensonhurst (at which point I'd choose to head over to L&B Spumoni Gardens), but I may make the stop at Denino's if you give me an address.

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Patsy's in Harlem, not the bad chains, is the best in NYC in my opinion. Deninos is probably second because it is really consistant while other good pies like the Original John's or Totonnos are great one day and mediocre the next. Pepe's has the best clam pie, the regular pie is better than most but not to Pasty's standards. Lombardis also makes a very good clam pie.

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Deninos Pizzeria Tavern

524 Port Richmond Avenue

Staten Island, NY 10302

718-442-9401

As i've stated before, i WILL travel for pizza, and if journeying to a new area for another reason, i often find out if there is "destination pizza" in the area... this is how i ended up at L+B Spumoni Gardens one nite.

I thought the pizza at L+B was 'fair' but that the spumoni was exceptional (i don't think i ever had true spumoni before this). I've heard L+B has been sold and isn't as good as it used to be, although i don't know the validity to this, and i don't know if it is true, if i was there before the changing of owners. Also, i was reminded of L+B when i went to Denino's the first time as we went to Ralph's across the street for dessert, so it had the nostagia of a "pizza and ice cream" nite.

If you typically order your pizzas a little well done for crispiness reasons, you won't need to do this at Denino's, and i would recommend you don't as you might very well end up with a burnt pie.

If you like what i refer to as "ultra-thin crust" i would also suggest Kinchley's Tavern in Mahwah, which might be convenient depending upon where in "201" you are (Kinchley's is great, but it's no comparison to Denino's).

Since you might ask anways...

Kinchley's Tavern

586 N. Franklin Tpke. (Spring St.)

Ramsey, NJ, 07446-1182

(201) 934-7777

PS- since you make the NY/Boston Trip often, have you ever stopped off at Ted's Restaurant for steamed burgers? It's a "fun" hole in the wall spot with an interesting (and dirt cheap) stop along the way, i gave a write-up a few months back i think in both the burger thread in this forum as well as on the CT board, try a search in each using my name if you have an interest.

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Pizza Master's is a slice place. 532 Broadway. I also like their foccacia sandwiches.

Hey Rosie...

Who told you about their foccacia sandwiches? :rolleyes: someone we know?

Randi


"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best --" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. - A.A. Milne

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If you like what i refer to as "ultra-thin crust" i would also suggest Kinchley's Tavern in Mahwah, which might be convenient depending upon where in "201" you are (Kinchley's is great, but it's no comparison to Denino's).

PS- since you make the NY/Boston Trip often, have you ever stopped off at Ted's Restaurant for steamed burgers?

I've been a long-time fan of Kinchley's, but unfortunately I'm not a fan of steamed burgers. Thanks for Denino's address and the suggestions though.

I enjoy L&B Spumoni gardens quite a bit, but I don't travel exclusively to get there since I'm not the sort who would travel very far for pizza (working in a pizzeria for 3 years can sometimes have that effect). I wish there was a place around here where I could get the same style of Sicillian pie that they serve there (dough, cheese, sauce... layered in that order). Anybody got any ideas?

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THE LIDO THE LIDO THE LIDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Main Street in Hackensack,

Very thin crust served in a dark and dingy setting, no delivery, no call in orders, but man is the pizza amazing.

This is the only place I go to get pizza.

I usually get a medium pie as an app and the sliced steak as an entree mmmmmmmmmmm

THE LIDO THE LIDO THE LIDO!!!!


The best part of the Guiniea Pig? The Cheeks! Definately the cheeks!!

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You get the idea that Fink's excited about this place? :wink:

Seriously Fink, I'm gonna try it eventually ('cause I know you recommended it to me before) ... but I've got to be in a pizza mood AND I've got to remember the name of the place once I'm in that mood.

Of course, this helps:

THE LIDO THE LIDO THE LIDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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