Grimaldi's just opened in Douglaston, Queens.
Has anyone tried it out?
This was the third and last time we will eat at Grimaldi's. The table cloths had dirt on them from prior diners. I had the misfortune of biting down on a rock that was in the pizza dough.
When I spoke with the waiter he said it is just part of the dough -it was a black rock and I told him so. The manager then came over and did not apologize said this happens from time to time and offered to make another pie. She did not offer to comp us the pie or offer a glass of wine. Very ungracious. If you want great pizza in our area Sal's in Little Neck is the real deal and I've never had a rock in his pizza. Also Sal's calzones are freshly made and to die for.
I was there two weeks ago and the pizza was very good. I'm not a fan of the Brooklyn Grimaldi's anymore, I think it is way down hill, but I had to check out this branch as I'm not to far away and there is no outstanding, destination worthy pizza in northeast Queens. The pizza was super thin and very crisp, sauce was good, not that sweet. The cheese was decent, fresh mozz. Some smoke taste from the coal oven. The biggest problem is the location as it is inside the lower level of a parking garage in a depressing nearly empty strip mall alongside the LIE. They will get some help from the overflow from the movie theatre, but it is not any easy place to find. A man and a women were running the place, doing everything but making the pizza. The man was very pleasant the woman was not. The place is dominated by a poorly painted mural of the Brooklyn Grimaldi's and the street where it is located. The rest of the place is decorated with Sinatra's mug shot, Monroe photographs and a variety of stock items. With the checkered tablecloths and chairs it has a "chain" feel to it. Not worth a long trip, it is on par with Sal's coal oven pizza in Port Washington and the other Gimaldi's in Garden City.
I went there a two Saturdays ago. Keep in mind that I've never had a DiFara pizza or any of those mythic pizzas the NYC Chowhounders and Yelpers hold so dear to their heart. But still, I found the pizza to be very good, but probably not great.
Honestly, I have no real criticisms about the place. I live about a 15 minutes drive from the Douglaston Mall, which my family has been going to since I was a kid - that is, when Macy's was still a Sterns, Modell's was still a Herman's, and when Toys'R'Us was awesome rather than the piece of crap that it has become. We still go to the Macy's and Modell's occasionally, and I noticed the Grimaldi's right across from the Waldbaums in the lower level. Awesome!
But when I checked it out, they were closed - the menu on the window said they had a no-slice policy, and another sign said that the staff was in training. Okey-dokey.
I previously had the Grimaldi's at the Aviator in Floyd Bennett Field: it was expensive per slice, the cheese to sauce ratio sucked, and it was mediocre overall. The Grimaldi's at Douglaston, while not the complete opposite, was surprisingly good and cheap compared with the Aviator disaster. The training period was really for the best.
Large pies start at $14 each, which is not much more expensive, if not on par with large pie prices around Queens. The large pies are 18", and if they are a little smaller than normal pizzeria pies, the fresh mozzarella and sauce used make up for the discrepancy in size big time. Toppings range from $2-$4, and most are $2. I suggest you get a couple of them.
We got a large pie with Italian sausage and mushrooms. The pie was cooked well, it looked fantastic, and the cheese, sauce, and toppings were great. Overall, it tasted very good. Until I've had the mythic pizzas of NYC, that's all I can say.
The atmosphere and decor was comfortable on a rainy Saturday. The waiting staff were the owners, I believe, and they were generally nice. But getting a seat was awkward.
The restaurant wasn't full, so we came in and waited to be seated. And we stood there, awkwardly waiting for someone to come by. The seats were all out in front of the restaurant, while the kitchen and wait-staff area was in the back, partially obscured by the wall to the right. So if one waiter is on the phone taking an order, and the other is giving the order to the kitchen, then nobody is around to seat you. But it doesn't take long at all, honestly, for at least one waiter to be free to come back to the seating area.
So they did come back to serve pizzas to customers and take orders, but they still didn't acknowlede us while we waited by the entrance. So I'm wondering what the hell is going on. I go towards the kitchen to see if I can flag down somebody, and then finally one of them acknowdges us.
That's the basic story of the service there. The owners, husband and wife I think, are generally nice enough. But they generally won't bend over backwards to serve you and make sure anything is all right (at least the wife won't, as Stuart mentioned above. We had to flag her down to get extra water while she was talking on the phone - she was preparing to leave as well. The husband got us extra napkins with out desert).
I think this stems from a couple of things.
First, is that they can ride the reputation of the original Grimaldis, and don't have to really put much of a sweat into the service because they know people will come. Call it arrogance or whatever.
Second, is that since they're the owners of the place, they don't have to work as hard for the tips: they're getting the biggest share of the profits at the end of the day.
Still, don't let okay service get in the way. The food is the most important thing in the end, and it was very good.
Grimaldi's in Douglaston is a no no for my friends and I. 6 of us 1 being in the Pizza business for 35 years and 1 being in the food business for 40 years and 4 who have eaten pizza everywhere all agreed not to patronize Grimaldi's again. We were the first customers there and the pizza's bottom was overcooked and burned. Topping was fine but that's only half of the pizza. Service in fast food places is better. Grimaldi's in Garden City is good but overcrowded but is worth the effort if in the area. It's sad that success breeds a non caring attitude and too many people do not notice. I'd soon go to Pizza Hut than go to Grimaldi's, now that says a lot.
Strangely enough Stuart, Brooklyn Grimaldi's can surprise you. I live very close by and it is very convenient, and they put me at the head of the line because they know me (shhhh). It is what you say, of course. But every now and then Patsy's oven does its magic. I had a pie New Years Eve, and it was NOT undercooked and doughy, it was thin and almost crisp but not quite, and the texture was just right. It had love in it. Go figure. You are correct in your assessment, but the probability of a great pie every so often should never be discounted!
IMHO, don't waste your time!. We went with great expectations and was highly disappointed. The crust was thin but soggy. The sauce was tasteless.
Gino's by Springfield Blvd's regular pie is much better!
Disappointing. I loved Brooklyn Grimaldi's the first time I went but this version was just average. The sauce was underwhelming to say the least.
Kids, forget Grimaldi's - totally overrated in Brooklyn...
If you're near Douglaston, head out to the island, one or two towns over, in New Hyde Park is Eddies (I believe its on Jericho Tpke, but could be wrong - near where Laces used to be). It has the thinnest crust ever, and it tastes GOOD not like cardboard, as well as the most delicious sauce and toppings.
We went about a month ago (Feb 2009) with our family, had a great meal. Service was excellent - we went on a Sunday night during prime time (about 6 PM) no wait, seated promptly. We had a tossed salad to share to start - very fresh, nice size, then shared two pizzas with a variety of toppings. We thought the crust was delicious, crispy, slightly charred, tasty, and the toppings (sausage, garlic, REAL mozarella chees) were also excellent. We plan to return.