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Di Fara [split from Manhattan board]

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I am a pizza-geek and went to Di Fara's for the first time today (I know, I know, it was way overdue). Here's my thoughts:

As far as slices go, there is no better pizza than Di Fara's. Dom is a master and loves his work and it comes through in the pizza. Very simple process, dough, chunky tomato sauce, bufalo mozz, pecorino and olive oil. He bakes it then snips basil on top and a little extra romano. Crust layer (not the entire crust) is a little harder than other NY pizzerias like Lombardi or Grimaldi, not as salty. The cheese combination and oil is what makes this pizza stand above the rest. Just amazing.

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  1. Did you try the square? I love the round but the square is truly transcendent.

    1. Try the square too. If you want toppings, the only acceptable topping is garlic. God I miss Dom.

      BTW, please don't mention Grimaldi's in the same paragraph.

      8 Replies
      1. re: JFores

        I did not try the square...although I saw him preparing it. It looks like the same toppings, but sicilian style dough. Right?

        Easy on the "don't mention Grimaldi's" thing. Di Fara is excellent, but Grimaldi's is still up there. Let's not get ridiculous, remember the typical pizza pie in America is the completely average Dominos.

        1. re: smokedgouda

          The sauce on his square is a completely different recipe.

          I would buy Dominos before going out of my way for Grimaldi's.

          1. re: smokedgouda

            In case it matters to you, I think the square us made with a meat-based sauced. As a vegetarian, I can't partake.

            1. re: Olive123

              Is it possible for Dom to make a square pie with the red sauce from the regular pie instead of the meat sauce he uses. Im not a fan of meat sauces in general and I think his round pie marinara is divine. Imagine that on a sqaure, wow. Please tell me this is possible....

              1. re: fcara

                The meat is really not noticeable... unless you're a vegetarian. It gives it a new flavor. Try running it by one of the sons and then confirm it 2-3 times with him.

          2. re: JFores

            I miss Dom too -- nothing like him anywhere else in the US, let alone LA. BTW, I know what you mean about toppings. I once ordered a slice of the round and one of the square, requesting baby artichokes for the square. Dom put them on the round, which initially disappointed me. But when I scraped a few onto the square it just didn't taste right -- too much oil, too awkward to eat, etc .-- much better on the round. The square tastes best as is -- pure oily, crispy, cheesy, meaty goodness...

            1. re: a_and_w

              Mmm hmm. I really don't like putting toppings on any of Dom's pies. I think it changes the texture and meltiness considerably. I do like a garlic pie from time to time though. Those are really awesome.

            2. re: JFores

              disagree, I like all kinds of stuff on the square pie - especially all the sauteed vegetables. It does get a little soggier than is optimum but it tastes magnificent.

              I think Dom's square is better than the round pie.

            3. I beleive, and I might be wrong, but Dom uses Parmigiano Reggiano or, more regularly, Grana Padano. I haven't seen nor tasted the extreme sharpness of pecorino or romano on his pies (thankfully).

              2 Replies
              1. re: NatS

                I assumed it was Romano, but it could be something else. Anyone know what the extra cheese is that Dom grates on his pies?

                1. re: smokedgouda

                  Usually Grana Padano.

              2. Smokey and the board: Who among the Di Fara's-devout has ALSO been to Totonno's in Coney Island? I haven't been to DF yet (planning a pilgrimage soon) but IMO, Totonno's is the best of the rest. (Incidentally, my all-time fave was Pepe's in New Haven, CT. Long wait, though.)

                10 Replies
                1. re: Mr. Particular

                  i've been to both and dom's easily tops totonno's. but i'll agree with you on pepe's. or at least i'll agree that difara's and pepe's are my two favorites on the planet. earth, that is. still waiting for others. :-)

                  1. re: TBird

                    People aren't saying "they miss Dom" because he died or something, are they? Please tell me it's just because you haven't been in a while, so you "miss Dom" and have a lonesome craving to take a hearty bite out of a slice (or square -- with that excellent, thick-cut, spicy, charred-around-the-edges pepperoni) of his soulful genius.

