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Star Tavern Pie


jb_973
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In the midst of the torrential storm yesterday evening, I thought I'd pick up a pizza pie from the Star Tavern. We had a couple of friends around, and the weather had cancelled out any grilling.

I'd searched a little on eGullet, and a couple of other places for recommendations for a local pizza joint in West Orange. I'd heard mixed reviews about the Starlite (corner of Pleasant Valley Way and Mt Pleasant), but some generally good comments about the Star Tavern (400 High St - in Orange, I believe).

Now, I'm a pretty harsh critic when it comes to a good slice. My first exposure to New York-style pizza was when I first moved to NYC. I lived up in the Bronx, off of Gun Hill Road, and our local Pizza place, Nick's, did a good, reliable slice. Thin crust underneath, nice round crust at the end, with a tasty but not-too-sweet sauce. When we moved to Brooklyn, our new local became Pino's, 7th Ave in Brooklyn. Again, a good decent slice. They also did a great fresh mozzarella and basil pie.

Where am I leading with this? Well, I guess I have to say that I'm still looking for a replacement Pizzeria for that NYC-style slice. The pie from Star Tavern had probably the thinnest crust I've ever seen, which didn't give the slice any support. I was missing the end crust (a must have - I'm not on Atkins, so I look forward to that piece ;). The sauce was pretty good, as was the cheese on top. So, in effect, if I could get similar toppings, but with a slightly thicker crust underneath, and a round end crust, I'd be on the right track.

I'm going to continue my search for the slice (yes, I have a few food and restaurant searches going on right now!). Will report back here...

Jason

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I totally agree with JB_973's assessment of pizza from Star Tavern. I just never quite understood all the rave reviews.

There is a place on Ridge Road in Lyndhurst, or N Arlington that does a great pie, and, if I recall correctly, even does slices. I think the name is Joe's. I'll find out and confirm, later.

When I first walked in there, the smell wafting in reminded me of pizza that my family used to get at a "Bar /Pizzaria" back in the day, on Hyland Blvd in Staten Island. Now, that was THE BEST! ohhhhhh the memories...lol

Unfortunately, a chain Drug Store is now standing in it's place.

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From the Yellow pages:

Jo Jo's Pizza

Jo Jo's Pizza & Italian Kitchen has been providing homemade Italian specialties since 1959! Try this New Jersey Classic today.

726 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

(201) 933-0360

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Try Roman Gourmet in Maplewood. Their plain slice is great and they have lots of other choices as well(sicilian, stuffed bake ziti, whole wheat). Also, if you don't mind venturing a little into what some call a not so good area, in East Orange on Tremont Ave, a place calle BJ's Pizza. Don't know if they sell slices, put their pies are great.

Yield to Temptation, It may never come your way again.

 --Lazarus Long

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The best pizza that I have found in NJ is at Star Tavern in Orange. In fact, I chose to go there, this week, for my birthday dinner with some family from out of town. (They all seemed to love it.)

It's very thin crust, and I like the way it's "well-done," too. [some places call this "burnt" but that (strong adjective) always scares me!]

Yes, it's a small pie, and yes, it's more expensive than average prices (and you're not paying for fancy ambience in this place!) but I just love it. Yum...

Cheers, Raymmmondo

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  • 2 years later...

Star Tavern & Pizzeria

400 High St, Orange, NJ

(973) 675-3336

Some new Star Tavern shots:

gallery_2_3341_48806.jpg

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Wings. The default sauce had a decent kick to it and clearly these wings were not from a big bag.

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Antipasto salad. Nice pile of sharp provolone with good pepperoni and salami.

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The plain cheese pie. I URGE you to resist the temptation to order a “special” pie or any other pie with toppings on it before trying the plain cheese pie first. The plain cheese pie is an exercise in pizza perfection simplicity. This is a very good example of when less is more.

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Plain Cheese Slice

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Nice Char.

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Three cheese pie with sausage and meatballs. Very good, but as I said, get the plain first.

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Slice of Three Cheese with Sausage and Meatballs.

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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Uh, have you ever had the plain pie? As I said, if you get one of the special pies or one with too many toppings on it, you're likely to get a bad impression of the place. I actually ordered the Three-Cheese with Sausage and Meatballs first, and thought the place was kind of average until I had the plain cheese.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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

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Uh, have you ever had the plain pie? As I said, if you get one of the special pies or one with too many toppings on it, you're likely to get a bad impression of the place. I actually ordered the Three-Cheese with Sausage and Meatballs first, and thought the place was kind of average until I had the plain cheese.

Uh, yes.

I prefer to have my pizza, as it was intended..plain.

As I said, just one person's opinion.

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Not a fan either! No crunch to the pie! I did have a great pie at the Reservoir in Boonton last night, My wife wasn't feeling well so I went alone, sat at the bar, and ordered a bar pie with mushroom and sausage. Delicious and crispy.

The Star tavern pies (even the plain ones) are greasy and have no real crunch.

Just my .02

Jeff

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Not a fan either!  No crunch to the pie!  I did have a great pie at the Reservoir in Boonton last night, My wife wasn't feeling well so I went alone, sat at the bar, and ordered a bar pie with mushroom and sausage. Delicious and crispy.

The Star tavern pies (even the plain ones) are greasy and have no real crunch.

Just my .02

Jeff

I also prefer The Reservoir to Star.

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There has to be some consistency issues here, because mine was plenty crunchy. You cant have a char like that on the bottom and not be crunchy.

