Sunday, November 29, 2009

Co., Chelsea

Address: 230 Ninth Avenue at 24th Street
Purchase: Six 10" pizzas, a growler of beer, and two $7 bottles of sparkling water.
Cost: Pizzas range from $13 (Margherita) to $20 (Nightly specials), Growlers of draft beers $25
Pizza Rating:

AJ and I were in the city for a quick trip before Thanksgiving and finally decided on the relatively-new Co. in Chelsea for our pizza night out. Runners up were Kesté in the West Village, and Saraghina in Bed-Stuy, both of which we plan to visit in upcoming trips.

Co. is very trendy, despite it's generic exterior on 9th Avenue, so even though it was 7:00 on a Tuesday, we had to wait about 30-45 minutes. We were seated around the end of a long communal table, which was a tight fit, but I think we were all comfortable.

There were so many appetizing choices on the menu, plus three specials, so it took a while for everyone to settle on one. The waitress "encouraged sharing" as pizzas "may come out at different times." They were, in fact, delivered individually, but it wasn't too long wait for anyone. AJ and I shared a Margherita, which was as good as any I've ever had, with a light fresh sauce and deliciously fresh buffalo mozzarella. We also tried one of the specials of the night: the "Chanty Pie," with chanterelle mushrooms, leeks, and cubes of roasted turnips. It had three cheeses, and no red sauce. Absolutely scrumptious, although the turnips were a bit out of place.

Other hits at the table were the Brussels Sprouts pie, with shaved brussels sprouts and lardons, and the "Popeye," which had a very generous pile of spinach, and another combination of cheeses, pecorino, buffalo mozzarella, and gruyere. Both were without red sauce (as owner Jim Lahey explained to New York Magazine: "Tomatoes aren't even indigenous to Italy, so where do we get off saying it has to be tomatoes on top of the bread?").

My favorite part about the pizza at Co., however, was the crust. It was chewy and had a great flavor. Not too thin or crispy, but almost like Naan (it was also about the size of normal Naan, which is to say, rather small for a pizza.) I'm looking forward to trying a hand at the no-knead dough at home, with the recipe Lahey shared with NY Magazine.

The beer selection was good, and rather than pitchers, they offer $25 growlers served in their own Co. branded growlers, which match the Co. branded bottles of $7 sparkling water, of which Grier was so generous as to order two, despite the waiter's offer of "tap." A mistake he probably won't make again, but we all enjoyed the indulgence.

The Chanty Pie

A bit of the Margherita.

With Erin, Grier, Jake, and Lincoln.

Walking the Highline before dinner.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Motorino, Williamsburg

Address: 319 Graham Avenue (at Devoe)
Purchase: Five varieties of personal pizzas, an heirloom tomato appetizer special, wine
Cost: Pizzas range from $10 to $15, wine starts at $18/bottle
Pizza Rating:

During our visit to the city for a fun (brief) weekend away before AJ starts medical school at UVa next week, we finally settled on the new Motorino in Williamsburg for our Saturday night dinner. Based on Frank Bruni's review, which ranked Motorino number one on the list of the city's "Best New Generation Pizzerias," (which comes with an informative interactive feature) we thought it would be a good choice.

With six of us we were able to get a reservation, so there was no wait and we had time to enjoy a drink before hand during happy hour at one of our favorites, Barcade (as a bonus, the bartender there had his Boston Terrier with him behind the bar).

The pizza was quite good. Not as stand out as Lucali, in my opinion, but I like the slightly chewy thin crust on my Margherita (good bubbles), and there was a nice proportion of cheese to sauce (pictured above). Lincoln ordered the Margherita DOC, which, for $4 more, is made with mozzarella di bufala instead of the housemade fior di latte. However, for $4 more, I think we were all surprised by how much less cheese was on the pie. If I wanted to enjoy the DOC cheese I would order some on its own from the left menu.

