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Feb 17, 2012 12:48 PM

Ah Pizz - Montclair

Finally made it here to try an "authentic" pizza, and what a pleasant surprise it was. It's right off of Bloomfield Ave. with a parking lot. The pizza was absoultely delicious. And it's ready in a few minutes. The ingredients speak for themselves. Go here, right now! We will be going back next week for lunch, and will have to try other itmes from the menu.

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    1. re: scarlet knight

      Scarlet Knight - Have you also tried Angeloni's in Caldwell? Curious to see how you would rate them against each other.

      1. re: jethro

        Have not tried Angeloni's. Where is it in Caldwell? I will try it in the interest of science!

        1. re: scarlet knight

          It is on Brookside Ave., right off of Bloomfield. It is a block away from Roseland Ave., which is a main road. It is also a BYOB. I may go there for lunch tomorrow. Always look forward to it.

          1. re: jethro

            Is Angeloni's doing Neopolitan pizza, or is it more like 'Jersey' pizza?

            ETA: Just answered my own question by going on their website...not Neopolitan pizza. That doesn't make it bad, but I don't think you can compare it to Ah' Pizz since that's their specialty (in terms of pizza).

    2. I haven't been to Montclair to eat since the late 80s/early 90s. I'm all grown up now and love good food. Is Ah' Pizz really worth it? And what does "Eclectic Dining Experience" mean? It's on their web site. Thanks!

      9 Replies
      1. re: ttoommyy

        You have a pretty good Neapolitan-style pizza place in Hoboken (whose name escapes me) from what I hear.

        Ah'Pizz makes a very good pizza in that style. If the style isn't to your liking, you'll probably not think much of the place. Not sure what they mean by 'eclectic.' Sounds like hogwash.

        1. re: tommy

          Grimaldi's? It's not bad.

          We are going to be in Montclair to see a move and then meet up with some friends who are not the most discerning of diners, so this place looked good enough to satisfy all. I like Neopolitan-style pizza and have been to Naples and had the real deal so I like to check out places that say they do it the "authentic" way. Thanks for your input tommy.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            Not Grimaldi's. They're doing the Brooklyn thing. Not like this at all. Dozzino is the name of the place I'm thinking of.

            Ah'Pizz has other food as you probably saw (italian-american I think) and would probably be a crowd pleaser. Also note if you haven't that it's BYOB.

            1. re: tommy

              Dozzino...never heard of the place and it is 5 blocks from where I live. lol

              And I was just going to ask about BYOB so thanks. BYOB works for the crowd I'll be with as one doesn't drink wine at all and another usually only has one glass. Makes splitting the bill easier. Thanks again.

              1. re: ttoommyy

                'Dozzino...never heard of the place and it is 5 blocks from where I live. lol'

                Not surprising since you live 14 miles from Montclair and haven't been there in 20 some odd years. :-D

                As always, double-check the BYO aspect. I suspect that hasn't changed, though.

                1. re: tommy

                  Will do. Thanks.

                  I work in NYC and tend to always eat out in NYC, even on the weekends. Living in Hoboken isn't really living in NJ anyway... ;)

              2. re: tommy

                tommy: Just wanted to let you know we got to Dozzino today. Wow! What a great place. Now THIS is what I am expecting when someone says great Neopolitan-style pizza. It's a short menu but so, so good. Got to talking with the owner and he is passionate about the pizza and ingredients. It's a must- try place. Thanks for telling me about this place...5 blocks from where I live! :)

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  You're my guy. I'm your guy. Glad you enjoyed it! Now, *I* just have to get there. But I can't seem to get past the Pilsner Haus when I come back into town these days. :)

                  1. re: tommy

                    Ok...what's the Pilsner House? lol

        2. If you like this style of pizza, I'm a fan of Ah' Pizz's versions. Their salads are also good; can't speak to pastas and other entrees, as the place had a true bare-bones menu when it first opened, but since they expanded, the menu did as well. If they take reservations, I'd recommend one if you're going on Fri or Sat night; the place gets packed!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Curlz

            "If you like this style of pizza,"

            You are the second one to say something like that. I like ANY style of pizza! Are their people who actually do not like Neopolitan-style pizza?

            "If they take reservations, I'd recommend one if you're going on Fri or Sat night; the place gets packed!"

            They don't but a friend called and said we had a party of 5 and would be coming in around 6:30 pm this Saturday night (we're "old" and tend to eat early lol) and the very nice gentleman on the other end of the phone said it should not be a long wait at that time. Guess we'll find out.

