HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >


Was my DiFara's dissapointment my fault?!?

So, I gotta ask my fellow chowhounds a question...I went to DiFara's this morning, around it'sopening at noon, for the first time, excited to see Dom, the master at work, and to eat some fantastic pizza. However, although the crust was nicely charred and salted, the sauce was sweet and delicious, the blend of cheeses of terrific quality, the sausage of great quality, and the basil fresh, the slices itself did not hold up well. The tip sagged, the cheese slid off into a goopy mess and my friend's meatball slice completely fell across into shambles. But, was it our fault because we did not allow the slices to cool completely after they came fresh out the oven? However, the slices were not too hot, they were just the right temperature, so I figured they would hold up to eat. What do you all suggest for next time or is this a clear sign that DiFara's is going downhill?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Definitely a clear sign

    1. If you didn't get the square, it's likely to happen with toppings. I am a new convert to the cult that says only get the square with no toppings. It holds up so much better to the sauce.

      1. I never ever get toppings. Topping are just awful and not meant to go on a non-square slice. However, if you HAVE TO get topping, then fold your slices. It's too thin otherwise.

        I eat my slices when they're still so hot that I have burns two days later, so it's not the heat.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JFores

          Really?! Toppings are incredible. There is nothing like the melty garlic, the luscious garlicky oil and the greatness of the artichoke on a round pie with sauteed artichoke. And yes, the pie ends up liquid and goopy in the middle, but you start with a fork and lift the slice only once it's safe.

          1. re: rose water

            No no no no no! Toppings are utterly besides the point. They just cloud the issue and detract from the main theme - otherworldly pizza with no pretensions. For god's sake keep it simple!

            1. re: j.walker

              Exactly J.Walker. I've never liked toppings. On a normal slice at your corner pizzeria (if you don't live on East 15th that is... not cheating...) you'll just have an oil spill if you get toppings (well, it would be without, but it's more Exxon Valdez level if you get toppings.) I've never been a fan of toppings and garlic is the only topping that I reeeeeally like on a Di Fara pie. I still almost never get them though. If it's a square then bring on the toppings. It holds up way better.

        2. I like how even if someone has a bad experience they assume it has to be their fault. God bless Dom, but am I the only one to notice a few more negative reviews than usual in the past couple of months?

          4 Replies
          1. re: bhill

            I've definitely noticed more of those. Maybe everyone should stop going there. Mwah haha! **rubbing palms together gleefully at the thought of no line**

            1. re: oolah

              You obviously had a bad experience, but reason should tell you that one bad experience is not a "clear sign that DiFara's is going downhill"
              Contrast your experience to the 1,000 positive posts and counting.
              Note--I am not a stanch DiFara's defender and I'm not found in any of the endless posts eliciting the same argument for the sake of arguing.
              I am fortunate in that my parents live in Midwood, so when I visit, particularly during off hours, I try to hit Difaras because it's by far the best pizza I've had . But as charming as Dom is, I've also walked out frustrated and angry--it's always a gamble. So I stear clear of the endless debates because I understand both sides
              But one bad experience is not a "clear sign" of anything.

              1. re: abu applesauce

                Bravo, abu applesauce. Having gone only once, many years ago, I''m a mere Di Fara's agnostic. but however good or bad the product, no one should ever feel disappointment's his or her "fault". It's a pizzeria, after all.

                1. re: obob96

                  Well, I do think that it was the OP's "fault". We usually get a round, often with a broccoli rabe topping (the square is just too big for two people). We also get extra paper plates and a knife and fork. Simple consequence of the way Dom makes pizza (thin crust, lots of oil) is that the slice tips are very floppy and require the use of a knife and fork for the first couple of inches (or at least a fork to hold it from the bottom when you pick up the slice). Even with this technique, some cheese and topping will slide off onto the metal pie plate and have to be lifted back on to the slice. If you are not comfortable eating pizza this way, you will never like Dom's round. If that's a "fault" so be it.

          2. dude...chill out...you got too many toppings...live with it.

            8 Replies
            1. re: sam1

              Have to agree. The "fault" is anyone who doesn't "get" how to navigate the place and which toppings do and do not work. There is an art to moving in quickly and efficiently and getting out seamlessly. It's about timing and assertiveness. Many have learned this and many have not. So basically, yes it's pretty much your fault. But like the OP said it's nothing to feel bad about with so many other decent options for NY pizza. Look on the bright side!

              1. re: j.walker

                I just went to DiFara's for the first time a few week ago and got some regular slices(although numerous posts have me fiending for a square), no toppings on mine but my wife did get some. The slices are thin and some of the cheese slides off. And my wife lost a few toppings onto the plate. Big freakin deal. It tasted amazing and we got to see a master craftsman at work. Taste is the #1 thing we're after in regards to Di Fara's anyway

                1. re: j.walker

                  No wonder people think that New Yorkers are neurotic. Can't believe we're seriously discussing the "fault" of someone who dared to order one topping on his slice (sausage) and felt disappointment that the slice did not hold up. Clearly, this person will be banished to the Chowhound Re-Education Center until he accepts the "true way" of DiFara's.

                  1. re: parkslopemama

                    Yes, but the re-education camp is located on avenue J and there will be no toppings on the pies.

