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Disappointing NY pizza [Moved from the LA board]

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  • nd33x Sep 18, 2007 09:06 AM

[This thread was split from a discussion of NY style pizza on the LA board. You can find that discussion at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44182... --The Chowhound Team

]

I was in NY a few weeks ago (I am born and raised in LA). I was excited to try the NY pizza I was hearing so much about. I was completely disappointed (and yes I went to all of the places that are supposed to have the best pizza). I guess I just don’t get it. Too me, the pizza just wasn’t that tasty and wasn’t much different than the pizza I can get in LA or any large city. Sorry to say that I believe the city is a little pretentious when it comes to everything, especially the pizza. We get it, NY is the greatest city in the world (and it does have great restaurants and food), but you would think that New Yorkers wouldn’t have to shove it down everyone’s throat if it were so good. To tell you the truth, most of my friends from LA laugh at this odd behavior of having to boast of everything. I point this out because the behavior actually occurs back East as well. Don’t mean to step on any toes, just an observation.

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  1. did you get the classic pie at grimaldi's in brooklyn?

    that was truly my most sublime ny pizza experience...and i was born & raised there.

    21 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I agree, Grimaldi's is something magical. Definitely the best pizza I have tried in NYC so far. That fresh bright white cheese, fresh sauce, and amazing crust are more addictive than crack. We have decent pies here, but nothing quite like that unfortunately, but ironically if NYC is so great, why do so many of them end up moving out here anyway? LOL

      1. re: Ernie

        stop! you're making me drool just thinking about it, and i'm not allowed to eat pizza anymore :(

        as for the westward migration....i may live for food, but as good as that pizza may be, it still would never have been worth suffering through life in nyc any longer. don't get me wrong, manhattan will always have a special place in my heart. heck, i was born there! but the quality of life there - for me, at least - left far too much to be desired.

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I did. Walked across the bridge for it. I'm not going to say I didn't like it because it definately was good, but it wasn't so spectacular and different from any other good pizza you can get in any large city. I guess I am in the minority.

        1. re: nd33x

          Actually, I think if you do a search of the Outer Borough board you'll find that many feel Grimaldi's has been coasting on rep for some time.

          1. re: a_and_w

            that would be so unfortunate! but it may very well be true. i haven't been there since the late '90's so i guess my opinion is pretty outdated.

            nd: that's a bummer. i'm sorry it wasn't a more gratifying experience for you.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Here's the deal New York pizza along with New York deli food is mostly a thing of the past. Let me explain. From what I hear there used to be numerous great pizza joints on most every corner serving pretty good slices. But over the years, for some reason or another the vaunted New York slice has disappeared. If you really ask a New Yorker (preferably a chowhound who's really into pizza), there just isn't that much quality New York pizza even in New York.

              Now not to insult anyone, but I've heard Grimaldi's has seriously gone downhill, due to its tourist trap leanings aka the only stop on the NY double decker tour bus of Brooklyn.

              If you want some good pizza there are two few joints left, places like Spumoni Garden's is good, and Totonno's of Coney Island, the newly constructed, though still having the patina of old age, Lucali's in Carrol Garden's, and the original Patsy's in East Harlem.

              Lastly, the grand dame of pizza (when people think of the classic, quintessential New York style) is DiFara in Midwood. Great stuff in todays New York pizza market, but if may not have been as great when compared to the numerous good joints around Brooklyn c.50 years or so ago, which have no ultimately disappeared and replaced with supbar quality slice shoppes.

              1. re: kevin

                Kevin, IMO, your analysis is spot on.

                1. re: a_and_w

                  i agree, except for spumoni gardens. blech! i had better pizza in grade school in the south...

                  1. re: TBird

                    might i also add that i do still go there, but only for the pistachio spumoni. it rocks!

                2. re: kevin

                  Kevin's right about Totonno's, L+B, and Patsy's. They represent a class of pizzeria that was, indeed, more common 50+ years ago--having grown up in Italian Brooklyn, they were family outings places, usually in a local bar or small restaurant. Sam's on Court Street is a museum of this age. Corner pizzerie--and there was always one on a corner-- varied widely, but there has been a dramatic drop off in average quality, except in nabes like Bensonhurst. The classic Totonno model has never been equalled anyplace but New York, no matter what anyone says. In addition, there are places here serving the even more traditional Neapolitan pizza (La Pizza Fresca, for example) that really do stand alone.

