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Apr 6, 2008 01:52 PM

Toby's Public House

I tried Toby's Public House on 21st and 6th recently and thought it was great. There is a good selection of beer on tap including a cheap beer that is $3 and not bad at all. The decor is well done bar decor (dark wood bar and stools and several tables). The big difference between Toby's and your typical higher quality watering hole is the brick pizza oven prominently on display at the back of the restaurant. The pizza oven conveniently doubles as a fireplace in this slightly chilly time of year. Best of all, what comes out of it is really good. The pizzas are small in size (enough for one person) but very tasty. They remind me of pizzas in Italy, thin crust with high quality mozzarella and a sauce that is very tomatoey (i.e. light on the aromatics and herbs). For those who care, the pizzamaker seems like he is from Italy.

I think the pizzas compare favorably with Anthony's which seems to be the chowhound consensus winner for best pizza in the South Slope and I think the mozzarella that Toby's uses is of a higher quality. Toby's also has 3 flat screen TVs and they show soccer on Saturdays. They also show Yankees games most gamenights. The service is friendly and the bartender will even let you taste the beers if you can't decide which one you want. An excellent addition to the neighborhood.

Leaving food aside, my wife and were remarking that they seem to have the right mix of decor and atmosphere and share this with other recent additions such as Sidecar, Beer Table and Quarter and separate this group from the likes of Pyramide which unfortunately doesn't seem to have had the right mix, even back when the food was getting good reviews.

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  1. just left toby's for the first time. the pizza wasn't as good as i had hoped, a bit expensive for the size. not as good as anthony's either, imo. the beer list wasn't great either. not horrible, mind you. just not as good as i anticipated. they did show both the yankees game and the mets game without complaining...i'll definately be back <alot> but i think i am a victim of my own over anticipation...

    3 Replies
    1. re: TBird

      I've been to Toby's twice and concur they have pretty good pizza, but I won't get into a pizza war by comparing it to other places. The Tartufata pie is great. It has black truffle cream sauce, baked Italian ham, ricotta, mushrooms and truffle oil. It's very rich and satisfying. It's also $18 which brings me to my biggest issue with Toby's, i.e. the prices. The pizzas are 4 slices (not typical sized, much smaller) and you definitely need 1 pizza per person, more if your really hungry. My GF and I shared a small arugula salad, nothing fancy, not organic, not sure how they justify $9. We also had a Primavera pie for $14; tomato, mozzarella, artichoke, black olives, red onion and arugula. It was pretty good although the crust was a bit soggy in the middle. The weight of the ingredients was too much for the thin crust to support and you needed two hands to eat it. The least expensive pizza, Margherita is $13. The night we went there was a special shrimp pizza for $20.

      After one shared small salad, 2 pizzas, 2 sodas and tip we dropped $60. So although we enjoyed the meal there was an 'ouch' feeling afterwards. I kept thinking we could've had a full meal at Sidecar or a number of other local eateries for the same amount. There's also a note at bottom of the menu stating a $15 minimum per person, including children, to sit at tables during lunch and dinner, and 18% gratuity for parties of 6 or more. Those policies seem a bit misplaced for what's essentially a very nice, neighborhood sports tavern. It's a nice addition to the nabe if you want to watch a ballgame and have a beer, but it's hard to imagine making it a regular stop for pizza at those prices.

      1. re: rd135

        I agree with rd135. I am usually not one to balk at prices if the food is good, but I feel like Toby's is way out of line for the neighborhood. It is odd since it is the same owners as Kitchen Bar which is pretty decently priced - the food is OK, but we live a few blocks away and go there pretty often when we just want a quick dinner. Also, I feel like Toby's is limiting itself by just having pizza, salad and antipasto. How about some good sandwiches or a few other appetizers?? The truffle pizza is good, but for $18 I would rather have an entree at al di la or any number of other places...

      2. re: TBird

        I just tried Toby's and I gotta say, it's just not that good. The crust is spot-on, but the sauce and toppings were weak. The service was rude, and even at a pricey pie per person, I'm still hungry. Like KitchenBar, the aesthetic is solid, the vibe ok, but the food mediocre and overpriced. Both Anthony's and La Villa turn out far better pies (La Villa being my favorite of the two). For $30 for 2, you should really get something awesome -- and Toby's wasn't even close to awesome -- just expensive and pretentious.

      3. Just got back from my first trip there. The owner of the place is the owner of KitchenBar which is right down the street. The pizza I had was fine but the main draw for me was that they show soccer games on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Their hours say they open at noon on Sundays but they let us in at 11am to watch the Arsenal vs Man U game today.

        1 Reply
        1. re: blim8183

          the start delivery service on june 2nd, fyi.

        2. Sorry I found this place to have over priced bad pizza- what a bummer.
          It works as a bar.

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. I agree that the pizza at Toby's is quite good but the prices are not justified. For a bar where people are drinking and watching games, the pizzas need to be less expensive to justify having dinner there. And I agree that having a $15 minimum per person at this kind of establishment does not seem right. I don't know that I will go back there unless the prices come down.