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NYC Pizza Survey


slkinsey
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Dude... I didn't even know there was actually an original original Ray's. :laugh: And, of course, I was too busy dealing with the onset of puberty in the late 70s to pay much attention to pizza. :rolleyes:

I assume the archetypal Ray's no longer exists? Or does it?

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What did people think of the original original Ray's Pizza on 6th Ave. and 11th St. when it was at its peak in the late 70's and early 80's?

I went there a number of times in the late 70s, and I seem to remember people saying that to get the really good stuff, you had to have been there a few years earlier...

You're asking me to remember pizza from a really long time ago, but basically, it was at least fairly good and they had decent toppings from the viewpoint of a 13-year-old (were their mushrooms canned, though? I think so), but my local pizzeria, Sal and Carmine's on the Upper West Side (first just south of 95 St. and later at its current location, between 101st and 102nd Sts. I think?) was probably always better, in my memory. I think that already by 1978, going to the original Famous Original Ray's Pizza was more for the experience than for truly great pizza.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Reports and photos from the Philly Pizza Club outing today will be posted when everyone wakes up from their long post-prandial naps like I just did. :biggrin:

On the whole, our Lombardi's experience seems to have been far superior to your group. And looking at the photo, our clam pie looked WAY better than that. It wasn't the best clam pie I've ever tried (one in New Haven many many years ago still holds a special place in my heart) but it was certainly tasty enough, good crust and boatloads of chopped clams. The staff photographers will have to post before you can see what I'm talking about, but there's just no comparison with the one pictured here.

The overall concensus was that the New York interlopers were serviceable (Lombardi's much better than Pietro's), but not really coming close to the native stuff we're used to here like Tacconelli's, Marra's or Franco & Luigi's. Photos from our past forays are on the Pizza Club thread in the PA forum HERE. We're a bit spoiled on the pizza front in Philly. There's all manner of great pies to be had here.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Katie, has your crew gone to DiFara's and Grimaldi's?

Michael:

We discussed future road trips today, in fact. Renting a 15 passenger van and doing the drives to Old Forge, PA, New Haven, and Brooklyn on future outings. This is going to involve quite a bit more advanced planning however, and given the looseness with which we operate, I think it might take awhile to pull off. And I really can't even think about more pizza until at least tomorrow. :laugh:

I want to propose an East Coast Pizzapalooza and have folks from all over meet somewhere and do pizzas together. That could be lots of fun. Philly is halfway between NY and DC. :hmmm:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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ere's the place. Not the original location, but definitely some character there.

If you look at that exterior shot, it looks like definitely some characters there!

Sorry the pizza was not up to par, guys. I still enjoyed the slkinsey photo-journal.

want to propose an East Coast Pizzapalooza and have folks from all over meet somewhere and do pizzas together. That could be lots of fun. Philly is halfway between NY and DC. 

Katie, I love the idea of an East Coast Pizzapalooza. It's a full day, but Philly is a do-able day trip from NYC.

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ere's the place. Not the original location, but definitely some character there.

If you look at that exterior shot, it looks like definitely some characters there!

Sorry the pizza was not up to par, guys. I still enjoyed the slkinsey photo-journal.

want to propose an East Coast Pizzapalooza and have folks from all over meet somewhere and do pizzas together. That could be lots of fun. Philly is halfway between NY and DC. 

Katie, I love the idea of an East Coast Pizzapalooza. It's a full day, but Philly is a do-able day trip from NYC.

I suggest Staten Island (referencing Ed Levine's NY Times article of last year, comparing about 5 or 6 SI pizzerias), or a return to Trenton, midway for all of us, and, still, to me, the best stuff on earth.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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I'm late in posting my impressions of Lombardi's because I was uninspired. Sam correctly noted that the highlight of the afternoon arrived early by way of the "Margherita light." This positive moment was fleeting however, and was soon overshadowed by the unpalatable and inexplicable "clam pie."

If Lombardi's replaced the pasty-cooked red stuff they use for tomato sauce with practically unadorned San Marzano tomatoes, and found some consistency in managing the oven's heat, the pizza would be very good. For now, I would scratch it off my list. And as for being one the "BIG 5," it deserves that status as a romantic notion, and only from a distance.

Thanks again for a fun afternoon on a splendid day. And thanks to Sam for expertly documenting our day.

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To make up for missing the latest Pizza Club outing, I took myself over to Mardigras Pizza on Maiden Lane, down here in the financial district. Charred-crust fans will disapprove of the cornmeal-dusted crust, but I think they have innovative toppings: andouille sausage, crawfish with Cajun spices and saffron, jalapeno pepper pesto. YUM.

I got to chatting with the owner, Manuel Luna, who is not from New 'Awlins. Actually, he originally hails from Mexico City, though he has lived in NY for 20 years. He's also a chef at Joanna’s Restaurant on E. 92nd Street, which I am not familiar with, anyone been there?

According to Luna, the peeled crawfish and andouille are brought by truck, direct from New Orleans, and the crawfish is marinated in hot sauce. The blueprint for the Mardigras pizza was created before they even opened the pizza parlor, which has been in operation for about 3 years. He didn't want to share the names of his suppliers.

Edited by alacarte (log)
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In an article about the glories of sushi in the NY Times today, one of the greatest culinary analogies ever made was pronounced by Chef Seki of Sushi Seki in Manhattan:

"[G]reat sushi needs great fish. But, he continued, great fish is not enough.