                    1. re: HankyT

                      dom is alive and well. :-)

                    2. re: TBird

                      Completed my pizza pilgrimage to Di Fara's on Black Friday. What can I say? It was life-altering. We walked there (around 4 miles) and built up a fantastic appetite. Waited 50 minutes for our plain pizza. Everything was in full effect--the whole scene is vividly burned into my memory. If I were to do it over I would not change a thing, but one has to approach it as a pilgrimage. Long live Dom!

                      1. re: Mr. Particular

                        awesome. :-)

                        1. re: Mr. Particular

                          I also made the trip recently for the first time. I walked in to a guy from Nashville fawning over Dom "It's such an honor, you can't believe what an honor this is for me!" Dom just stood there and smiled, as he cut basil onto a slice.

                          As for our pie, it was not the transcendent experience I had hoped for. I think if and when I make it back, I've learned a lesson: No pepperoni.

                          With all the oil from the cheese, the meat and the oil Dom puts on, our pie was a soppy bog of a mess. Also the strength of the meat with the generous sprinkling of parm on top really overpowered the delicate flavors underneath. Only occasionally would I get a great pure taste of the mozzarella and delicious sauce.

                          I began to realize this when while I was there as everyone else only got plain slices... except one woman who had one with fennel. So next time I'll know to go only with the plain.

                          1. re: bhill

                            Toppings are a big mistake on the rounds.

                            1. re: JFores

                              i usually get garlic & sausage, but neither are very greasy to begin with...

                              1. re: JFores

                                I disagree. IMHO, the special toppings are great. Broccoli rabe, baby eggplant, baby artichoke, etc. really add to the experience of the round, although I'm not a fan of the porcini mushrooms.

                        2. re: Mr. Particular

                          Totonno's is good but Dom's is in an orbit of its own. He is simply a pizza God.

                        3. Yes, I too only get the square. I think it stands up very well to toppings. My favorite combination is sausage/onion/pepper on the square. However I disagree about the round, it benefits from toppings but does become soggy when let to stand, especially when vegetables that contain a lot of water are used. If you eat it there in less than 5 minutes after it comes from the oven it is perfect. I am going there today!

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: NYJewboy

                            If only an ocean didn't separate me from my love...

                            1. re: JFores

                              Here's my take:

                              1) The round cheese pizza is the best I have ever had. I have been to tons of NY pizza places. Many are excellent, but Di Fara gets the edge as #1.

                              2) You must eat it quickly from the moment it no longer burns your mouth because all of the oil will turn the slice soggy eventually. Fortunately it is so good that eating it too slowly is never a problem.

                              1. re: BigV

                                Pizza should never be that oily...Never

                                1. re: Tay

                                  Why? I think a round pie at Di Fara is one of the greatest meals in human history. It could easily beat out 17 course feasts in the French Court of Louis the Fourteenth or a variety of Chinese Imperial banquets. It's perfect. I just don't like it with topping. The square has its flaws, but it's toppingable. Garlic is the only acceptable topping on the round, IMO.

                                2. re: BigV

                                  Pfft, you have to start when the oil is still burning your mouth! That's the fun! Actually, I never notice it at the time, but I my mouth is always scorched hours after Di Fara when my pizzagasm wears off. I think "Hmmm maybe that was a wee bit hot..."

                              2. re: NYJewboy

                                The square pie is orgasmic.

                                1. re: Scagnetti

                                  The square pie is almost as good as sex with cheerleaders.

                                  1. re: pastoralia

                                    If a cheerleader was stuffed with 3 kinds of cheese and veal sauce, and baked within a stiff crust...

                                    1. re: NYJewboy

                                      Should this be moved to the Canablism forum? ;)