do you mind talking about Difara's AGAIN? i haven't been yet...
i'm not such a pizza enthusiast that i generally make pilgramages for pizza, but all the different sources of raving about Difara's has me at just about breaking point -- and as i anticipate a move away from NYC in my future, i figure i better get while the getting is good.
my questions that have arisen from all the various posts here and write-ups otherwise:
1) i've heard raves about the baby artichoke and comments that it's even better when created as a whole pie vs. add them to a pre-cooked slice. i've also heard raves about them "in-season". my question: i doubt they are "in-season" now, but are they transcendant all the time?
2) i've read that the mushrooms are porcini in some sources. are they ALWAYS porcini? if so, oh my god, why isn't this always discussed?
3) due to popularity and Dom's individual pie-at-a-time process, i glean that it's always crowded, busy, and with long waits (an hour to three hours seems to be the gamut from order to food) ... but is there a time where the waits are less? i assume a weekday afternoon would be a good bet, but if i wanted some of my employed friends to join me, it would be a weekday evening or weekend. is it just crazy at these times?
4) are any of the meat toppings special?
1) IMO the artichoke pie is always terrific. i think artichokes are in season in the spring (march-may, or thereabouts), but if this is your first time at di fara, you have to get it. and yeah, always order a whole pie if at all possible, regardless of the topping. besides, sometimes you have to wait forever for a slice anyway.
2) the "regular" mushroom topping at di fara is different than the porcini mushroom special. both are good, but i actually prefer the "regular" - it's cooked in the back by dom's son or daughter before being applied to the pie, so it tastes a lot better than the generic canned mushrooms you get at most other pizzerias.
3) weekdays are usually less crowded than weekends, and yeah, i'd assume weekday afternoons would be an optimal time to go. on my last visit several weeks ago, there were only 2 people waiting when i showed up around 8pm on a tuesday night. but in general, it's good to allot a few hours for a trip to di fara - you can't go in and out the way you used to. i've waited 2+ hours for my pie when arriving on a friday or saturday around 6pm, for instance.
4) i like the sausage a lot, but in general, i think all of dom's toppings are great.
The artichokes on the artichoke pizza are awesome, same with the porcinis. However, it makes the pizza very soggy. I would recommend staying with a plain cheese pizza.
Porcini are not always available at DiFara's, but as previously mentioned, his regular mushrooms are also of excellent quality. In terms of the meat toppings, his pepperoni is really superior - he slices it himself, a good deal more thickly than is typical.
The other thing I'd recommend, other than pizza, is a calzone. The thing is, the calzoni are really huge and much too big for one person to eat. Even two people would be hard-pressed to finish one between them. But you can order a portion of a calzone, because others will gladly purchase the rest, piece by piece. Get whatever fillings you like, really.
That's funny, I am not a big fan of the pepperoni at difara's, though we order it a lot because my son likes it. I find it doesn't get the nice crispy edges because it's too thick, and it also makes an already deliciously oily pie almost too greasy. It's better on the sicilian than on the regular, though.
I'm also not a fan of the artichoke slice--it's not that it's bad, it's just that for me it does nothing for either artichokes or pizza.
I like the mushrooms, both porcini and plain. I also like the fried eggplant, as it tastes like this great combo of eggplant parm and pizza.
The sausage isnt really recommendable - we usually go for veg, like mushrooms onions and peppers, or eggplant, on our sicilian pie, since they are sauteed in the kitchen before being added and have a lovely flavor. I believe the porcinis are put up in oil and placed on the pie cold after it is finished. We havent been tempted.
Yeah, the baby eggplants are great! But I love those baby artichokes, and I do think that the best way to order a slice is with artichokes (and I usually order a second topping). Delicious pizza slightly heaped with great topping - that's a bad thing? Not in my book! If I want an apotheosis of super-thin-crust pizza, I go elsewhere, like Patsy's East Harlem, and get a plain pie.
Guess I might as well weigh in on this since I've been there twice this week. Although toppings do add to the flavor, I really like the square slices just the way they are. The round can get kind of soggy but the jarred green olives he's using are incredible on the round slices. I think Jen is correct that the rabe is better as a side... I dont think this particular add on creates any significant change in either the pizza or the topping anyway so it's not important. The regular non-porcini mushrooms are a perfect topping.
Although Sunday was pretty damn crowded, Wed eve around 7:30 was calm. He caught up on pie orders and actually had time to talk.
i have gotten the porcini pie in the past but wasn't bowled over. the porcinis are kept in oil and added after the pie is done. i prefer the plain round pie- you will be dreaming about the basil and parmagiano regiano days later :-P