                  1. re: obob96

                    Also, it doesn't get much play -- I think because it's in Queens -- but Sac's on Broadway and 29th Street in Astoria is amazing! Shortly after our Brooklyn Pizza Tour last year (which ranked Totonno's top), my friends and I did a Queens Pizza Tour and Sac's came in first place. I highly suggest you check it out!

                    1. re: jenhen2

                      For some strange reason the pizza is always COLD when they serve it
                      I've heard it from many people
                      so i stopped going plus it is nothing to brag about

                  2. re: kevin

                    Don't forget Louie and Ernie's in the Bronx on Crosby and Waterbury Aves.

                  3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I haven't noticed any drop in Grimaldi's quality in the last 7 or so years since my first visit. Yes, it does have tourists but for a very good reason; the pizza is special.

                    I'm curious what other places in NYC use that wonderful type of fresh, bright white mozzarella?

                    1. re: Ernie

                      Off the top of my head, Patsy's and Joe's both use fresh mozzarella.

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        Cool thanks, I'll be sure to check those out next time when in NYC

                        1. re: Ernie

                          Ernie, if you are in LA, Joe's will be opening a branch shortly in Santa Monica. I'm assuming they'll have fresh mozz. I'd stick with Patsy's for fresh mozz if you're in NYC.

                3. re: nd33x

                  Did you go to DiFara's? It is INFINITELY better. Grimaldi's is way, way, past its prime and is mediocre at best.

                  1. re: NYJewboy

                    Yeah, I went to DiFara's...waited 2 hours for a pizza that was so dry the crust snapped rather than folded and the toppings were dried out. Great place to go if you don't want to eat and need to stand around wasting your time. This is the real tourist trap.

                    1. re: LJL

                      where do you go for pizza?

                      1. re: LJL

                        far from a tourist trap. the line is locals. difara's is the real deal.

                4. Did you really go to the places that have the best pizza? DiFara's, Totonno's (in Coney Island, not the fake ones in Manhattan), Patsy's in East Harlem? If your answer is yes, then we just have a difference of opinion. But if you've only been to John's and Grimaldi's you didn't get anywhere near the best.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bobjbkln

                    Yep, the three you name make up my triumvirate of great pizza in NYC. I also like Arturo's and DeMarco's, but they're a step below those three. To get the very best, you have to go to East Harlem or Brooklyn.

                  2. nd33x, are you willing to list the places where you had pizza?

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: prospero14

                      I ate a lot of Pizza while in NY. Most of the time I would go to small, no name places to try and get a sense of what NY pizza was about. Some of these smaller places were very good (not sure of the names of them though). Of the places that were recommended to me, I was able to get to John's, DeMarco and Grimaldi's (and I have placed them in the order from best to worst, in my opinion). Again, overall the pizza was good, just not so overwhelming that I would place NY on the pedestal it is on for pizza.

                      It could be that these other places that I missed are amazing. However, it has continuously been claimed that the overall quality and taste of the many pizza places in NY are superior to other cities, which I just didn’t find. For example, LA has a reputation for the best Mexican food. Now I am sure there are great Mexican food joints in NY, however, I guarantee that the overall offerings and quality that LA provides cannot be matched in other cities, save a few places in Texas.

                      1. re: nd33x

                        i can kind of relate to where nd33 is coming from. i moved to brooklyn 2 years ago from los angeles, and had only heard about the legendary pizza. it took me 6 months to "get it". still don't know what "it" is, but i do know that i could never eat pizza in LA the same again. i'm thinking it's the simplicity? the dough and cheese, nothing more. when something is put so high up on a pole, you think it's gonna be life altering. at the end of the day, it's just pizza! but again, i don't think i could eat pizza from los angeles without shaking my head in disappointment ever again. thanks, difara's! :-)

                        1. re: nd33x

                          Ah, now I understand your original post. First of all, yes, the other places that you missed were amazing. I respect the opinions of others on this board, but personally I've never had better than mediocre pizza at DeMarco or Grimaldi. Certainly not in the same league as the greats in my experience.