I'm with you on this one Jason. Our good friends live in the area and took us there a few times and we loved the pies. We're all from Trenton and the obvious comparison was Delorenzo's on Hudson. While it didn't quite measure up, I still found the plain pie quite good indeed, certainly worthy of return visits.

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I'm wondering if the pie that came out was actually "well done" or just off of well done, because of the heavy char on some parts of the pizza. I actually like mine that way. Maybe you actually need to tell them you want it that way to ensure crunchy/crispy crust.

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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I'm wondering if the pie that came out was actually "well done" or just off of well done, because of the heavy char on some parts of the pizza. I actually like mine that way. Maybe you actually need to tell them you want it that way to ensure crunchy/crispy crust.

This is the style at Delorenzo's too and I prefer it that way as well. Some people complain that the pie is burnt, but it's not really burnt, just enough to provide the amazing tooth feel and crunch.

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From various discussions, I've found that people who like Star Tavern pie also generally like the pizza at Park Tavern in East Rutherford (Park Ave. just beyond the train tracks). I've tried Park Tavern several times & found it rather ordinary & soggy. Granted, this type of thin crust pie probably doesn't do well as a takeout even tho I live only 2 minutes away, but still....

I too am a big fan of "the char" and expected the pies to come out that way at Park Tavern. THey always seem a bit underdone, to my taste. Maybe you've got to ask for well done as suggested above.

Edited by ghostrider (log)

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From various discussions, I've found that people who like Star Tavern pie also generally like the pizza at Park Tavern in East Rutherford (Park Ave. just beyond the train tracks).  I've tried Park Tavern several  times & found it rather  ordinary & soggy.  Granted, this type of thin crust pie probably doesn't do well as a takeout even tho I live only 2 minutes away, but still....

I really don't think any pie is good as take out, particularly the venerable ones discussed here and on other boards. There is nothing like biting into a freshly made, piping hot pie at the restaurant.

For leftovers, try a few swirls of evoo in a cast iron skillet for about 1- 2 minutes. This works well on thin crust pies like Delorenzo's in Trenton. I don't see why it wouldn't work for other like pies. Of course this is for leftovers the day after, I wouldn't want to do this for a take out pie.

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i've always found the Star's pizza to be greasier (and soggier in the middle) than Kinchley's, Town Pub, and Nellie's. Three places that make essentially the same style of pie.

regardless of how much char the crust has, grease will make it soggy. so yes, you can have char like that, and soggy/non-crunchy pizza.

Edited by tommy (log)
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i've always found the Star's pizza to be greasier (and soggier in the middle) than Kinchley's, Town Pub, and Nellie's.  Three places that make essentially the same style of pie.

regardless of how much char the crust has, grease will make it soggy.  so yes, you can have char like that, and soggy/non-crunchy pizza.

Your absolutely right, Tommy. Each was at least "a two napkin" slice.

Jeff L,

I totally agree. Pies only steam in those take out boxes, so I rarely do take out pies.

And then, it's almost always sicilian "with very little cheese", please. (or I take the slices with the least cheese.)

Why smother it in so much cheese or toppings that you can't taste what true pizza is all about..the crust and the sauce.

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Ever since my first post on the topic (right at the top of this thread), I have actually become a fan of the Star Tavern pie. Yes, it does need a few napkins to soak up the grease, and yes, you really want to eat it at the place, rather than getting takeout, but when you do those two things, the slices go down real easy.

A note on the takeout point - Frederici's down in Freehold typically puts their take-out pizzas in a large brown paper bag, rather than a pizza box. This seems to improve the 'travelability' of the pizza, so that the crust is still pretty crispy by the time you get it home. We pick up a pie or two from there when we're visiting our friends who live in that town. The only downside to this is that the top of the bag does get greasy, so you have to be a bit careful how you handle it.

Jason

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i've always found the Star's pizza to be greasier (and soggier in the middle) than Kinchley's, Town Pub, and Nellie's.  Three places that make essentially the same style of pie.

regardless of how much char the crust has, grease will make it soggy.  so yes, you can have char like that, and soggy/non-crunchy pizza.

Your absolutely right, Tommy. Each was at least "a two napkin" slice.

Jeff L,

I totally agree. Pies only steam in those take out boxes, so I rarely do take out pies.

And then, it's almost always sicilian "with very little cheese", please. (or I take the slices with the least cheese.)

I sadly have to agree with everything you have said about Star...at the risk of making lots of fans angry and having been there and always eaten the pies there...all sorts from plain to those with everything...I find the crust always thin and soggy, lots of oil which I do not like in a pizza, the quality of the ingredients on top not very high...canned mushrooms and anchovies...I just do not understand the appeal of this place...why have I returned a number of times?...because my partner loves the place...don't think I will be returning any more...

Why smother it in so much cheese or toppings that you can't taste what true pizza is all about..the crust and the sauce.

:sad::sad:

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jason wrote:

I'm wondering if the pie that came out was actually "well done" or just off of well done, because of the heavy char on some parts of the pizza. I actually like mine that way. Maybe you actually need to tell them you want it that way to ensure crunchy/crispy crust.

I always ask for it crispy and sure enough the Star pie was SOGGY MUSH.

And for what its worth IMHO, DeLorenzo's and Star shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence. DeLorenzo's is the best pizza i've ever had anywhere. What sucks is that they are 50 miles from my house while Star is about 4. :angry:

Jeff

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