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Report on Grana in Jamesport

  • coll Sep 11, 2010 03:31 AM
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Finally took a ride over to get take out pie for dinner for me and hubby. When the girl said $11.95, I said that's a good deal, since I hadn't asked, and the pizza maker smiled at me. I thought he was being nice, but now I wonder if he was laughing at me! As I walked out the door, I almost went back in because I thought they forgot to put the pizza in the box, so I opened it when I got into the car and saw 8 appetizer sized slices with one basil leaf just siting in the middle like an ornament. It says on the menu serves one to two people, but they're not talking about anyone I know. I'm not a glutton by any means but this was supposed to be dinner for two, hopefully with leftovers.

So I stopped at Lennys across the street and grabbed a couple more regular and a couple of grandma slices, and figured it would be good to compare two totally different style pizzas while I was at it. I've never been there either because we have lots of good pizzerias in Riverhead and this is a bit out of the way for me. I'm going to have to say that the crust from both places weren't all that different at all, although Lennys seems to love their garlic in the sauce. Lennys, normal amount of mozz, Granas is almost dry when it comes to sauce and cheese. I'm not saying Grana was bad, but not overly impressed either. It's definitely a personal pizza size serving, so just to warn you. Glad I took a peek before heading home, their pie is not going to be a real meal.

 
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  1. It makes me curious about the place; I'm not a small guy, but I've been trying to eat in quantities more like Europeans will than typical Americans do, and I've found that a personal pizzas can typically last me two meals. In addition, I find many pizzas to be over-sauced (worse is over-cheesed). According to this,
    http://www.calories-nutrition.buddysl...
    for example, a Subway 8" personal cheese pizza (i.e., without the fatty meats) has almost 700 calories. Sounds like it could easily be dinner for me, likely two meals.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Scott_R

      I watch my calories too, never been to Subway but I know a normal pizzeria slice is 300 or even 400 calories, if made too much cheese. I request less cheese at most places, I hate when they put on enough to choke you. I'm going to guess this pizza slice is 100 calories at most.

      Hope you do try it and tell me what you think. Because if I had known beforehand, I might have looked at the rest of the menu too, and got a few other things. I just asked for a regular pie, as I always do, but this seemed a little irregular to me ;-) It's not like I've never had artisianal pizza, just never this tiny, and with the economy as it is, a tiny pie only enough for one person at more than the price of a normal pie might just put him out of business this winter, when the tourists go home. Lennys was mobbed and Grana, I was the only person there on a Friday dinnertime.

      1. re: coll

        Grana may not have the right business plan for the neighborhood, but I think the relevant comparison is not to Lenny's but to the places in the city--Motorino, Keste, Roberta's, Ko, etc., or Brunetti in W'Hampton Beach--making artisanal Neapolitan pies and selling them for prices in line with Grana's. I read that Grana used Pizzeria Bianco (in AZ) as a model.

        When I eat that kind of pizza, I figure on one pie per person and I don't expect the price to be in line with a comparable amount of calories at a good traditional American pizzeria. If it's not apples to oranges, it's supermarket Red Deliciouses to local Macouns...

        Coll, can you put Grana in that context? How was the crust, tomatoes, cheese, other ingredients? Was it truly an artisanal pizza, or just a small, overpriced one?

        No challenge intended, by the way. You're one of this board's best assets!

        1. re: EZ Pass

          Thanks for the kind words! The only reason I mentioned Lennys at all is because I really thought the crusts of both were very comparable, and I purposely bought and ate them side by side to compare. I think my personal point of reference/expectation was something like Johns in the city, since I'm not as familiar with these new "Neopolitan" type of pies. When I opened the box from Grana, you smelled the wood odor which was nice, but I didn't notice it in the finished product as much. The sauce and cheese were above average, but not extremely so that I would rave, just very nice. We did get the plainest Margherita pie though, they have others on the menu. Pricewise, I ended up paying double anyway with my stop at Lennys, so I guess I should have just asked them how much they'd recommend for 2 (hungry) people. I was splurging since we're on vacation so, for once, the price didn't matter that much.