Grier orderd the Pugliese (left)—with burrata, broccolini, sausage, fresh chiles, and garlic— without the sausage, which was quite good, as Mario Batali agrees. Our appetizer, a fresh heirloom tomato in olive oil and seasalt with a sprig of basil, was, as Soraya described it, the essence of summer. Yet one small (not quite ripe) tomato, heirloom or not, for $6 seems a little much, but maybe that's just because we now have our own garden of them.

Motorino is soon to open a Manhattan location at the old space of Una Pizza Napoletana in the East Village. If the menu is the same as at the Williamsburg location, the spot's new incarnation will be much easier on the wallet. Even after three bottles of wine, the six of us left Motorino for just $30 each, with pizza left over.

The pizza makers and their wood burning oven.

Soraya, Catherine, Lincoln, Grier, and AJ.

Leaving quite satisfied.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Not Ray's Pizza, Fort Greene

Address: 690 Fulton Street (at S. Portland)
Purchase: Two regular slices and a can of Coke
Cost: $6.00 ($2.50/slice)
Pizza Rating:

Well, $2.50 seems to be the new $2 in regular slices. However, at a place like Not Ray's, it's decidedly worth it. Not only does Not Ray's win extra points for its humorous name, but the slices are quality, if a little greasy. This was one of the first pizza places we visited after we moved to Brooklyn, so it's fitting that we got to review it before we leave. (P.S. This is baby Louisa's first official appearance (on the outside) on Slices of the City!)

Sitting outside Habana Outpost (which to many passerbys' disappointment, is closed Tuesdays)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bite Me Best Pizza, East Village

Address: 700 East 9th Street at Avenue C
Purchase: 2 regular slices
Cost: $2.50 each
Pizza Rating:

After attending the Boston Terrier Meetup at Tompkins Square this afternoon we walked over to Avenue C to get some coffee at Ninth Street Espresso and found Bite Me Best. We got some plain slices and ate them across the street in the lovely La Plaza Cultural community garden. Even though it was enjoyed under the very pleasant shade of the willow trees, the pizza was just okay. First of all, $2.50 is a little high, although it was a hearty slice. The crust was fairly thick, and a little bland. The cheese was also thick, and there was lots of sauce too. Next time I'd try the lasagna slice—maybe pasta is their thing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Di Fara, Midwood

Address: 1420 Avenue J at E 15th Street
Purchase: 1 regular pie, 2 cokes in bottles
Cost: $20 for the pie, $2 per coke
Payment: Cash Only
Pizza Rating:

Finally made it out to Midwood to get a taste of some of the most famously delicious pizza in New York—Di Fara's. We got there a little before 6:00 on a Wednesday and just beat the crowd. Watching the pizzaiolo Domenico de Marco (Domenic) in his slow and steady pizza-making routine was half the fun. The man is a New York legend.

Di Fara's regular pie features delicious thin crust, just perfectly charred on the bottom, flavorful tomato sauce, and sliced mozzarella. After the pie came out of the oven, Domenic swirled some olive oil all around, topped it with grated parmesan for some extra tang, and finally scissored off some fresh basil before handing it over. Pizza making is a methodical process, and Di Fara's is perhaps the most methodical of all the pizza places we've reviewed. It really shows in the final product. All of the flavors combined to form one of the most delicious pies we've ever had.

The famous old storefront.

After winning best pizza in NYC as many times as Di Fara's has, you can charge $4 a slice no matter how deep in Brooklyn you are.

Domenic making our pie.

Before the crowd arrived.

Time to enjoy!

40 weeks hungry!

Lucali (Update!)

Address: 575 Henry Street at Carroll Street
Pizza Rating:

We are officially updating our rating of Lucali to the full five pizza rating because we just really like that place. We've been back a few more times, most recently while my parents were visiting for graduation, and those calzones are just to die for—ricotta, mozzarella, our favorite fillings (basil and garlic) and their delicious pizza sauce to dip. The wait can be a pain, even with their complicated call ahead but no reservations policy, and the service is often a little distracted, but the pizza is totally worth it. Don't forget, it's BYOB, and the corking fee is $4. Now if only they had cannoli...

Read our original review of Lucali here.

