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NYC Pizza Survey


slkinsey
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I enjoyed meeting you, too, kurl!

I wasn't disturbed by the amount of sauce. It was very tasty sauce. And the mushroom flavor on that mushroom pizza was wonderful! Plus, the crust, though of moderate thickness, tasted very good. If Totonno's was in my hood, I'd go at least twice a week.

Overall, I like both Grimaldi's and DiFara's better - Grimaldi's for the overall quality of the thin-crusted pizza and their lovely fennely sausages (the sausage at Totonno's was tasty but though I at first thought it was comparable to Grimaldi's, I ultimately think it feel pretty clearly short), and DiFara's for their truly special toppings like baby artichokes, porcini, baby eggplants, and so forth. And the regular slice at the East Harlem Patsy's is also delicious.

But I have to say that atmosphere counts for something, and I don't think I've ever experienced a nicer atmosphere in an American pizzeria than I did this afternoon at Totonno's. It's owned by a family that's proud, friendly, and talkative; they don't rush you out; they give you excellent service; and it wasn't crushed with customers (though I guess it would be in the summer). And the walls reminded me of Katz's, with all the pictures of the family and of celebrities endorsing the pizza, historical events that have happened since the opening 80 years ago, and press clippings.

On food alone, at this point, my ranking of the "big 5" is DiFara's, Grimaldi's, Totonno's, Patsy's, and at a distant 5 - falling out of the rankings - Lombardi's. The reason I rank Totonno's over Patsy's is pretty clear: Their toppings are immensely superior by comparison. All of the toppings we had today were good. The primary flavor of the pepperoni was a strong bite of hot pepper, but I felt that had a good effect as an accompaniment to the sauce. The plain pizza was delicious, even if probably inferior to Patsy's. And the white and mushroom pizze were terrific. By contrast, Patsy's does one thing fantastically, but don't get any toppings when you go there.

I've never really debated the naysayers or gotten into why Totonno's is my personal favorite, so as not to color the results (as if my opinion weighed that heavily :rolleyes::laugh: ) but Pan, you've summed it up quite nicely and I completely agree with your assessment.

You can argue crust and ingredients and such among the top few places, but Totonno's intangible atmospheric vibe, coming consistently from the place and the people (even on extremely busy summer days), shoves it to the top of my personal list.

I'm glad that everyone, so far anyway, seems to have enjoyed themselves. Shoulda called in sick :laugh:

:smile:

Jamie

See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

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Fat Guy, I somewhat disagree with you that Totonno's is in a completely different category than DiFara's. Joseph B said that Totonno's is sort of akin to DiFara's with a coal oven, and I think there's some substance to that. Their crust is thicker than the Patsy's/Grimaldi's crust, and there's more sauce on the pizza. But of course DiFara's toppings blow away Totonno's, though the latter's toppings were good, especially the white and mushroom pizze.

And I think we simply have to agree to disagree about sauce. In no way do I feel like the amount of sauce on the pizza at Totonno's makes it other than excellent pizza.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I think the key distinction between the 4 and the 1 isn't coal versus gas but, rather, stone/brick versus metal. The properties of a metal oven are so fundamentally different from those of a stone (I'll use stone as shorthand for any kind of high-mass retained-heat oven) oven that the pizza just isn't being cooked the same way, which is why in turn I don't think you have comparable products emerging. A pizza at DiFara's cooks for, what, 3, 4 or 5 times as long as a pizza at any of the stone oven places? That represents a lot more than the difference between, say, 500 and 750 degrees. Those numbers tell only part of a story that involves complex issues of conduction, convection, radiation, thermal capacity, etc. In the end, I think the approaches just produce a different kind of crust with a different capacity for toppings. DiFara's has a crust that has more of the properties of bread. And DiFara's has better toppings, to be sure, than the others, but the toppings are also cooking long and slow compared to the blast-furnace approach of the others -- so even identical toppings would taste quite different.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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- Putting DiFara's in the big 5 grouping is somewhat idiosyncratic. The other 4 members of the group are serving one species of pizza, and DiFara's is serving another. The way I see it, the 4 non-DiFara's pizzerias in question are at or near the top of one hierarchy, while DiFara's is number 1 in a different hierarchy.