"Sushi is so simple that each element must be perfect, and all the elements must be balanced," he said. "Like pizza." (emphasis added)

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Has the Pizza Club considered going to Joe & Pat's in Staten Island? 

Bit of a trip, but their pizza is outstanding.  More like the pizza you get at Patsy's in Harlem than a Lombardi's or Grimaldi's. 

Definitely worth it.  :smile:

Uh, you'll have to ask the guys over in Philly about that. As for the NYC Pizza Survey, we're interested in visiting S.I., but first we have to go to Totonno's in Coney Island, the last of the so-called "BIG FIVE."

How many of you can play hooky on Friday, 5/14, to go to Totonno's for lunch, followed by Brighten Beach for dinner?

BTW, the Philly guys are itching to plan a joint outing.

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BTW, the Philly guys are itching to plan a joint outing.

Yeah we are! Trenton or Staten Island make the most "let's-meet-in-the-middle" sense geographically. Any other suggestions are welcome as well.

I still think the NYC Pizza Survey needs to come to the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia to try Tacconelli's once. There's no contest after that. It's all over but the crying.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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:laugh: Hey... if you Philly folk think Staten Island, a borough of New York City, is a "meet halfway in the middle" situation, that's okay by me! :biggrin:

Joe, I'm always up for hookey if it means good pizza... especially if it means Coney Island afterwards and then dinner with Russian gangsters!

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:laugh: Hey... if you Philly folk think Staten Island, a borough of New York City, is a "meet halfway in the middle" situation, that's okay by me! :biggrin:

Joe, I'm always up for hookey if it means good pizza... especially if it means Coney Island afterwards and then dinner with Russian gangsters!

The next "meet-in-the-middle" is when you all come down thisaway for Tacconelli's. It's north of downtown Philly so the "middle" gets dragged this way.

Unless we decide to do a Pizza tour of Princeton, we won't ever truly be in the middle.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I still think the NYC Pizza Survey needs to come to the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia to try Tacconelli's once. There's no contest after that. It's all over but the crying.

I don't know Katie. New Yorkers favor Coal oven pizza, and generally turn their noses up at "brick oven" pizza. I suspect Patsy's will edge out Tacconelli's.

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Totonno's keeps kooky hours and they close whenever they run out of sauce. It would be best to call ahead. You'll have no trouble getting tables -- it's all locals except on days like the Mermaid Parade or July 4 (even then most people don't know about it).

Go easy on the toppings as they tend to make the center soggy. But the plain cheese pie is my favorite in the city. Plenty of char, they err on the side of burnt but never in an inedible way.

"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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Don't know if this link has been given before but Slice is a compendium of information on New York Pizza. Some nice pictures on the Totonno's page.

"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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I think after Totonno, L&B Spumoni Gardens should be next, because they are supposed to be a Sicilian style pizza specialist and we havent evaluated a good square pie yet. Its also a 65 year old restaurant (1939), so while it is not in the same coal oven genre as the others, it should be recognized as one of the original NYC pizza places nevertheless.

http://www.spumonigardens.com/

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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

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Joe, I'm always up for hookey if it means good pizza... especially if it means Coney Island afterwards and then dinner with Russian gangsters!

That's good because docsconz told me that he would make the trip from Upstate NY if we went on that day.

I am most definitely in :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

On a side note, L&B Spumoni Gardens is where my family used to go before I was born and maybe when I was a little kid. They have been around for awhile. :cool:

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 read in NY mag that Totonno's is opening in Kips Bay!

Restaurant Openings & Buzz column

Totonno's

With branches in Yonkers, the Upper East Side, and now Kips Bay, this pizzeria chainlet, affiliated in some nebulous way with the Coney Island original, upholds the thin-crust no-slices tradition. The new branch boasts a sidewalk café, a full menu of salads, pastas, and entrées, and very convenient proximity to the Kips Bay multiplex.

462 Second Ave., at 26th St.

212-213-8800

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How many of you can play hooky on Friday, 5/14, to go to Totonno's for lunch, followed by Brighten Beach for dinner?

I have Fridays off. :biggrin::raz::smile:

That's a Yes.

Can't get off work on Fridays, and am very disappointed. Totonno's is my favorite pizza in NYC--hope you all have a great time and enjoy yourselves eating incredible pies. I'm looking forward to great pictures!

Totonno's has regular hours since the new generation has taken over--no more capricious closings when the dough runs out etc. as far as I'm aware.

You'll have no trouble getting tables -- it's all locals except on days like the Mermaid Parade or July 4 (even then most people don't know about it).

All true--I'd add Brooklyn Cyclone game days to that list.

:smile:

Jamie

See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

biowebsite

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Let's start a list:

Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano -- Coney Island May 14, 2004

1524 Neptune Ave.

Between 15th and 16th Sts.

718-372-8606

JosephB and Donna

slkinsey and bergerka

docsconz

Blondie

Alacarte

Pan

jogoode

kurl

phaelon56 (+1?)

Eric_Malson

Anyone else think it's odd that their web site seems to completely ignore the original location? I had to google the site to fine this page. Readers may also be interested in this blurb written by some schmo who probably doesn't know what he's talking about anyway.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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