                          Second, it's certainly very easy to get bad pizza in NY. Hell, there's shitty pizza right on my very corner. I'm sure more mediocre pizza is consumed per day in New York than any other city in America. I bet they drink a lot of mediocre red wine in Paris, too. New York is on a pizza pedestal not because every single pizza place in a city of 8 million is great, but because there are a dozen or so pizza places that are simply in another league.

                          (That's why I put NYC on a pizza pedestal, at any rate.)

                          1. re: prospero14

                            OK, I think I understand better now. NY's reputation for great pizza is not about an overall large selection of great pizza places, like LA and Mexican food, but that there about a dozen places that are levels above other places throughout the county. I wish I would have hit those places when I was there. Next time!

                            1. re: nd33x

                              and those couple would be drum roll please....

                              DiFara
                              Patsy's (only the East Harlem locale)
                              Totonno's (only the Coney Island digs)
                              Lucali (Carroll Gardens)
                              Lombardi's (near Little Italy, i like it others don't)

                              1. re: kevin

                                With the exception of Lombardi's (I haven't tried it) this is my top 4 list exactly. Even in the same order! However, having said that, I put DiFara's way above all the others. Dom's square is in a class by itself.

                                1. re: NYJewboy

                                  I grew up in Texas, and I'm convinced the crap places in NY are better than almost anything you can get there. The pizza I've had in California - mostly in SF - was just a very different animal and while passable, it's nothing like the pizza here. I'm not a New Yorker so it's not an ego thing, but pizza here is just better in my opinion, from average pizza to the best of the best. And while I'm sure you could probably replicate Franny's in LA, there will never be another Difara.

                                  1. re: dark knight

                                    Franny's in Los Angeles, would most likely be Mozza. Very similar style.

                                    But DiFara will be very very very very hard to replicate.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      I think midrange pizza in NY would be the absolute best pizza in most other places. But who can tell? If there's one thing I've learned in my brief time on CH, it's that nothing gets the blood boiling more than a pizza battle. Everybody has a favorite they're willing to die for -- but they're all different favorites. Hell, we can't even agree on DiFara!
                                      I don;t know about this whole Chicago pizza hype (though the new issue of Saveur makes me very curious), but I've come to the conclusion -- through personal experience and lots and lots of first-hand testimonials -- that there's very little good pizza outside of NYC. Not said out of hubris mind you. I just think it's basically true. And that's OK. Things are supposed to be regional. It's what makes life interesting. Globalization has confused everyone.
                                      We do a few things better than anyone else here: bagels (though like pizza, precious few really good examples any more), pastrami (am I sticking my neck too far out here?) and pizza. Fresh mozzarella? Maybe. I don't know. Can include N. Jersey in NYC?

                                      1. re: HankyT

                                        BIALYS

                                        1. re: HankyT

                                          I should point out here that the so-called "Chicago pizza" that has been hyped up (mostly by the marketing departments of chain restaurants) has little to do with real pizza in Chicago. To judge Chicago pizza based on these samples is like judging the cuisine of Philadelphia based on the packaged cream cheese that bears its name. Should you ever get to Chicago and find yourself curious about what Chicago pizza really is, I suggest heading to the South Side to Vito & Nicks for a true Chicago original, the cracker crust pizza, or Palermo's on 63rd (there's two by the same name that are not the same owner) for the sweet sauce, or Fox's for their delicious sausage pizza with abundant caraway seeds. All of those are real Chicago pizza and they are as dissimilar to Uno's or "deep dish" as could be. Enjoy.

                                  2. re: kevin

                                    I would add:
                                    Nicks (for calzone, if that's not cheating)
                                    Joe and Pats (in Staten Island)
                                    Spumoni Gardens

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      I'd add Louie & Ernie's to your list, just to make sure the Bronx is represented - very similar to the Patsy's pie, if, and only if, you get one straight from the oven.