Oh, I agree that it's in a different heirarchy, and I also agree that it's probably going to end up on top in terms of gas fired traditional oven pizza. I think our idea of the "big five" was simplyto get an baseline idea of what the so-called highest quality pizza is in the City predicated on overall reputation: these are the five places that are most frequently held forth as having "the best pizza in New York." That four out of the five were coal fired places is more or less a coincidence (well, it's perhaps less coincidental considering that it's NYC). I agree, however, that it makes most sense to directly compare like-pizza to like-pizza, and in that sense both Di Fara and Giorgione go into different categories from Patsy's, Totonno's, et al.

- Would it be possible for someone to assemble a master list of what pies were sampled at what pizzerias? Some of the emerging consensus here is, I think, predicated on unlike sampling.

For me the survey up to this point has been more one of evaluating the crusts, how they are balanced against the toppings and how the toppings effect the crust (80% of overall importance, IMO). That evaluation is relatively independent of the specific topping featured, IMO. There is no luxury topping that, in my opinion, can be so wonderful as to trump the quality and characteristics of the crust. Beyond that, I think we tended to go with the experience of the people who seemed to be the most familiar with the pizzerie in question when deciding on specific toppings. That said, it's hard to gain any kind of true impression of the pizzerie, especially with respect to their relative merits, without multiple visits and direct like-pizza to like-pizza comparison, I agree. Ultimately it comes down to what is more important to the diner, and I think our groups have reflected a fairly wide spectrum of priorities and preferences.

- I'm shocked -- shocked -- that alacarte was the only surveyor to express a strong preference for low-moisture over fresh mozzarella. I'm doubly shocked to see fresh mozzarella described as more flavorful -- I simply can't think of any measure of flavor by which that would be true. . . . The low-moisture alternative, which has had some time to develop, presents more flavor across the spectrum, as far as I'm concerned. It also melts to a more desirable texture.

I think there is a bit of a semantic confusion here. Fresh mozzarella may be either full moisture or low moisture. The moisture content is not necessarily dependent on the freshness of the cheese. Totonno's makes their own cheese -- you can't get any fresher than that -- and it is low moisture.

As for the flavor of the two different styles of mozzarella... mozzarella is a bland cheese, no matter how it is made, compared to the other toppings on a pizza. For me, mozzarella should be largely a textural and mouthfeel element of the pizza, and a bland respite from the more assertive flavors of the tomato and other toppings (and none of these should detract from the crust). Again, however, it all depends on what is important to the diner. Perhaps a strong preference for low-mousture mozzarella reflects a more topping-centric viewpoint than my own. For me, getting a lot of flavor out of the cheese is not my primary goal and I welcome the creamy blandness. I also do not appreciate the "cooked" flavor low moisture mozzarella develops after all the moisture evaporates and it browns under the intense heat of the oven.

That said, I have yet to experience a pizza in NYC that is as austere and zen-like in its use of ingredients as I would prefer. I'd be interested to see what Patsy's could do with full-moisture mozzarella if I could talk them into putting 50% of the regular amount of sauce and cheese on the pizza.

AFAIK, Patsy's was the only place we visited that used 100% full-moisture cheese on (some of) the pizzas, and I liked the cheese on these better than Patsy's pizza made with low-moisture cheese. I'm not sure I'd feel that way if we had combined full-moisture mozzarella with other toppings, though.

- That you need to time your visits to Grimaldi's so carefully in order to get pizza that doesn't suck is, to me, inexcusable. That indicates a level of incompetence so high that noplace with such practices deserves to be on a big-4 or even big-1000 list.

Again... clearly the "big 5" list is predicated on reputation rather than actual results. The overall low quality at Lombardi's demonstrates that most emphatically.

As for Grimaldi's... While I do agree that the timing issues at Grimaldi's are a downgrade and feel that there is no rational exuse for this lapse on their part, there are plenty of other restaurants for which we accept similar quirks. The fact is that, if you know what you're doing, it is possible to go to Grimaldi's and fairly reliably get an outstanding pizza. But you have to know what you're doing.

- Kurl made reference to wet pies at Totonno's. Also inexcusable. These people are supposed to be professional pizza bakers. What possible excuse could they have for such a deficiency in the majority of the pies they serve? This is one of several reasons I think Totonno's falls short of its inflated reputation.

