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THE BEST: NYC Pizza Favorites


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  • 1 month later...

Hey Sam - not to reignite the flame (pardon the pun) but I was over at Grimaldi's on Sunday, shooting some pictures for a guidebook for a Japanese client. They actually "service" the oven again around 4pm, so you _can_ go pre-dinner time and it will be blazing hot. Not sure if we discussed that but we should clarify. . Anyway I got a bunch of pictures, sorry can't be more concise but here are the unretouched -

http://www.raji.com/photoshare/110705grimaldis/index.htm

I love their roasted peppers, so I love their antipasto, and I gotta say, once again the Margherita was consistently great, never the leaden crust, but the airy light crust, cornicione that you lovingly mention. Anyway I got some good snaps there, I love the one of the oven!!! See if you can find it.

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Hi raji!

I was probably unclear before. I know they refire the oven a few times a day: before lunch service and before dinner service. It's important, I think, just to make sure that you go as close to that time as possible.

My personal experience is that a lot of the people who don't particularly like Grimaldi's (and there are plenty) are those who tend to go at, say, three o'clock in the afternoon to beat the crowds. Well, this is the worst possible time to go there, since the oven was last stoked sometime around 11:00. This is what I've been saying about the inconsistency. 12:00 or 5:00 will get you a mind-blowing pizza. 3:00 or 8:00. . . a very good pizza, but not in the same league.

I guess I just don't agree with their oven management technique, which seems to be doing two or three big burns a day but otherwise not fueling the oven. This could, of course, be economics. They may have decided that it doesn't make good financial sense to keep the oven at peak heat at three o'clock in the afternoon when they won't be doing all that much business. Still, I've never been to Patsy's East Harlem and had a pizza that seemed to come from an underheated oven.

Great picture of the oven, by the way! It's image DSC_1466 for others who may wish to give it a look. How were they about letting you take pictures? Did you arrange with them beforehand to take pictures? I ask because we were told (fairly rudely, I might add, even by NYC standards) that they did not want us taking pictures of the oven.

--

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So basically all those people need to go back at the right time for a consistently mind-blowing pizza. :biggrin:

Honestly I've never been to Patsy's East Harlem, so if I'm just going to, as the placemat indicates, the 2nd incarnation, then perhaps I should STFU until I go there. Then again, how often do I find myself in Spanish Harlem???

Yes I had called the week before to let them know of our intentions - in general they were down with the idea, but by the time I arrived Sunday they were pretty damn busy and the manager was a bit grumpy but only because he was so busy and didn't want to deal with us. However, every single other person there was completely accomodating to us, those same nice guys who've always been there for the 10 years I've been going.

As you said, though, YES, the oven operator was NOT down with me photographing the oven - I mean if it's really a trade secret, anyone can go there and see it. I wasn't using flash but my Nikon rig has a small lamp used for focusing and so basically he was saying "no light no light no light" or "too light too light too light" - I didn't quite get it -

For this same client I've had to do other food shoots of places that are in discussion here, so if welcome, please let me know and I'll post links to those too -

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  • 1 month later...

I'm fortunate to work not too far from Gino's on Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach, Queens, and here is why I'm usually there:

gallery_21237_2037_28015.jpg

(I hope the photo does it justice) It's an eggplant square slice. The eggplant slices are cooked, unbreaded, in olive oil until they are silky and luscious and they are accompanied by a sweet chunky tomato and onion sauce, fresh herbs and whole milk mozzarella on top and bottom. The crust is substantial yet flaky and about 1/2" high, which is just about the right height not to overpower what is on top of it. It's definitely a messy and oily affair (no complaints from me, fwiw) and I just love the way the flavors and textures interplay with one onother.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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  • 1 month later...

I live in the hood too. Have you ever had a plain slice of Mariella's on 8th Ave btwn56th/57th? I highly recommend it. Great crust and sc (slightly sweet w/the right amt of basil/oregano) Def worth a try. I also like 9th Ave Pizza's ricotta/spinach or eggplant slice. (-Even better is their chicken sorrentino but that's another story/thread) :biggrin:

That wasn't chicken

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This discussion seems to be only about whole pizzas, not pizza by the slice.  Is there anywhere in the city other than DiFara's to get a good, tasty, not-dried-out, reheated slice of pizza?

I was talking by the slice. (Ironically, when I posted, I was thinking how much I generally prefer a reheated slice over that of a fresh pie......crispier crust that holds the cheese and toppings together, more flavorful and less wet all around).

Another I love is the (real) original Ray's on Mott & Prince. Perfect white and regular slices. I brought my cousins from SF and they professed it was the very best they've ever had. :raz:

That wasn't chicken

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This discussion seems to be only about whole pizzas, not pizza by the slice.  Is there anywhere in the city other than DiFara's to get a good, tasty, not-dried-out, reheated slice of pizza?

I really don't do pies very often, my wife is a pizza hater. :blink::blink::blink: and my poor children unfortunatly take after her in that regard. :wacko:

Here are my favs (mostly uuuws where I live)

-George's on 181st

-Don't know the name right outside on the 1 train stop on 181st.

-Famiglia on 96th

-west side of 5th ave on 20th st.

