La Pizza Fresca
I ate at La Pizza Fresca on my recent trip to New York, following the recommendation in the Eclectic Guide. It was quite good, but I register the following objections.
I ordered the pizza with brocolli rabe. The brocolli blanketed the pie, somewhat overwhelming the subtle flavors of the cheese and crust. Is this authentic? I was under the impression that Neaopolitan pizza makers are sparing with the toppings in order to promote a harmony of flavors.
The crust was a little too uniform. In an issue of Simple Cooking John Thorne quotes Ed Behr as saying that the Italian pizzaola chars or even burns the crust "without apology." This pale crust seemed to have forgotten its roots.
It was still the best pizza I've had in a while, but I used to eat at John's on Bleeker when I lived on the East coast about 20 years ago, and it didn't challenge that memory.
I just looked up the Big Dog's recent postings, indicating decline, on La Pizza Fresca. Perhaps you could start a "Slight Downhill Alert" page. But the book is great (the "guarantee of dissatisfaction" is quite a stroke) and this board is an awesome supplement.
the place is going downhill ... and it aint just the pizza. the last two times i've been there i've had unbelievably rude service, so much so that i'm not going back. in one instance, the (young) waitress refused to even consider asking the cook to make my pizza with an egg (the italian ham and eggs: on a pizza with prosciutto. after putting the sauce on the dough, you crack an egg so that the yolk sits in the middle. arrange the topping around it as usual. the egg cooks like its being fried and transports the pizza to another level.) she kept telling me in an unbelievably patronizing way that they cook only italian pizza.
all of which is great pity, because apart from its pizza, the restaurant has one of the zestiest tomato based sauces i've had in a while.
It's more than a little downhill (and, trust me, it was KILLING once). Our Downhill Alert page hasn't been updated since the late 20th century. As soon as we can find a way to hire a staff, more stuff will get done around here.
I can't BELIEVE my publisher kept in that "Guarantee of Dissatisfaction" paragraph. Wish you could've seen the mischievous grin on my face as I typed it.