While the wetness of the toppings at Totonno's is not my particular style of preference, I don't think they're doing it by mistake. I think it's Totonno's style, and for whatever it's worth it doesn't seem to interfere with the quality of the crust (with the exception of the mushroom pizza, where the mushrooms had exuded a lot of liquid and it did maye the tips of the slices soggy). The pizze at Totonno's were no more wet than, for example, the pizze at Di Fara. Does this mean that they don't deserve the "best pizza in New York/no place is better/no place comes close" hype? It's a moot point, because none of them deserve it None stands head and shoulders above the competition. But, based on my one visit I'd say that Totonno's deserves to be held in very high esteem as one of the best pizzerie in New York. If you don't want a pie with relatively wet toppings, don't go to Totonno's. Hey... if you don't want a pie with a 50% charred crust, don't go to Patsy's. I'm not going to tell Patsy's that cooking their pizze that way is inexcusable, though -- and it's not just because I don't want to wind up with some guy holding my hand in the oven.

My own experience in terms of comparing the four coal-oven places we visited is that the crusts are distinctively different but all very high quality among Grimaldi's, Patsy's and Totonno's. Lombardi's first pizza was outstanding, but the others were terrible. Totonno's, for me, comes in third. I'm not sure I could pick a clear winner betweeen the other two. Grimaldi's crust had, to my palate, a better tasting crust that stood up well to the tooth. It is more "wheatey" tasting, and the flavor of the crust is well balanced with the oven char. Patsy's crust is hands-down the lightest crust of all, and very tender. But the flavor tended to be a little one-note compared to Grimaldi's and was dominated by the char. For me, it's like choosing between Jennifer Tilley and Jennifer Garner. Can't I have both?

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I just got back from a great weekend of eating in the Big Apple that started off with a bang at Totonno's. Unfortunately, I can't weigh in on the comparisons with the other pizzerie. All I can say is that the pizze at Totonn'os were damn good. I wouldn't throw it off my plate for spilling a drop of tomato sauce. The ingredients were all high-quality and it showed. The mozzarella at Totonn's is house made. We even got to sample some raw. It was very good mozzarella.

I will have some photos of this event and others later on after I go to my son's baseball game.

I also had a blast seeing some old eGullet friends as well as meeting some new ones. It was a great crew of people. I also managed to meet my sister and brother there. They also enjoyed meeting the eGullet crew.

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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All right, already! The delay in posting photos is my fault since I'm the one who took them this time. This comes from having spent a wonderful food-oriented weekend in NYC, and I do mean wonderful. Anyway, I had a few things to catch up on, but now here they are, such as they are.

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The shop window - nice and to the point.

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The pizzaioli in action in front of the oven. They were very friendly and helpful.

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House made mozzarella - sliced and ready to go.

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The coal fire. The oven is touted to reach a temp of about 900 degrees.

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The legendary and quite delicious PCP (Plain Cheese Pie)

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Nice char.

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Although the focus on the slice could be better, this photo illustrates the crisp crust on the PCP. The tip stays erect for a longtime before it becomes soggy and flaccid.

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Wonderfully garlicky Pizza Bianca (PB)

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PB char.

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Crust bubbles signifying the quick bake.

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pepperoni

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Sausage

Unfortunately, somehow I missed getting a picture of the mushroom pies. I must have been too busy eating :biggrin:

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This photo gives a sense of the neighborhood and family feel of the pizzeria.

I will post other photos of the day's continued festivities on a separate thread.

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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I'll weigh in to confirm that the pizza was good and the company even better. I could easily justify another day of playing hooky and a four hour drive to NYC for more such outings in the future. Having no idea in advance of what anyone looked like, I was a bit surprised to see two guys standing outside when I arrived who looked like they were waiting for me. Either or both looked as though they could step right into a role as part of Tony Soprano's crew :biggrin: but they were just neighborhood guys - the eGulleteers were already deep into their first pies.

It was great to meet all - I had more time to chat with some than others but what a treat it was to connect the real with the virtual.

The pies: the white pie was at the top of my list and those with multiple toppings at the bottom, mostly due to the wetness factor (I was not totally enamored of their sausage but that's personal preference). I also thought the first plain cheese pies were better than those on the second round but all told, it was damn good pie. The char on the crust is excellent - very flavorful. I haven't been to any of the other places tried on previous pizza survey visits but hope to visit Di Fara's next time I'm in NYC.