                                      While I understand the original poster's lament - I've lived half my life in NYC and the other half in So Cal - I think even the mediocre pizza in NYC is better than what's served up here in CA on a routine basis - with the possible exception of a very few Italian restaurants which happen to have wood ovens. But every time I go there for a pie, it winds up costing me $150 - a la carte salad, the pizza, and a bottle or two of wine!
                                      Nothing here duplicates the experience of ducking into a pizzeria for a slice or two, and getting a damned good, filling meal for under $10

                                    2. re: nd33x

                                      I think you've got it. Unfortunately, this wasnt always the case. But, I feel like an old man when I say "thirty years ago you could find solid pizza in every neighborhood", especially since many of you all werent even eating solid food back then. However, that's where we are and the number of really good places is shrinking quickly. Only Lucali's & maybe Fornino's are newcomers worthy of being added (& Franny's, but I dont see that as NY style pizza at all). And, of the "name" places, Grimaldi's & DeMarco's suck & I'm hearing that E.Harlem's Patsy's may be slipping. When Dom retires, only average storefront pizza will remain & the best NY will have to offer are by the pie pizza restaurants.

                                      1. re: Steve R

                                        What you are saying is so true..As the demographics/ethnicities of the diffferent neighborhoods change, so do the local vendore/eateries When I was a kid, 5th Ave was pretty much Irish and Norwegian, 8th was entirely Norwegian, 13th Ave Orthodox Jewish and 18th Ave?. Fuggeddaboudit! Now 5th Ave is much more Middle Eastern and 8th entirely Asian. A lot of the ethnic groups of the 60's-80's moved to the 'Burbs or down South and now there are more take out fast food joints than pizza joints. Still and all, you can find some of the past in the darndest places. Last week, I had a slice at a place in Houston.
                                        I took a few bites, looked at the counter guy and said"
                                        "Brooklyn?" He smiled and said " Bensonhurst" :-} Made my trip.

                                        1. re: Steve R

                                          Patsy's is getting spotty. We took Seattle relatives their two nights ago and the first pie was so-so. When the second came out I could tell by looking at it that it was the real thing. And it was. The house salad is still good. But what we found disconcerting was the sign in the window advertising for an experienced pizza chef. BTW, the relatives thought it was all great pizza.

                                          1. re: Brian W

                                            was jose making the pizza? its always best when he is around. he made pizza for sinatra.

                                    3. re: nd33x

                                      It just so happens that the three you mention that you visited have been commented on and declared past their prime for a couple of years on this site. John's as current best in NY? Not since the '80s. Not that it's worth a ticket back to test this claim, but you should try to have the latest "word" next time.

                                  3. One quality that almost every New Yorker in the five boroughs possesses, is the ability to be within walking distance of an above average (nationally speaking) slice of pizza from a independent owner-operated small business. That is a quality, I hope, that always remains fundamentally New York. This is not to say that one can’t spend an hour and a half on a an LA Freeway driving to find some good pizza, but when speaking of a pizza culture, there is no comparing NYC and LA.

                                    I believe the spirit of the original poster was to dispel the zealous praise of some NYC pizzerias (Chowhouders included), promising an ethereal experience (just try and criticize Di Fara’s and you will get a triple digit thread response). New York City Pizza should not be measured by chest beating rants boasting “the best pizza in the city, but by the depth, volume and diversity of the pizza it offers.

                                    It may be true that “Grimaldi’s is overrated and isn’t what it used to be” and 50 years ago this….and I remember when that, but how many wood burning and brick oven pizzerias were there in New York a generation ago? Maybe there is no longer one predominant style of NYC pizza anymore, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

                                    33 Replies
                                    1. re: Jadro_Staad

                                      Exactly, what we have in NY is the ability to walk to great and above average indepenntly owned shops. Being able to buy a slice of pizza is rare outside of ny. The slice is one of the best "walking" foods there is which makes it fundamentally NY. o other city in the US is as much of a walking city as is NY.

                                      1. re: Jadro_Staad

                                        I must tell you... An outstandingly thoughtful posting... You summed it all up very well...
                                        BTW, I criticize Di Fara's all the time (Not the pizza, just the annoying chaos,and Friends of Dom, mentality of a few ) and you're right, it's like waving a red flag.
                                        DiFara-ites go ballistic...

                                        1. re: Tay

                                          Here is a secret: try going to DiFara's at 10 PM. No line or chaos, every time.

                                          1. re: NYJewboy

                                            or exaxtly at 11am on a sunday.

                                            1. re: NYJewboy

                                              While I sincerely appreciate the timing tip. I just can't time my desire for pizza . They need to hire staff.to manage the chaos and do something about all the people who elbow their way past others claiming that they are friends of the owner. The owner's daughter is probably a lovely person but she's not up to the task.. The ironic thing is that if they did that, I'm reasonably certain they would do bettter financially and I know it would be less stressful for their patrons.