          The point I wanted to make, is we actually laughed when we saw how small the entire pie was. Please someone else go there and tell me if we're just glutinous slobs, but I was really counting on leftovers tonight ;-)

    2. My son and I went to Grana, and neither of us is a delicate eater, and we thought that the margahrita pie was perfect for the two of us. We had the mozarella and local tomatoes first with a very nice vinaigrette, followed by the pizza. We thought that the crust was fabulous with a good char and delicious elasticity. We thought it was really, really good, and would definitely return.

      1. We live in Riverhead and were patiently awaiting the opening of Grana. We are pizza lovers. For my birthday I rented a party bus and took 20 of my close and personal friends on a Brooklyn/ Manhattan pizza tour.
        So, we expected small personal sized pizzas @ Grana and were not disappointed. We ordered three to share between the two of us and had some leftover. We got Margherita, a special pie with sausage and another with calamata olives All excellent and on par with Motorino, Keste, Tottonno etc.. Nice crust and fresh ingredients. Manhattan prices!!
        We tried Brunetti in W Hampton and were disappointed. The soggy crust was a deal breaker.
        BTW: We also love Lenny's pizza and his dining room. Lenny's and Grana are worlds apart but both great.
        I tried Grana several times for lunch but they were closed. WTH?? It's a pizzeria!
        Personally I don't think it is the right location for that type of restaurant. I hope they make it. I spoke with the owner and she is passionate about her pizza.

        1. I ate there wednesday with a friend who builds/sells wood fired pizza ovens in LA. I liked the pizza more than he did. We agreed that the dough while good- was stretched too thin in the middle. And the pizzas needed to be cooked for another 30 seconds, a little more char would of been nice. I would of prefered a thicker/dryer - less watery sauce. If we are comparing to Motorino or Keste - Grana would be a distant third.

          1. Just want to report that I returned to Grana last night and shared two pizzas with toppings and had a completely different experience than my initial visit. I'm going to venture to say that it's best if the pie is eaten on premises, because right out of the oven I tasted the char distinctly, and loved the crispiness of the crust. The toppings offered here really are unique, once I noticed them, I'm so used to just getting plain due to the usual greasy offerings at most places. We ordered a spinach and artichoke, and the artichokes were slices with the stem attached, not just hearts as I expected. The fennel sausage and carmelized onion was nothing like you would get at your local joint, the sausage seemed to be the artisinal type, the fennel really stood out, and the onions were obviously cooked with love. And there were plenty of leftovers to take home too!

            I also feel bad now that I said the owner was laughing at me, because I met the family this time (despite it being full to capacity, they take the time to talk to you) and now I know he was just smiling as a happy greeting. So don't be hesitant to give them a try for something a little different. We were lucky to snag a table last night, so obviously I didn't scare everyone off!

            1. This was by far one if the WORST dining experiences that I have ever had in my life. I personally have worked in the restaurant business (for over 15 years) and cannot believe that people are still going back. I went to the restaurant at 5:45PM on a Saturday and walked in to the restaurant that had 3 empty tables and 4 seats left at the bar. When asked by one of the servers how many we would be, we said 2 and they asked us to wait. After about 5 minutes we were waived to the back of the restaurant where we were told that they were going to "move some tables around" due to the fact that the 3 open tables were "reserved". The server asked if we would start off at the bar and would then move us to a table once they figured everything out. So, we agreed to sit at the bar to start off and when we settled in we're told by the hostess (who I believe is the owners wife) that we could not sit in the specific seats that we were sitting in because those too were "reserved". My wife (who by the way is 9 MONTHS PREGNANT) was asked by the hostess to move down one seat to a backless bar stool and when my wife politely told her that she was pregnant and would prefer not to sit on a backless stool, the hostess asked "so, can you sit on the backless stool please?" I wound up sitting on the stool and we proceeded to wait for an open table for over 10 minutes. After we noticed that people who walked in well after us were being sat at the newly open tables, we inquired about our table. When we asked the hostess, she stated that we didn't ask to wait for an open table and thought we wanted to sit at the bar. She then directed us to sit at an open table at the front of the restaurant but did not offer to move our drinks, salad and plates to the table...so we did so ourselves. While we waited for our main course, one of the servers asked if we had ordered and when we told her yes, she asked what we had because the original ticket that the other server wrote had "bar" written on it and she was concerned that she would have difficulty finding it. Once we straightened the order issue out, my wife noticed that the 2 "reserved" bar stools had been filled by two people who were clearly good friends with the hostess who was feeding one of the guests with a fork full of something she was eating....all while I had no silver wear and an empty water glass. My wife then noticed that the hostess was explaining what she had gone through to reserve their seats at the bar....essentially talking about us and describing how we moved twice (as if it were our fault). When I turned around and made eye contact with her, she quickly turned bright red and changed the subject. Well, the food arrived and I must say that the Pork Belly Pizza and the Prosciutto Panini were outstanding....but the service was horrible. I had to get up and ask for a plate, waive the server down to order a glass of wine and get up at the end of the meal to ask for the check. Not once was I asked how my meal was and I can assure you that we will NOT be back....oh and by the way, the "reserved" tables were still empty when we left. Two giant thumbs down...especially to the hostess who even if is the owners wife, needs to find another profession, because the hospitality industry is not in her wheelhouse. My biggest piece of advice to Grana is that should treat EVERY customer as if it were the FIRST customer to walk through their doors and it should be their pleasure to server their guests...not their guests pleasure to be served. You are not doing your guests a favor by serving them...you are lucky to have them in this economic climate.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Johnd2178