What would I like different? I wish the top outer edge of the crust was a bit less cooked but that's just personal preference and I suspect it can't be done in this style of oven. I had some good pie at the UES Totnno's a few years ago (contrary to the experiences of many other people) but their pie was a bit underdone. I'd love to try some that's in between the two. As for a friendly and welcoming atmosphere - it just doesn't get any better than Totonno's in Coney Island.

By the way.... those eGulleteers can eat a lot - especially jjgoode!!!

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Check out this thread for the further adventures of the NYC Pizza Survey.

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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I think there is a bit of a semantic confusion here. Fresh mozzarella may be either full moisture or low moisture. The moisture content is not necessarily dependent on the freshness of the cheese. Totonno's makes their own cheese -- you can't get any fresher than that -- and it is low moisture.

Theoretically you can have the various permutations, but those Totonno's photos don't depict what looks like low-moisture mozzarella. A good rule of thumb is that it's low moisture if you can run it over a grater without clogging it.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I think there is a bit of a semantic confusion here.  Fresh mozzarella may be either full moisture or low moisture.  The moisture content is not necessarily dependent on the freshness of the cheese.  Totonno's makes their own cheese -- you can't get any fresher than that -- and it is low moisture.

Theoretically you can have the various permutations, but those Totonno's photos don't depict what looks like low-moisture mozzarella. A good rule of thumb is that it's low moisture if you can run it over a grater without clogging it.

Hmmm... if that's the standard, then I revise my earlier statement. That said, this was nowhere near as "wet" as truly fresh (e.g., <1 day old) mozzarella that's just been plucked out of the water. When we tasted some of the cheese raw, it had what I perceived as a distinctly dry texture, but none of the rubbery texture I associate with mozzarella that's grateable to the extent your example implies.

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If you're talking federal standards, you can have the driest example of full-moisture (52-60 percent moisture) and the wettest example of low-moisture (45-52 percent moisture) and they can be 1 percentage point of moisture apart -- virtually indistinguishable. But in normal pizza-cheese language I think low-moisture is usually close to 45 percent and regular is usually in the high 50s -- and that makes a really big difference. The photo isn't enough to go on, but impressionistically what I see is a fairly wet, glossy-looking cheese that has the flexibility, softness, and open texture I'd expect of full-moisture mozzarella.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I would concur that this mozzarella is not nearly so low-moisture as most mozzarelle used for pizza in this country, but then with an oven as hot as that one, it doesn't have to be as the moisture evaporates very quickly. This is why most true Neapolitan pizze get away with using fresh mozzarella di bufala without getting soggy, or so that was explained to me in Naples at the Slow Food Congress last November.

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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Yea, hard to say. Having tasted it raw, Totonno's is definitely the dryest full-moisture mozzarella I've ever seen. When he offered me a piece, I was very surprised at how dry it was. In my experience, full-moisture mozzarella is wet to the extent that liquid will exude from the cheese when it is sliced or squeezed, and it is difficult-to-impossible to slice thinly. However, as you suggest, it may be that it is simply at the lower end of "full-moisture." Totonno's was within the realm of something I would eat raw (if just barely), while the standard (presumably low-moisture) "pizza cheese" is something I would never eat raw.

If this rubbery-when-raw pizza cheese is what we mean by "low-moisture mozzarella," can there be such a thing as "fresh low-moisture mozzarella?" The other question I would have is whether there is, in fact, such a thing as "low-moisture mozzarella." I am unclear as to the difference between low-moisture mozzarella and scamorza, among other varieties of firm, salty pasta filata cheeses.

If Totonno's mozzarella is "high-moisture" (and there seems to be an agreement that it is) then Patsy's is the only coal-oven place we visited that doesn't use high-moisture cheese.

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In US cheesemaking nomenclature, mozzarella and scamorza are synonymous.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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In US cheesemaking nomenclature, mozzarella and scamorza are synonymous.

It is? Says who?

The US standards for mozzarella (not that the USDA has any authority in classifying Italian cheeses, nind you) may be found here (warning: pdf). Relevant information is:

  • Mozzarella cheese: 52% - 60% moisture and > 45% milkfat
  • Low-moisture Mozzarella cheese: 45% - 52% moisture and >45% milkfat
  • Part-skim Mozzarella cheese: 52% - 60% moisture and 30% - 45% milkfat
  • Low-moisture Part-skim Mozzarella cheese: 45% - 52% moisture and and 30% - 45% milkfat

I agree that scamorza is corresponds to what we would call "low-moisture mozzarella," although scamorza is in general much better quality than what is found as low-moisture mozzarella. That there was already a word for that type of cheese suggests to me, Italophile that I am, that there is "no such thing" as low-moisture mozzarella.