                                            2. re: Tay

                                              Who are these people that go ballistic? I would like to categorically say that Difara's is not worth the trip and all chowhounders should avoid the place like the plague. :)

                                              1. re: dark knight

                                                Oh Oh, dark knight. Better sharpen your lance.:-} Expect to see a flurry of postings from the DiFara devotees. Let me restate: While I think they have great pizza. It's just not worth the hassle TO ME.The length to which others are willing to go to obtain their food fix is entirely up to them.

                                                1. re: Tay

                                                  Tay - just bear in mind that for some of us, all the chaos and hassle is part of the charm of the place - although I personally try to go at slower times. I can understand not wanting to deal with that - waiting an hour for a pizza isn't for everyone.

                                                  This isn't so much directed at you and it's more just a general comment - but I find it strange the way we Americans hate a lot about big chains and big corporations, but we seem to want customer service of mom and pop places to be like a big fast food chains. I mean, if the owner was replaced with a machine, it would probably come out twice as fast. ;) Slow can be a good thing.

                                                  1. re: dark knight

                                                    dark knight... That's not it at all... ...Sheeesh! :-}
                                                    Can I tell you're a guy or what? Pay attention class...
                                                    I don't mind waiting the hour, or whatever it takes IF it's b/c the place is so busy that "Mom and Pop" are innundated with orders. It's waiting 90 minutes b/c other people just muscled their way to the counter or popped in with the whole. "I'm a friend of Dom" routine.
                                                    that I find obnoxious and unfair. I'm a NYC'er too. I know all about waiting...
                                                    Yes.. Slow can be a very good thing, Chaos,...Not so much.

                                                    1. re: Tay

                                                      The problem is much better when Dom's daughter writes the orders down and remembers the sequence in which she wrote them. Problem solved. However, she is not there most of the time and it is pure chaos. DiFara's is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. Dom is it. Love it or leave it. I don't like waiting either, but its too good not to.

                                                      1. re: Tay

                                                        Well - I did say a lot of my comments weren't really directed at you, but I guess I don't totally understand the distinction. An hour is still an hour last time I checked. :) It's like road rage - you can let it drive you nuts that some people are going to blow past the line and cut in, or you can sit back and realize you're going to get there eventually. All I'm saying is, I don't view it as a hassle. I view it all as part of the package, although I'm not sure I've been in a situation there where lots of people have cut in front of me - maybe just 1 or 2 here and there.

                                                        1. re: dark knight

                                                          Yes... And of course I'm not takiing postings personally (Except maye the one where someone referred to me as a PIA, lol!)
                                                          Of course there's a distinction...While an hour is 60 min any way you cut it, I don't mind waiting if it's due to that many orders being ahead of mine.. That's just life in the Big City. It's the feeling of being taken advantage of that annoys me. You'd never know it from these posts, but in RL I'm actually a pretty mellow person. I just have this thing about treating others and being treated, fairly.
                                                          You give off this zen vibe , so I'm guessing you are too laid back to be from NYC... I do think you're ahead of the curve on this.
                                                          It's probably a good way to view the DiFara "Experience"

                                                          1. re: Tay

                                                            Guilty - I'm originally from Texas where we let people merge. :)

                                                            1. re: dark knight

                                                              Ahhhh... ... The cordial South ....I figured something like that..
                                                              Here we let cars merge and people ...Collide.

                                                            2. re: Tay

                                                              Tay,
                                                              I appreciate your lack of patience for DiFara's "style of service" (which, it seems is similar to your opinion of Peter Luger's). OTOH many of us feel that Dom weakness is his strength. There is something wonderful (as others have said while I was waiting--I started this post 2 hours ago, before dinner) about him insisting that he is the only one that touches the pies (although he lets his son cook the toppings). It's great to watch him and his smile (daughter smile is super as well). But you have to be in the mood to wait 60-90 minutes for your pie. And admittedly, even if we have a bottle of wine to help us handle our wait, most nights we are not prepared for it. So on those nights we either go to Totonno's or Lucali's or we don't have pizza (after all, for people our age--over 60--the saturated fat isn't worth it for mediocre food). But when we're in the mood, DiFara's is heaven, albeit slow heaven.