            1. re: ttoommyy

              'Are their people who actually do not like Neopolitan-style pizza?'

              Check out the threads on the Neapolitan places, and Yelp for examples. People seem to consider the characteristics of the style as flaws.

          2. We went to Ah' Pizz last night and all I can say is that it was just not good at all. I've thought of nicer ways to preface this post but when it comes down to it, I just have to be honest.

            There were six of us and we each had a pizza. All the pizzas were served room temp to downright cold. My arrancino appetizer was nice and golden looking on the outside, but cool on the inside. The zucchini flower appetizer we ordered was actually very tasty and served hot. This was the only dish I liked (outside of the tartufo dessert I shared).

            I had the Uovo pizza: a white pizza with burrata, "crisp prosciutto" and egg. It was not very good. Like I said, it was room temp at best. The crust was nondescript and the "crisp prosciutto" (as stated on the menu) was just blobs of prosciutto that were not crisp at all; they were more like heavy lumps of soggy prosciutto. Bottom line: this pizza was a mess. I did not taste any of the other 5 pizzas at the table, but everyone agreed they were nowhere near hot. I guess one should judge a place like this by their Margherita. My friend sitting across from me had that and she thought it was OK. I did not taste it, but from what I could see as soon as it hit the table, the mozzarella looked congealed. Enough said.

            For dessert, the table shared a Nutella pizza. I tasted it and thought it mediocre. The pizza dough was tough and not even warm. The tartufo my partner and I shared was very nice. Not sure if it was made in house or from a vendor though.

            In addition, the restaurant is kind of worn looking and the service was brusque at best. Not at all what I was expecting and I cannot recommend Ah' Pizz at all.

            13 Replies
            1. re: ttoommyy

              This is surprising to hear, although I haven't been in probably about a year, and never during a dinner service.

              Curious as to what you mean by the mozzarella looking congealed. Often it won't be fully melted, unlike what you'd find in regular NY style pizza. If they were having problems getting the pies out to the table in a timely fashion than the pizza will certainly suffer. These cook for 70-90 seconds, and don't retain heat all that well. Best eaten soon after they come out of the oven.

              Maybe it's time to revisit to see what's doing.

              1. re: tommy

                I am surprised to hear this too ttoommyy. I will also state that I have only been here for lunch, when they aren't very crowded. A co-worker went for dinner and said they seemed overwhelmed. The mozz is made fresh, so it is not like they are buing cheap mozz from a vendor. I also don't experiment with "weird" pizzas, with strange toppings, so have never tried a lot of their pies. I do disagree about the "worn looking" feel of the restaurant, it is the look of the restaurant. Not exactly warm and romantic, but nowhere near what you see on "Kitchen Nightmares", where they haven't update the place in years.

                1. re: jethro

                  I was wondering about the worn aspect too. The place is barely 2 years old! But again, I haven't been there in about a year.

                  1. re: tommy

                    The tables seemed scratched up, the tile on the floors was a bit beat up, things like that. I understand wear and tear but this seemed a little more than that. Maybe I'm wrong.

                    And another thing, I really dislike when a restaurant chooses not to replace flatware between courses and places the used flatware on the table and doesn't leave it on the side plate where I have puposely placed it. It's a pet peeve, maybe nitpicky, but unsanitary nevertheless.

                    I will say that 4 out of 6 of us did not dislike the food as much as I did. They thought it was ok and ate most of their food. They are not as much into food as I am and maybe I am just being too picky. That said, there is still no excuse for the room temp pizzas though.

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      I can also accept normal wear-and-tear. It's the stuff that they could fix with just a little effort that bothers me. A little dirt here, a cobweb there, go a long way to making a place look and feel dingy.

                      I don't expect silverware to be replaced between courses at a place like this. At many places, yes, I'll shoot a look to my wife when it doesn't happen. But, not at a place like this, a local, rustic, pizza joint.

                      Sounds like a big part of the problem was getting hot pizzas to the table. We'll never know, but I wonder how much different your experience would have been had they been able to get those pies out to you quickly.

                      1. re: tommy

                        I didn't expect the flatware to be changed, but when they take it off the side plate where I have placed it and put it directly on the table, it bothers me.

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          Gotcha. Although I cannot recall a time when silverware was not placed any place other than the table!

