There's a new game in town: the best pizza in Westchester NOW
- vvvindaloo May 23, 2008 10:00 PM
After several weeks of waiting (and reading, and calling...) Iron Tomato has opened in White Plains. This shop (really more of an emporium) carries excellent Italian products, some of which you would find in any good local Italian deli, and some you would have to go to either Belmont (Arthur Ave.) or even Manhattan for.
The grocery section has a terrific pasta, tomato, olive oil, vinegar, spice and snack assortment, (including some very cute pates, pestos, grains and jellies). There is also a very small produce section, a butcher (meat courtesy of Vincent's Meat on Arthur Ave.), fishmonger, cheese/dairy section, prepared foods counter, pastry counter, and, finally, the pizza counter.
I could tell from the aroma wafting toward me (as I happily accepted a cheese sample from a very friendly guy who also makes the mozzarella), that these pizzas were not fooling. They were the real deal- I could smell sweet tomato, milky cheese and fresh basil from where I stood. I sauntered over nonchalantly, as if I weren't yet convinced of their worthiness. There were four gentlemen behind the counter, all eager to help me as soon as I made up my mind. The pizza menu offered enough specialty pizzas to indicate that you could get just about anything you wanted on it, but it was the Margherita sample that sold me on bringing one home.
I could barely contain myself on the way, as my car filled with its beautiful fragrance and I consciously fought the urge to tear the box open at each and every red light.
My mom and I devoured it at room temp. The taste was damn near perfect- the only possible criticism I could come up with, regarding flavor, is that I might have liked a little bit more bite to the cheese. The mozzarella was so milky and fresh and mild that I thought it could maybe have used a sprinkle of something sharper. But, the truth is that it was fantastic just the way they gave it to me.
The crust is very thin, a little bit crispy (not super crispy, which I tend to prefer), and very tasty. It's not dry, it's not fluffy, it's not chewy, and it's not soggy.
This makes it perfect in my book!
Now for the less great part: it's expensive. I bought an "individual" size, reasoning that it was just for a taste (in restrospect, I should have gotten a large or maybe two larges). It cost $9, and was just enough for four small slices (barely equal to two traditional slices).
I understand that the cost of just about every commodity is skyrocketing, as is the fuel used to ship the commodity itself... but I couldn't help thinking that, if I were working in WP (for instance), one of these pizzas probably wouldn't even satisfy me for lunch. Sure, I could probably get a cute little Italian soda and perhaps a salad or veggies form the prepared foods section, but at what cost? $16? A bit steep, I think.
Also, as of now, there is nowhere to sit. It does look as though there is a designated area waiting for tables/chairs, though I am not certain about this.
The rest of the products, OTOH, I found to be very reasonably priced. I spent a good amount of time comparing sticker prices of foods I buy regularly in Eastchester, Manhattan and the Bronx, and found all of the Iron Tomato prices to be the same or lower.
I bought some imported sheep's milk ricotta, which I plan to use on some bruschetta tomorrow night. And I am going to top it with another one of the day's purchases: a lovely confection of balsamic jelly with pears.
I enthusiastically recommend a trip to Mamaroneck Ave., even if just to browse the pretty new store and smile back at the very pleasant staff. I dare you to resist the pizza!
I just returned from Iron Tomato. It is smaller than I imagined, but nevertheless very interesting. Since it was in the morning, we didn't try the pizza, but we did buy a fresh mozzarella. Many years ago, there was a place in Manhattan just south of the Port Authority on 9th Avenue called DiStasi Lattachini Freschi. The mozzarella there was fabulous, and when they closed, we were heartbroken. We searched for an equivalent mozzarella for years, and at last I found it at Iron Tomato. When I ordered a piece of ricotta salata, the cheese maker told me that the mozzarella was ready and would I and my son like to try some. I was instantly transported back to DiStasi's. I brought some home to my husband who remarked that it was still warm, and instantly sliced up some prosciutto and made a fabulous sandwich with the bread I bought there. As he ate it, he kept on saying that it was incredibly delicious. The cheese maker and I had a conversation and it seems that he is from Florence and that they have several stores there and in Fiesole. Since it was early (just past 10AM) I think a lot of the prepared foods were not yet out, but we managed to spend $25 without any trouble.
It's a lovely place, but I wouldn't plan to do all my shopping there. It is definitely a specialty store.
Hey vvvindaloo -- guess what they had? Garlic powder LOL!
Iron Chef collides with Top Tomato, and what results is "Iron Tomato". Who comes up with these names? Iron Tomato doesn't even begin to suggest that this is an "Italian" specialty foods shop. But be that as it may, I'd still like to pay it a visit.
Images here are c/o Ted Mann. (I'll try uploading the 3 pics again when CH has the service up and running -- they'll be included here as a reply).