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Ready to lose my NewHaven or NY Pizza Virginity....

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  • no0b Jan 12, 2009 12:36 PM
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I have to go up that way soon anyway. I''m taking my dog to a specialist up in CT.It's somewhere past Brigeport and I95 all the way. I figure on the way back, I'll hit a pizza place or 2 to see what's so great about it. I'm mentioning this because I need somewhere where I can park directly in front since I will have my dog in the car and I hate leaving my dog in the car unless I can see him from a window.

I think I'll go for New Haven style as I've sort of had NY style and wasn't crazy about it. Not into chewy and I don't see what's so great about a big floppy piece you have to fold. Unless the toppings make up for it, the place I went to had blah taste for toppings and I don't like dough that seems undercooked.(Fat Belly's NY Style, sorry wasnt impressed but I love their grilled pizza)

Suggestions? I'm learning towards Modern... Although I'm from RI which means I never had to learn how to parallel park...so umm yeah hopefully I can manage to park directly in front.

Thanks.

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  1. Modern, Pepe's, Sally's, in that order....I don't think you'll be able to park in front of either, depends when you go. Lots to park in? Try Olde World in Hamden (North Haven) take out only, or Roseland in Derby. Tasty trip wherever you end up

    1. You won't get a parking spot right in front of any of the places you mentioned. You can get a pie to go from Sally's but you need to call about 3:45 for 5 pm pickup if I remember correctly.. Modern you can call anytime and pick it up 20 minutes later.

      1. I am guessing you're going to the vet in Norwalk. If so, easiest shot is the Pepe's location in Fairfield. They have an adjacent lot which may be fairly good for you with the dog. The best chance is Modern for a parking spot in front (there are 3 spots) but there is an adjacent parking lot also. Pepe's New Haven has a couple spots in front and parking lots on both sides. I agree with the priorities Biscuit Boy has outlined.
        If you go to Modern ask for the pie to be well done which would probably be most to your liking. Modern is my personal favorite and the best time to arrive to maximize parking opportunities is between 2 and 4 pm. Also, early in the week although Modern is closed on Mondays. Sally's is only open for dinner and will be a hassle for parking and wait times and the other two are better anyway.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Scargoe

          Sally's isn't going to work then as I'll be going in the late morning so the place would have to at least be open in the afternoon. Guess it's between Pepe's and Modern then because they're open earlier.

          How does the pizza come out if it's "Well Done" ? I don't like crispy and crunchy either...

          Any other places, especially where I could just grab a slice and not order?

          1. re: no0b

            If you're not into chewy and you're not into crispy, don't bother with New Haven pizza. If it's not both crispy and chewy, it's not New Haven pizza.

          2. re: Scargoe

            A perfect post, you could be my 'mouth' on pizza.

          3. If that was the NY style pizza you had, all I can say is "Ew" and "That wasn't really a good NY style" ;D

            7 Replies
            1. re: Morganna

              lol why do you say that? Have you had it? Some others on this board say it is the "closest thing to NY pizza". I'm not sure it's the style or the blah toppings that ruined it for me though.

              1. re: no0b

                There is a remote chance of you parking in front of the "The Spot" which is the original location on Pepe's now more of an annex. Also you might consider Bar which makes excellent pizza and whose white clam rivals Pepe's it is on Crown Street and if you are VERY lucky there may be a spot on the street in front of the widow, but don't plan on it

                1. re: no0b

                  Well, just... I've had NY pizza in NY, and I've had NY style in various places. I loved NY pizza, and in some places the NY style has come close. In some places it completely misses the mark. But none of the ones that I think were close to NY pizza, and none of the NY pizza I had in NY would be described as:
                  "Not into chewy ... a big floppy piece you have to fold... blah taste for toppings ... dough that seems undercooked."

                  All the NY pizza, and NY style pizza I've had has had a thin, crisp crust. Yes, in some cases it was "floppy" in that the laws of physics meant that the thin crust wasn't able to support the weight of the toppings without bending, but it wasn't floppy because of being undercooked or doughy (which is what I grokked from your description). :) In my experience, this sort of pizza is ALWAYS best when you eat it right there at the restaurant fresh out of the oven, instead of getting it to go and taking it home (not saying you took it home, just observing). :)

                  Now I -have- had some pizzas that were as you described above, but I wouldn't consider them good pizza period, regardless of whatever style they claim to be. I wouldn't blame that on "NY style" though. It's not the style in NY to under cook the dough and use tasteless ingredients. :)

                  Here's an analogy to try and explain what I mean a little better. In places in the midwest, they serve "spaghetti and meat sauce" with spaghetti noodles that have been boiled practically to mush topped with a meat sauce made from ketchup and ground beef. Other than a passing visual similarity, it bears very little resemblance to what you might get at a really good Italian place that cooks in the style of, say, Northern Italy. So if that were the only spaghetti you'd ever experienced and you decided you didn't like spaghetti because of it, I might be tempted to point out "well, that's an abomination, and not what you'd get if you went somewhere that they know how to cook pasta and meat sauce."

                  So that's sorta what I was trying to get at with my previous comment. :) Don't let a bad pizza get you down on a whole style. :) On the other hand, if you really really like the thick crust, bready Chicago pan style of pizza (or Sicilian style) then I can totally see not much liking the NY style. Where I spent most of my growing up years, we had Chicago style and I really liked that, but when I had my first NY pizza (in NY, when I was in my 20s) I totally fell in love with it.

                  Now I'm just rambling, sorry for talking your ear off. This pizza talk has me so hungry, I gotta go eat lunch now...