                                                              BTW, I have experienced a number of people pushing up front and saying "hello Dom, here we are, please put up our pizza now", but, despite their selfish efforts, I've never seen them getting a pie earlier than on Dom's random schedule.

                                                              In any case, Dom is what is best in NYC (and especially Brooklyn) but because of the hassle and the fat, his pizza is a rare treat (like spending $125+ pp is a rare treat at PL).

                                                              PS: I've lived in NYC for 63 of my 64 years.

                                                              1. re: bobjbkln

                                                                bobjbkln
                                                                .Ok.... I yield (for tonight, at least,) to your kind and appealing portrait of the master Pizza Maker and his daughter. I will just try to get over myself on this topic. Bolstered by your calm logic and dark knight's, Zen approach, I may even consider trying again...Maybe :-}

                                                                1. re: Tay

                                                                  If you are not a teetotaler, I would suggest that you bring a bottle of decent inexpensive red. A glass or two should help you through the wait.

                                                  2. re: Tay

                                                    you are very ccourageous, tay. so where do you go for pizza?

                                                    1. re: josh L

                                                      Josh L
                                                      Actually, I was wondering when someone would ask me this question.
                                                      I certainly didn't think it would be you :-}
                                                      I have had good pizza at supposedly bad pizzarias and bad pizza at some of the more consistant recc on this board. The one thing I have learned is that pizza and cardboard were not meant to be partnered. Pizza is not meant to be transported any greater distance than from oven to table. .
                                                      For a long time, I favored the unique crispy crust crumbled sausage and fresh mushroompizza at Lento's in Bay Ridge ( Now gone), And the traditional neighborhood pizza at Johnny's on 58th and 5th and Elegante on 69th and 5th, as well as the original Goodfella's on Staten Island, I still like Totonno's pizza,( As long as someone else picks it up so I don't have to deal with the Harpy behind the counter). Sometimes I like the brick oven margarita pie from Casa Bella's in Bath Beach
                                                      Of course I really like DiFara's pizza. and were it not for all the things I've mentioned before, I'd be more than happy to wait my turn to have that excellent pizza. At some point during one chaotic visit, I just came to the conclusion that FOR ME, putting up with the whole ordeal was just too much to have to put up with for the end product. I respectfully acknowledge that for many of you, the reward is worth the process. As I mentioned in the PL posting, for me all shared meals are influenced, (good or bad) by the total experience. not just the dish/food.
                                                      Yes, I know ... That makes me more of generalist and less of a purist.
                                                      One day I read a post from a DiFara "Regular" who gleefully admitted that he often, (AKA: Always ) fast forwards in DiFara's and basically said that the rest of us are idiots (my word, not his) for not being agressive in our pursuit of a pie.
                                                      That was it for me...

                                                      I'm not courageous (But I'm not a PIA, either :-}

                                                      1. re: Tay

                                                        If you read my posts, Tay you will see that I am always searching for new places and thought you might be able to enlighten us on some new recommendations for pizza and steak, esp. considering you continue to slam two of the best meals anywhere. I am always quite surprised at people who post here and make a point of saying things like, "its just pizza." .tell that to an Italian grandma in Napoli. Some people live and die for pizza, it's a craft, an art, and too few craftsmen exist in the USA. Dom is probably the last great pizza maker. As for lugers, I know the management and some of the waiters, and while they are a bit gruff, they are professionals and are not rude unless you ask them a million questions. That’s how it’s been for generations. It’s an antique German beer hall, a place with a history.

                                                        1. re: josh L

                                                          Josh L.
                                                          Sheesh!.. Talk about dense ...Pay Attention:! I'm not 'slamming' them On the contrary, I always point out that I really like DiFara's pizza and in my last two posts just described PL's Porterhouse steak as "sublime" You are either not reading what I'm writing, or you just choose to comment on out of context word selection.
                                                          If, in fact, you live a life that grants you the luxury of being someone who can "Live and die for pizza" You're a lucky person living a charmed life.. "Craft" is fine, Elevating any pizza to Cult" status just plain....Silly
                                                          Your experiences at PL's were not mine so it's pointless for either of us to attempt to "enlighten" the other. As for asking/answering questions... Waitstaff are in the service business. I don't recall ever having abused that privlege but if answering a question is too difficult a task, I suggest they seek a less service oriented occupation. .

