In DiFense of DiFara's...
I went to DiFara's for the first time last night, very excited about the food from Jim's book, but somewhat fearful about what else we might find based on the numerous "warnings" postings on this board.
I won't rave at length about the perfect meatball parm sub I had (little bits of fresh basil peeping out of tiny hot (and not from a microwave!) meatballs, or about how my boyfriend's veal parm actually tasted like delicious fresh garlicky veal and not like some pre-fab patty. Nor will I dwell on the delight of the slice we had for an appetizer with its coating of yummy olive oil and -- shocking -- a crust with flavor. People who come to these boards know all about that...
What I would like to talk about is the incredible friendliness of the owner and his lady assistant, the charm of seeing the very mixed neighborhood crowd welcomed as regulars and all exchanging banter with the owner, and the stunning $19.75 tab for two for one of the best meals I've had in a long time.
Sure, the room is dingy and we had to sweep some crumbs off the table, but this hardly seemed to pose a health risk, especially as the cooking area (which you have to walk through to get to the bathroom, so we saw it) seemed perfectly clean. And it took a while to get our food because ... it was actually being COOKED. Not reheated, not microwaved, not assembled from prefab components, but cooked. Hardly something to complain about, particularly as the aforementioned delicious slices can take the edge off any hunger and as the colorful comings and goings of the regulars and their interactions with the owner ensure you will not be bored while you wait!
So, I would tell anyone who was possibly put off by what they have seen on this website to go on a weekday and tell those who were complaining to GET OVER IT. I for one would feel like a piece of real New York history would be lost if the place were to put in some slick "dining room" to please the picky. I can't wait to take my Dad, who grew up in this neighborhood, there... I bet he gets tears in his eyes!
Beautifully said, Elaine!
Actually, i'm grateful for the naysaying messages. DiFara's was getting too busy, Dominic was getting overwhelmed. We need to cultivate a false front of negativity in order to protect the place.
YOu know, he was thinking of closing the place until we chowhounds started flocking there. He's now happy and feels respected and admired.
Oh, and the woman is actually his daughter.
re: Jim Leff
Pat - I know exactly how you feel about Bo's; I never got there either. I fantasize sometimes that Maria will come back from Korea and open another restaurant, which I will patronize diligently!
Jim - I'm glad to hear that the owner of DiFara's likes chowhounder love - we were so happy we couldn't help babbling incoherent praise at them between mouthfuls.
Elaine: I still get depressed when I think that I never got to eat at Bo before it closed. If anything happens to DiFara's before I get there, I don't know what I'll do. Your post was wonderful to read. Let us know how your Dad reacts when you take there. pat