-Giovanni's in Little Italy the Bx

-used to really like Original Rays on 4th but its a pita health food place now. :sad:

and for squares its a pizzaria on Sheepshead Bay road in Bklyn close to the D train stop. It gets tricky since I don't know the name and there are two pizza places within two doors of each other on the same block. The really good squares are in the one farthest away from the D train. :biggrin:

-Mike & Andrea

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-George's on 181st

Definitely best in the neighborhood. Is the place by the #1 train "Rap pizza"?

Grandpa's Brickoven pizza in Inwood is another good pizza place uptown. Very thin crust, less traditional than George's.

Edited by R Washburn (log)
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I agree, cept when it comes to delivery. Their delivered pie it sloppy. I've even asked for it cripsy, like in the store....but no dice.

Oh yea, delivery is awful, they always lean the pie. Also for some reason it seems like a completly different slice when ordered by the pie.

I think it might be rap pizza.

I like Grandpa's too and they are really good for a pie. Very different than any of the other area spots.

Anyone else notice that some of the best NYC pizza is greek and not italian?

-Mike & Andrea

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This discussion seems to be only about whole pizzas, not pizza by the slice.  Is there anywhere in the city other than DiFara's to get a good, tasty, not-dried-out, reheated slice of pizza?

You could try takeout from Patsy's original location in East Harlem. At least, I seem to recall they did offer slices for takeout; undoubtedly, someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Patsy's in East Harlem does good slices. (as Pan noted).

Though per my experience noted earlier they can be soggy.

(inconsistent).

I order by the slice often--to me the key is turnover so you are basically getting your slice from a freshly baked pie.

I recommend Ed Levine's recent book "Pizza-a slice of heaven."

It is as close to a definitive book on pizza as one is going to get.

All these topics are covered and the book does review the state of pizza not just in NY but around the country and even in Italy--a great read.

Take out pizza is dicey. The box literally steams the crust and a pizza can pick up a distinct cardboard flavor very quickly.

I get the box open ASAP and leave the lid up! (even better-remove all the slices from the box).

I also find a lot of NY pizza to be heavy and I often get that kind of "fast food" queasy and bloated feeling after eating a couple of slices. (Morgan Spurlock syndrome!)

I believe this is because a lot of pizza uses mediocre ingredients and is often not fresh. also too much oil and cheese.

The best pizza--IMOP--has a nice balance of ingredients: crust, cheese, sauce, oil etc. For some reason we seem to be cheese crazy.

People actually order slices with "extra cheese." As most cheese is pretty mundane or even second rate-ordering more on an already cheese laden slice is to me--insane! I believe too many people equate value with "more" not really appreciating any subtlety. IMOP--loading a slice (or pie) up with what is often tasteless second rate mozzarella is antithetical to the whole concept of pizza!

Another practice that makes me crazed is when you order a slice (or pie) with a topping--say sausage--they add extra cheese.

And oil--too many pizzas are too oily--I have seen people blotting slices with napkins etc. or holding a slice at an angle so the oil runs off onto the ground in front of a pizza stand. Yeeeeessssshh!

The main reason so many slices are soggy --I'm sorry but a crust should be crusty and should actually do a good job of "holding" the other ingredients--is when a pizza is out of balance the ingredients do not cook/bake to the same degree of doneness.

So the cheese is not properly melted and/or the crust is not completely done etc.

Anyway-as I was saying--to me--balance is the key. A great pizza is one of those "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" thing.

Truly great pizza whatever the style--is refreshing to eat--it fills you up and satisfies without making you feel bloated. It is a revelation!!!!

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Adding my two cents, the two best pizzas I have had in NY are 1) Grimaldi's and 2) Lombardi's. Neither leaves me with a bloated feeling (unless I eat WAY too much). That being said, as much as I love Grimaldi's, I am not not a stand in a long line type person and that means I am only there very infrequently.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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  • 3 weeks later...
Sure -

John's 260 W 44th St

Donny G's 358 W 44th St

As for slices, I think there was a Little Italy in the area that was decent. Sbarro makes me vomit. Also, the 99cent pizza place at 42nd and 9th is actually quite good..

Thanks. Sbarro , to me, is "Mall food".

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another one from Howard Beach:

The standard slice at New Park is definitely "all that", and probably the best slice in south Queens. They have a really hot oven and it gives their pies a certain light crispness in the crust with decent char and caramelization of the cheese. The sauce is fresh and tangy. They are at their best fresh out of the oven.

I've been there dozens of times and have never had a reheated slice. They do a lot of business and the wait for a 'freshie' is never long, if at all. Pies are constantly coming out and being served. On a good day you will even be asked if you want it light or dark. Dark. The correct response is dark :wink: I wish more pizza places were like this.

FWIW- I have had better luck getting a table at the back counter off of the parking lot, not the front area off of the sidewalk.

Edited by TongoRad (log)

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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  • 8 months later...

Time Out NY did it's ratings of top pizza places in the City. The usual suspects are mainly present, with a few somewhat notable exceptions (no Lombardi's, Grimaldi's). Di Fara #1. Entire list at the following link...

- KOBITO NY

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