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I think my personal favorite was Grimaldi's, followed by Patsy's, and then Totonno's. I didn't make it to DiFara's or Lombardi's.

Grimaldi's also tops my list because their sausage was so outstanding. Out of these three, I preferred the Totonno's crust best, it was yeasty and chewy and tasted good -- I think I prefer less char than the rest of our taste-testers.

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In US cheesemaking nomenclature, mozzarella and scamorza are synonymous.

It is? Says who?

The US standards for mozzarella (not that the USDA has any authority in classifying Italian cheeses, nind you) may be found here (warning: pdf). Relevant information is:

  • Mozzarella cheese: 52% - 60% moisture and > 45% milkfat
  • Low-moisture Mozzarella cheese: 45% - 52% moisture and >45% milkfat
  • Part-skim Mozzarella cheese: 52% - 60% moisture and 30% - 45% milkfat
  • Low-moisture Part-skim Mozzarella cheese: 45% - 52% moisture and and 30% - 45% milkfat

I agree that scamorza is corresponds to what we would call "low-moisture mozzarella," although scamorza is in general much better quality than what is found as low-moisture mozzarella. That there was already a word for that type of cheese suggests to me, Italophile that I am, that there is "no such thing" as low-moisture mozzarella.

The full federal regulations, which are the law with regard to cheesemaking nomenclature in the US, can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Chapter I, Part 133. Specifically, scroll down to:

133.155 Mozzarella cheese and scamorza cheese.

133.156 Low-moisture mozzarella and scamorza cheese.

133.157 Part-skim mozzarella and scamorza cheese.

133.158 Low-moisture part-skim mozzarella and scamorza cheese.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Awright, here is my 2cents. Deb and I went to Grimaldi's a few weeks ago. Based on JosephB's reccomondations we decided to make a surgical strike at exactly noon......Not meant to be! We are frequent NYC visitors, but are always thwarted by subway construction that is not mentioned in the best of our planning procedures. As an out of towner, please allow me to vent a bit here. Not many things piss me off as much as announcements in the subway that only mean something to those who are listening who already know what is being talked about. For the rest of us, we only get the message that the station we want to use is all %^$ed up for some reason and we can't use it. The solution is only intelligable to those who know it already!!!!

OK, Bottom line is that instead of getting to Grimaldi's at noon, we didn't get there until 3:00PM. We waited in line for about 20 Min. We were treated well and orderd a mushroom and roasted pepper pie. The reason we selected this one was because we had an absolutely fantastic one at Frank Peppe's in New Haven. Please forgive us, FG, but Sally's isn't open during the day on weekends and we like to get home before dark.

The crust on the Grimaldi's was thin (in a good way) and watching the pizza makers made me realize the complexity of the whole process. I try to make pizza at home and always blame my failures on my shitty oven, but that is only part of it. Those guys get the dough so thin and elastic that it puts my efforts to shame and makes me realize how much territory I need to cover before my oven is holding me back.

The crust, as I said, was thin, had a bit of pleasent char that seemed to bring out a wheatiness that we have admired in Frank Peppe's pies.

I don't know if it was the lateness in the day or what, but the roasted pepper were not cooked through and the sauce was bland, so much so that I reached for the salt shaker, which is a rarity for me. I noticed many others doing the same.

I do intend to make a return visit, get there when the oven is at it's peak and order a pie with some sausage or something to give it a bit of salt. I thought the Mozzerella was fresh, but bland, BTW. The next time we go, I'd like to take the water taxi back if the weather is nice.

Cheers,

HC

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The full federal regulations, which are the law with regard to cheesemaking nomenclature in the US, can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Chapter I, Part 133. Specifically, scroll down to:

133.155  Mozzarella cheese and scamorza cheese.

133.156  Low-moisture mozzarella and scamorza cheese.

133.157  Part-skim mozzarella and scamorza cheese.

133.158  Low-moisture part-skim mozzarella and scamorza cheese.

Right, so according to the FDA's Sec. 133.155© we have: "The name of the food is 'mozzarella cheese' or, alternatively, 'scamorza cheese'."

This is, in my mind, kind of a bizarre thing for the FDA to specify. It's like having one specification for brie and camembert. I also find it incredibly strange that they have an entirely separate specification for caciocavallo and provolone, which are virtually indistinguishable from scamorza.