                  1. re: Morganna

                    Sometimes I wonder if there really is really any such thing as New York style pizza. I've been eating pizza in New York on a semi-regular basis since before I can remember. The first slice I do remember was at a random place near Lincoln Center after a performance of the Nutcracker when I was four years old. Now, in those twenty some odd years of eating pizza in the city, I've had exactly one bad pizza, and maybe a dozen or so truly great pizzas. I've now been to all the famous places in and around the city at least once, but the vast majority of my pizza eating has been at your typical place on the corner.
                    But, whenever I read comments on the Chow boards about New York style pizza, I see comments that just don't fit with my experiences. For one, I would totally agree that your typical New York pizza is not undercooked. However, the place I have seen the most raves about is Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, which does serve horribly undercooked pizza (my one bad pizza in the city).
                    Another thing I often see is people asserting that the ingredients used in a New York pizza are typically of high quality. That might be true at Lombardi's and even Grimaldi's, but your typical corner pizza joint is using the same sauce from a can and fake mozzarella that you find outside of New York (when you can get a slice of fresh mozzarella pizza, it costs twice as much).
                    I also often see the claim that New York style pizza is especially thin. It certainly is thin compared to most pizza outside of the Northeast, or Greek pizza. Most of the pizza I've had in Manhattan has not been that thin, however (again, some of the big names are exceptions). Certainly nowhere near as thin as Neapolitan pizza, or some of the places in New Haven (not Pepe's, which is one of the thicker pizzas in town). It's usually be around the same thickness as most of the pizza I've eaten along the Northeast Corridor. Also, some places in the city that call their pizza New York style serve very thick pizza, what we call Greek style in Connecticut. This is even more true of New York style as you travel out to Nassau County or parts of New Jersey, the New York style pizza is more often thick than thin, in my experience.
                    Perhaps the posts I'm seeing about New York pizza are from the perspective of having mostly tried the better and more famous places in the city, rather than the average street food I'm used to? Or perhaps they're coming mostly from people who never had a decent pizza until they got to New York?

                    1. re: danieljdwyer

                      My first experience of "NY Pizza" as my husband called it and loved it (thin crust, just really yummy, hot out of the oven) was when we were visiting his family from Alaska. We ate at a place called Uncle Joe's, not a chain, just a family run place, out on Long Island. The pizza place was just off the road, in a strip mall I think, on the way to Smithhaven Mall. My husband was born and raised in Centereach. We went back a couple of times after we'd moved to Vermont, and it was just as good, but we haven't been back there for a good 12 years. So I have no idea if 1) it's still there, and 2) it's still any good. My experience with pizza before this was limited to Chicago style pizza in the midwest (primarily from Godfather's and Pizza Hut), and a place in Juneau that made Chicago Style pizza. There was another place called Bullwinkles in Juneau (don't know if it's still there), that made a thinner crust pizza, but it was nowhere near as thin as what we had at Uncle Joes. It was more like a regular Pizza Hut crust in thickness (though it tasted better than Pizza Hut).

                      So I'd never really had a real, thin crust pizza before. We had just a plain cheese pizza, and it was just... I remember it being amazing, wonderful, and a revelation of what pizza could be.

                      I had my first exposure to NY bagels that same trip (up to that point all my bagel experience was Lenders bagels my Dad would buy when we lived in Iowa). That was also a sublime, eye-opening experience for me. :)

                      So I don't know from "real NY pizza". When I think "real NY pizza" I think of Uncle Joe's. Maybe that's not the "real thing". :) But I know that this was Nassau County, and it was a thin crust, not at thicker one. :)

                      1. re: Morganna

                        Very interesting. I think really what I meant to say is that, despite what a lot of people like to assert (not you, however), there is no "real thing" or particular style with New York pizza. Usually it's pretty thin, it's almost always cooked quickly in a very hot oven, and it's pretty much always good. Other than that, it's as varied as anything else is bound to be in a metropolitan area of nearly 20 million people.

                    2. re: Morganna

                      Great explanation. :) Basically what you're saying is why I want to try New Haven instead of judging something I've never had. I haven't really found a pizza that I like BOTH the crust and the taste/toppings. Everyone is saying New Haven has a more "well done" crust and that already sounds better to me than white and fluffy.

                2. I have been to Fat Belly's, that definitely is NOT NY style. I was unimpressed, needless to say

                  1. The place next to modern, amato's, is good also. As far as "floppy" pie, that's what makes New Haven Pizza. And they all cook a pie "well done", which means burnt spots on the bottom. You can ask for a "light bake". Order a whole pie and take the rest home, none of the good places sell slices.

                    1. I have another question - What would you guys recommend for toppings?Everyone keeps saying "White Clam" But I"m not into clams.

                      With pizza, I either get pepperoni, cheese and black olives or buffalo chicken. I heard Modern was good for Buffalo Chicken(?) Which place is good for just regular pepperoni and black olive toppings? Olives are kind of hard though.some places either taste like metal like they've been sitting in an open can (ever eat olives out of a can thats been sitting in the fridge for a few days? lol its not the same) or they taste overly rubberly.

                      Maybe I'll try Pepe's in Manchester whenever I go back in that direction. DIdn't even realize there was one more up in that direction

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: no0b

                        If you're going to Pepe's or Sally's, don't get vegetables like spinach or broccoli, or else you'll have a soggy pizza. Things like peppers, onions, and mushrooms work just fine, as do any of the meats. I think the pepperoni at Modern can be a little overwhelming, because the pizza is thin enough that the pepperoni flavor really dominates. If you're a big pepperoni fan, you'll probably like it. Some people are especially big fans of the sausage at any of the three, but there's no real consensus on which sausage is best. I've never heard of Modern having buffalo chicken pizza, but I usually find chicken on pizza to be too dry, and Modern is no exception (BAR is an exception; their chicken pizzas are fantastic). Other than Pepe's clam, I wouldn't say any of them have a real specialty, so you can pretty much order whatever you like on a pizza.