                    1. re: parkslopemama

                      The point is the disappointment was utterly avoidable. Post after post makes this painfully evident: go easy on the toppings. Better yet, avoid them entirely. Hey, I love sauteed artichokes (or broccoli rabe or eggplant) as much as the next guy but there is a time and a place - and this isn't it!! Try as we do to help others avoid the pitfalls they persist in stumbling into the same trap repeatedly. Of course it's their fault!

                      1. re: j.walker

                        I think Dom was in a scary mood when he invented that new Di Fara pie thing. That has a loooad of toppings. I can see some severe genital burns resulting from the cheese slides on that thing.

                        1. re: j.walker

                          Now that we apparently need a user's manual for eating a slice of pizza, what's next: warning labels on a water glass to make sure you drink from the right side?

                          1. re: obob96

                            I admit the whole thing is tricky, especially blaming oneself for the disappointment. It is admittedly Woody-Allenesque (especially in NYC). However good thing require special contexts, and special protocols within those contexts. One the one hand, just eat the damn pizza and enjoy it. But on the other hand, there is a monster line and when you order you best do it right, or you will have wasted your efforts. A sad thing indeed. It is only a big deal once you realize how good it really is, and then in comparisan to everything else, it becomes a big deal by proxy.

                  2. Downhill for sure. Don't ever go back. Tell everyone you know it is a terrible place and to never, never go there.

                    1. That's the way it rolls. Sometimes it slides. Get another one, like I do.

                      1. Having said all of this, I do sincerly recommend a square pie with 2 toppings: Dom's own hot peppers (baked into the pie) and sausage (I know, I know). I think that the pies stand up very well with the sausage, and the hot peppers totally change the flavor. They are oily hot peppers, so the pie will be slightly oily, so be careful and eat it within 15 min. And do not transport the pizza long distances, for god's sake!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: NYJewboy

                          Mmm yeah... Why hasn't he been putting the whole peppers out lately? I used to have a bad habit of pulling the pot over to myself and eating them at the counter as I waited.

                        2. Eh, you guys are such snobs. DiFara is still delicious. I had two friends in from out of town in short succession and I took both of them there. This was in the last two weeks. I'll tell you about it.

                          I had never had toppings on my DiFara pizza (I as well felt they 'cloud the issue'), but pal #1 insisted on sausage and wow, what great sausage. The quality of the crust this time was thicker and drier than I was used to, and Dom had forgotten the last bit of olive oil he usually applies, which had much to do with the stiffer nature of the crust. I don't mind a bit of floppiness, and feel that the fresh oil really pulls it all together.

                          Pal #2 wanted pepperoni, and so it was. Not as perfect a topping as sausage, but high quality meat nonetheless. This time, Dom went about making this pizza his usual way, and the result was that oily, swampy mess that I've grown to love. Isn't this what DiFara is all about ? What, are you guys stressing about messing up that suit you wore to Midwood ?

                          I would highly recommend sausage, but I know nothing of the other toppings available. I've considered garlic in the past, and broccoli rabe as well. I also recommend going to DiFara right now, because it seems their weekday early afternoons are the slowest I've witnessed (first visit it took half an hour for a pie, the second twenty minutes). Don't lose faith !

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: cmballa

                            Garlic is by far the best topping. I just don't like stuff on my pizza. I don't care about the mess factor.

                            1. re: cmballa

                              yeah I recently was there and had vague concern that it wasn't that busy for 5pm on a weekday. I think it may have been raining. Hopefully concerns about the business side are unnecessary.

                              1. re: dark knight

                                I just came back from DiFara and the place was empty. Arrived at 1:15 having called five minutes earlier and requesting two pies to stay. We waited about 5 minutes after arrival and Dom called us over for the first pie. There were maybe two other tables occupied and two people at the counter I have always recommended to people that Monday to Thursday 1 to 3 is a great time to go. I understand most people can not go at that time but for those that can, get thee to DiFara. Two plain pies, just the right amount of burn, very little extra oil poured on, it was pizza perfection.

                                1. re: stuartlafonda

                                  Two funny. I too was there today around 1:30 and indeed it was deserted. Maybe 1 table occupied when we walked in (probably you) and no problem walking right up and chatting a good long while with Dom.

                                  By the time we left every table was taken and there were maybe 8 or 10 people standing around. Gotta love how that place goes in waves.

                                  1. re: Peter

                                    I was part of the group of 4 along the wall to the left, quietly eating pizza and marveling at our good fortune. Great pizza, no wait, no crowd. To bad we don't have a hand signal or button to identify fellow chowhounds.

                                  2. re: stuartlafonda

                                    Just a caveat to your recommendation. Dom's idea of retirement is taking Monday off. DF is now open 6 days a week.

                                2. re: cmballa

                                  Yeah, a square pie with sausage and broccoli rabe is delicious. You'll need to use a knife and fork, though.

                                3. Il Fornino on Bedford in Williamsburg, my new favorite, has a vast amount of toppings to choose from. And deliciously thin and crispy crusts. Never needed a knife/fork there.....maybe Dom's pies are just to be eaten without toppings. However, he'll never go downhill.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: flo

                                    Different style from DiFara's (more like Lucali's) but Il Fornino is greatly overlooked around here. Too bad Ayoub closed his Lower East Side place so quickly; it was also quite good for pizza.

                                  2. JFores, I live on east 15th street. Are u referring to the amazing thin pizza on 18th and 2nd or the old school pizzaria on 16th and 3rd????