                                                          1. re: Tay

                                                            I thought you said you were laid back. :) (BTW - how can you not love the Brooklyn "harpy" at Totonno's?)

                                                            I can't speak for all the DiFara's defenders you've encountered here so I'm not sure why you are saying it's been elevated to "cult" status, but I'm with Josh L - it's a dying craft and there probably never will be a place quite like it again, so I can understand why some here get defensive about the place. I would think all pizza fanatics would hold that place in high esteem, even if the pizza isn't their top favorite. It will be a sad day when he decides to hang up his oven mitts, if he ever were to use them that is.

                                                            1. re: dark knight

                                                              thanks dark knight. i agree with you one hundred percent.

                                                              1. re: dark knight

                                                                Hmmm... I beilieve I said that YOU were laid back, (9/23/ 6:09pm) thus probably not originally from NYC.. However I am striving to be more mellow. :-}
                                                                Totonno's: Oh boy..You really don't want to get me started on the individual who owns/manages that place,."Mellow" will fly right out the window, lol! As for the cult remark, it was my response to Josh L's posted remark that "some people live and die for pizza" I may think that's a silly thing to say but I respect his, yours or anyone else's right to do so. He just has trouble understanding/paying attention to what I actually write so I tend to shake him up a little.
                                                                I've said it a gazillion times: I think DiFara's pizza is great. It's the process of obtaining it that doesn't work for me. That should make all of DiFara's devotees very happy b/c it means there is that much more pizza to be had for the rest of you. :-}

                                                                1. re: Tay

                                                                  As a staunch supporter of DiFara, I just want to step in here to side with Tay. Not that I agree with him - I'm one of those zen-like Texans we've been hearing about, and I've happily stood for over 2 hours just to get a square slice and a coke. But I've gone there with friends who could not enjoy the pizza, as good as it was, because of the hassle of getting it (even with me getting the pies while they sat at a table). Do I blame them or hold it against them? Absolutely not. I wish more people thought like that.

                                                                  I think that, for a number of people, pizza is NOT a way of life, and a lot of those people might end up at DiFara because of the unilaterally glowing reviews it gets on these boards. For many perfectly reasonable people, the cost of waiting two hours and having to struggle against entropy to get your pie may well be too high a price to pay for the delicious results. They don't end up at DiFara because they're willing to wait for the pizza; they end up there because of a sort of cult of celebrity around the place. They feel obliged to try this place even though the waiting and hassle mean that they won't enjoy it, and they end up having a negative experience.

                                                                  And all this time, they're making the place even more crowded, and keeping ME from getting MY PIE.

                                                                  So, though I disagree with him, I want to encourage Tay to keep fighting the good fight. Lots of people read these posts, and lots of those people would NOT enjoy DiFara, and it's posters like Tay who, like court-appointed defense attorneys defending guilty criminals, allow the system to function.

                                                                  1. re: ratatosk

                                                                    ratatosk...
                                                                    My sincere thanks to you and dark knight for clarifying my position in such a polite and courteous way. It must be some intriguing ability that Texans possess :-}
                                                                    Simply put: What you wrote is what I mean.

                                                                  2. re: Tay

                                                                    Oh ok - I only debate with you (Tay) because I'd hate to see you regret avoiding the place for reasons that might seem inconsequential in retrospect since the place won't be around forever. But by all means stay away. :)

                                                                    Speaking of which, shouldn't he be training his son to carry on the legacy and letting him make pies like one day a week or something? Or during summer vacation? Maybe the apprenticeship lasts 50 years. :)

                                                                    1. re: dark knight

                                                                      dark knight,
                                                                      I have had the pleasure of enjoyig DiFara's pizza on several occasions and appreciate your thoughtful encouragement. I'm very glad I've tasted pizza that is so highly regarded by so many others on this Board.
                                                                      As for his son succeeding him...Maybe it's like driving: You can teach everyone the basics, but only a small percentage will become really good at it.. I do recall one of our fellow Chows posting that some other well regarded pizzaria (Sorry, cannot recall which) has an owner who told the poster. he is an admirer of DiFara's pizza and has been 'experimenting' to try to come up with a DiFara-like square.
                                                                      I don't know if that's even possible, (I know: It's not :-} ) But it's a testament to DiFara's unique product that another well established pizzaria is trying to "Capture the Pie "

                                                                      1. re: Tay

                                                                        "I do recall one of our fellow Chows posting that some other well regarded pizzaria (Sorry, cannot recall which) has an owner who told the poster. he is an admirer of DiFara's pizza and has been 'experimenting' to try to come up with a DiFara-like square."