Most recent visit to Lucali—large calzone for us, basil and pepperoni pie for Mom and Dad.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mario's, Fort Greene

Address: 224 DeKalb Avenue near Clermont Avenue
Purchase: 1 plain slice, 1 mushroom slice, 1 root beer
Cost: $2.25 per regular slice
Pizza Rating:

Meredith and I had a pizza picnic at Fort Greene Park with Bruno while she was in town a few weeks ago. We stopped at Mario's because of its window service and its proximity to the park. The slices hit the spot, but I think the quality was a little less than that of Luigi's a few blocks back up DeKalb (on the Clinton Hill side). The cheese seemed a little cheap and the sauce was a little sweet. It wouldn't stop me from going back next time I need a slice while I'm down there, I just wouldn't make a point of it. Mario's is a solid neighborhood standby slice.

The baby seemed happy enough with the slice.
Pictures courtesy Auntie Meredith!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rosario's, Lower East Side

Address: 173 Orchard Street (at the corner of Stanton)
Purchase: 1 regular slice
Cost: $2.25
Pizza Rating:

Rosario's is the perfect place to grab a slice when your down around the LES. It's only a block away from the gallery, so I go there often when I am working. The guys are really friendly and the pizza is very dependable. Always fresh, tasty, and never over-reheated. The crust has a good flavor and good texture without being too thick or bready. Yesterday I also tried one of their spinach and cheese rollini which was had a generous garlic and cheese filling for only $3. It took a while to heat up, but I was happily watching the Mets home-opener on their tv while I waited (they were still winning at that point). I'd definitely choose Rosario's over the competition when you're looking for pizza around here.

A little greasy, but cheesy and delicious.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Otto, Greenwich Village

Address: 1 Fifth Avenue at 8th Street
Purchase: Many personal pizzas, antipasti, wine, gelato
Cost: $10 to $14 each pizza
Payment: Cards accepted
Pizza Rating:

In honor of Marisa's special birthday celebration in NYC, Slices of the City had its first taste of celebrity-chef pizza at Mario Batali's Otto. The place was packed, as it has been every time we have walked by. However, we were seated as soon as our whole party of eight arrived, even though we were a little late for the reservation. The service was very good, once the waitress finally stuck around our table long enough to take our order.

The distinctive thing about Otto's pizza is its crust. It is very thin and very crispy, more like a cracker than a bubbly, yeasty dough. The toppings go right to the edge. The Margherita, which is really the standard with which we judge this type of pizzeria, was a little disappointing. The sauce was too sweet for AJ's taste, and a little too thick for mine, and I think they were a bit too sparing with buffala mozzarella. The Funghi and Taleggio was delicious, salty, and flavorful, but a little overpowering for a whole pie. Would have made a delicious bruschetta, especially with its parsley garnish. Our favorite was Meredith's choice, the Balsamic Onion and Goat Cheese, which was scrumptious. Highly recommended, especially for a twist on the sometimes bland white pizza.

The highlight of my meal was the gelato. The chocolate hazelnut sauce on our Black and White was divine. Don't skip dessert!

The Margherita D.O.P.

Funghi and Taleggio

Balsamic Onion and Goat Cheese

The delicious Black and White gelato dessert

I loved the refurbed Italian flip board. Very cool. Marisa and Jon are cute too.

Happy Birthday, Marisa!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Birthday Dinner at Lucali

We celebrated my birthday last night with another visit to Lucali in Carroll Gardens, this time with Erin and Grier. It was just as delicious as I remembered, and this time we also tried the calzone, which was a real treat. The small is $10, and we split it as an appetizer. The same pizza toppings are offered as calzone stuffings, so we had basil and garlic, which went very well with the ricotta and mozzarella, and was absolutely delicious with their tangy tomato sauce, (when the waitress finally remembered to bring it over). We had called ahead to get on the wait list, so our time outside in the cold was tolerable, and although we waited a while for the first pizza, we ordered a second one when we were half way done, and it came quickly. Yum!

Erin and Grier make their first Slices of the City appearance. Finally!

Special topping of the night: Porcini mushrooms

Back at home for AJ's homemade red velvet cake and birthday candles!