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:unsure:

THE NY PIZZA SURVEY OF 2004

I need to first tell you I've been a voyeur of the highest order here as you review pizza pies from in and around NYC. This is also my first ever post on egullet so the posting choices to make this look ok were all ignored for fear of killing the post slowly with wrong colour combined with size...of letters and style. I'm not sure if size matters in posts...but I'm certain style does so forgive me if this looks bland. I promise if you keep reviewing, I'll improve my postings to include jokes and even give you a few pointers in case you come my way.

My name is Taz. Astazia is my middle name and I use it as my first. I live in the South...NO, not the deep south...the BEACH SOUTH..aka SO CAL.... Yeah I'm sure you're already picturing surfers, blonde bouncy bimbi, and well the stereotype valley girl aka blow in her ear, give her a refill....but I admit that being that I live in Riverside County, which is about 60 minutes east of Los Angeles, and 90 miles northeast of San Diego. I promote indy jazz and folk music for mostly people I love as friends, and even help produce a cd on occasion. I did get an acknowledgement once...said thanks to "TAZ" for her invaluable assistance. He now calls me his IA!

I began reading your postings because I absolutely am in search of the best pizza in New Yawk. I found the best deep dish Chicago style in the entire city. I also when visiting NY in June of 2001, and took a chance on famous Rays I think. They delivered to the Edison and I was so exhausted I ate in that night. I remember it was good even for breakfast the next morning...but reading your reviews of the places you've been, there are probably better pies and I'd love to go and have a great thin crust pizza that you've recommended...since I'll only have one night to do that.

So I'm hoping you all can narrow it down for this waif from the west...(LOL WAIF ok I'm in my how do they say it in Manhattan...the upper 40s....:)

So here's my challenge. You pizzeria officianados...I'd love it of you could have a high level cone of silence (thank you Don Adams and Mel Brooks) and come up with the top 2 or 3 pies in Manhattan. I believe in sometimes taking chances with new places but pizza is different. I can tell you the best of certain in San Diego but pizza is really very subjective....but you all sound like we like it the same things in pizza so that's why after reading you as a guest for over 2 months or wait...more than 2....perhaps you can lead me to the promised pan'd.

I do need it to be accessible by public transport since we'll be staying in Times Square you'd know more of the subway info and we can get it from you. I'd also not mind takin a cab if it was close enough. Oh and if you're not afraid yet...anyone here is welcome to come along...just gotta be flexible. (trying to get a couple of show tix) We arrive just in time to miss bbq and pizza weekend in June. We arrive 6 am on Monday 13th of June and will leave mid afternoon on the 18th to drive to NJ for a family simcha.

I'll figure out the nuances of posting next time. Thank you all who read this and I'll look forward to reading what you all think. Oh and one more thing. The place that closed when it ran outta sauce....cracked me up for days after I read it.

Taz

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So here's my challenge. You pizzeria officianados...I'd love it of you could have a high level cone of silence (thank you Don Adams and Mel Brooks) and come up with the top 2 or 3 pies in Manhattan. I believe in sometimes taking chances with new places but pizza is different.

Hi Taz.

If you're looking for the best "classic NY-style coal oven pizza" I would suggest the following...

1. Go to Patsy's in East Harlem for a plain cheese and tomato pizza.

2. Go to Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge for a sausage pizza. Show up early for lunch to be near the front of the line and get your pizza from a maximally hot oven.

These two pizzerie represent the best in the classic NY style today, IMO, and both are very convenient to your location via public transportation.

--

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I don't know if this will get lost here, or if everyone who eats pizza reads this thread religiously. There's a brand new little place with a brand new wood burning brick oven on the corner of Mott and Kenmare. They specialize in very thin crust small (10"-12"?) pizzas. I think it opened last week without much fanfare. L'asso, 192 Mott Street, 212.219.2353. A margherita is $10 and one with a heap of San Daniele prosciutto is $15. There are other combinations, some of which I found peculiar, but you never know until you try it. There are some salads, antipasti, pasta and a few main courses as well, but I assume the pizze are what they expect to bring in the trade. It's a very different pizza than the one served at Lombardi around the corner, but I'd bet a lot of the people waiting on line there might enjoy the pizze at L'asso where there was no line.

Robert Buxbaum

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