                                                                        lucali's!

                                                                        1. re: TBird

                                                                          TBird.. AH HA!
                                                                          I knew I had read it and thought it was a place that started with the letter "L", but I couldn't recall the actual place and didn't want to guess
                                                                          Thanks much

                                                                          1. re: Tay

                                                                            Lucali's is supposed to be really good, whole pies only, lots of fresh snipped basil and a three cheese blend.

                                                                            also, you can sit at some tables and sip some BYOB wine or beer in a more tranquil atmosphere.

                                                                      2. re: dark knight

                                                                        Re: dark knight's comment on training the next generation-- This is a problem with many small businesses of all kinds, from farmers to wood working craftsmen to restaurateurs, general contractors or what have you. Either they don’t teach the business/financial end or like in DeMarcos’s case the fine points craftsmanship. Sometimes it’s a control issue, sometimes the daily business pressure is so hectic they just can’t find the time and often it can be both.

                                                                        Imagine trying to train someone to do it right in that tiny DiFara space with all that’s going on with the pies and the kitchen. The space he has by the oven looks so cramped it would be difficult to have 2 people working/observing each other. They would really have to make an effort to do it before or after regular hours since apparently there is little slack time; and by then everyone’s probably exhausted.

                                                                        I like all the pies and food there and would sure like to see him pass the craft along, but who knows?

                                                                        1. re: gnocchi

                                                                          When I was a kid we often had pizza from Gino's on 5th and 75th.
                                                                          It was a family afffair. The adults made the pies while the kids helped out by carrying the ingredients/supplies from kitchen to counter , washing off tables, filling shakers and drink orders, etc. As time passed, and the sons and daughters grew, so did their participation in the business. They were taking/serving orders. and some seemed to be spending time in the kitchen.Now, years later the grown "kids" are making the pies, etc and running the place which has become a two storefront restaurant. It's a wonderful and rarely seen art of passing a business from generation to generation.Most next generationers are moving away and local business are being sold to enterprising newcomers.

                                                      2. Some of my favorite pizza is in Astoria and Maspeth. I don't stick with any one pizza for too long though, since variety is the spice of life.

                                                        In Astoria, I enjoy:
                                                        Rizzo's pan pizza on Steinway St, just south of 30th Avenue. Not quite the same after they got the new pizza oven years ago. Must be something about the old oven's calibration.
                                                        Grand Ave pizza on 30th Ave and 35th St. Slightly small, but tasty.
                                                        Polito's Pizza on Broadway just west of Steinway St. (especially when I want a hefty slice).
                                                        Rosa and Tony's Bakery on 31 St just south of Ditmars Blvd. My only criticism is that they make the pizza early in the day, so you can only get oldish reheated pizza. I'd love to try some freshly made.
                                                        Sac's Pizza on 29th St and Broadway. Some people just don't get why others love the place. Tastes differ of course. But I'd like to recommend a suggestion. Order a pie from scratch and eat it straight out of the oven. To me, the dough is like fine pastry. Unfortunately, the pizza doesn't stand up to reheating or delivery. I think it's the steam from the heat that ruins that dough. They use full metal pans to place their pies. I think the pizza would stand up better on perforated pans, so that the crust doesn't get soggy and wet. If my first slice there had been a wet soggy reheated slice, I'd never have gone back. Again, try a fresh pie from scratch in the joint.

                                                        In Maspeth:
                                                        Rosa's Pizza on 69th St just north of Grand Ave. Gotta love it.
                                                        Caruana's Pizza on corner of 69th st and Grand Avenue. Just down the street from Rosa's. Sesame seeds on the crust.

                                                        And before I forget, there's just something about Pizza Boy's Sicilian slices I can't resist. They're located at 74th St and 37th Avenue, right in the middle of Little India