                Not surprised, but still troubled, by the service. Had a very similar experience; the disconnect between the food & their indifference (or rudeness) is disappointing, to say the least.

                1. re: Johnd2178

                  Actually she IS the owner. We've never had a bad meal or experience there. It's basically a pizzeria. We don't expect stellar service.
                  For better service try Lenny's dining room but not if you are looking for thin crust wood fired pizza.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    I am very well aware of what type of restaurant it is for I worked in both the pizzeria and restaurant businesses for years. They clearly do not want to be a pizzeria however. Table reservations? Reservations at the bar??? If they are a pizzeria, they should operate like one. My main point was that they are in the hospitality business and are far from hospitable. I went there on a reccomendation and will never be back.

                    1. re: Johnd2178

                      Just want to note here that I tried Grana last week and although I had only one pizza (eggplant, split between three of us), I was more than pleased with both the pizza and the service from our waitress, Carol.

                      While this is not pizza that will please fans of heavy-red-sauced versions dripping with low-moisture cheese, those seeking lightly sauced, ingredient-centric pizza in the modern Neapolitan style might want to consider a visit. I've yet to find any pizza that comes close further east on the NF.

                      The bread served before the pizza was outstanding, and a good indicator of the quality and style of their pizza crust. We also sampled their house-made mozzarella, which is not as creamy as it might be, so perhaps they will continue working on that.

                      We arrived about 6pm on a Thursday night and by the time we left, all tables were taken.

                      1. re: erica

                        I think the key here is to eat in; it is not reallly good as take out. But it has its points taste wise, you just have to realize that they are personal/bar size pies.

                        1. re: coll

                          I was actually surprised at how large the pies were. We shared one (8 slices total) among three people and while I could have eaten another slice, no one left hungry. Of course, we finished with a gargantuan slice of their carrot cake, which I would recommend highly to those not counting calories.

                          1. re: erica

                            Maybe they're making them bigger? I'm surprised to see that I started this thread exactly two years ago....so much can change in that amount of time.

                            1. re: coll

                              Just a note to say that we returned to GRana for an early dinner last night, Sunday.
                              Two of us shared the eggplant pizza, which was again, excellent. Service was scattered but not at all unfriendly. Pizza large enough to share for two less-than-ravenous eaters.

                              The platter of vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, onions) roasted in their wood-burning oven looked outstanding, but at $25 for a large platter; $17 for smaller, I felt it was a tad overpriced and we passed. Maybe next time!

                2. Went to Grana again for lunch. As always the pizza was fabulous. Typical Margherita with anchovies and "Jamesport" with prosciutto and calamata olices. We had a tomato, mozzarella and greens salad to start.
                  The service is always a bit spotty but attractive and friendly. We always enjoy our meals here.