                          I'd actually prefer it not be done at all, even at a place like this. I appreciate the costs and effort involved in replacing silverware, but really, it's not difficult or expensive to implement the policy. Depending on my mood and level of restaurant, when this happens I'll simply tell the server to take the dirty ones away and get me new ones, and get them before the next course arrives, rather than after.

                        2. re: tommy

                          The arancino was also not cooked through/cool. I think there was an overall problem last night in running the food to the tables in the proper amount of time.

                    2. re: jethro

                      Why is the pizza I had "weird?" It had 3 ingredients! Strange? Burrata (a type of mozzarella), proscuitto and egg. Also, if they choose to put it on the menu then they should be able to prepare it properly.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        There's nothing odd about those pizzas. You'll find similar combinations at any number of Neapolitan pizza places across the country.

                    3. re: tommy

                      I know the difference between congealed and just barely melted. This was congealed as in it had been sitting for a while. Remeber, I said our pizzas were room temp at best.

                      I will say it was very busy as there was a concert at the Wellmont theater. Still, not really an excuse.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        You'd be surprised at how many people don't.

                  2. I'll start by saying that when they first expanded the space at Ah' Pizz, I was thrilled. Then they started expanding the menu, and just kept going--sort of the way A Mano did. In MY opinion, this was a big mistake. I do understand that you need to offer more than 10 things if you're going to continually fill seats and make $$, but I feel like they had SUCH a good thing going, I'm not sure why they messed with it (fwiw, I feel the same way about A Mano)! Still, I never order anything other than salads (huge and fresh) and pizza at Ah' Pizz--followed by a cannoli if I have room.

                    All that said, I still think they're (consistently!) making the best Neapolitan pizza in the area, and since I've never had the temperature issue, I'd have to chalk your experience up to a bad night for them. There's no excuse for it, but I *so* wish you had sent a pizza back and requested a fresh one! Hot out of the oven, they're a beautiful thing.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Curlz

                      We would have had to send all six back, plus our server was basically nonexistent so we just ate them. If I had to do it over again, I would have sent it back.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        My review of Ah pizz from another site i placed it on. This is from2 weeks ago


                        Pizza crust from "brick oven" should be crispy, this was soft and when you picked up a slice it collapsed all over. Pasta quite frankly didn't taste that great. Appetizer special was described of being stuffed and fried but was more like a greasy tempura dish. Waiter was good but busboy came over and started taking plates before we were done and were telling him were not done yet and he smiling at us and still taking plates. In the future Ah'Pass."

                        We were disappointed because everyone said it was so good (granted this was about a year ago). Safe to say I'd never return, there are just too many good places in the area to give it another shot. Frank Anthony's in Verona blows it away as do some other places in the area.

                        1. re: bifpocaroba

                          The assertion that pizza from a brick oven should be crispy isn't accurate. Neapolitan style pizza is not crispy in the way you describe by design. It's not a flaw.

                          1. re: tommy

                            Grimaldi's describes their brick oven this way.

                            "Why coal-fired ovens? It gives our pizza and calzones a unique flavor and a crisp crust that is just not possible from gas, convection or wood burning ovens. "

                            John's of Bleecker, all crispy crust. Keste crispy crust.

                            Mostly every establishment that claims they're 'brick oven' has a crispy crust. I've only been to one where the topping and everything slides off the pizza and Ah Pizz is it.

                            1. re: bifpocaroba

                              Keste has a crispy crust? I haven't been, but I've had Roberto's pizza and it's not crispy in the middle. Based on what I've read the same applies to Keste.

                              The oven, brick or otherwise, doesn't make the pizza crisp. The style of pizza dictates the crispness. Neapolitan pizza is not crisp in the middle, and it does "flop." Most use a knife and fork to eat this style of pizza.

                              Grimaldi's and John's make a different style of pizza.

                              1. re: tommy

                                "Neapolitan pizza is not crisp in the middle, and it does "flop." Most use a knife and fork to eat this style of pizza."

                                I've never seen Italians in Italy eat pizza with their hands. It is always with a knife and fork. Unless it is "pizza a taglio" (by the slice).

                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                  Maybe it droops a little but it should definitely not be soggy, as was the case when I recently visited Pizza Vita in Summit - and it was only a margherita! I'd expect this on a pie with more toppings though it shouldn't occur then either.

                                  On my visit to Ah'Pizz, I was very underwhelmed and I also didn't like the space. Porta, for whatever reason, is still my gold standard for pies and the atmosphere is strong but agreeable to me. I prefer it both over Keste and Eataly in NY and others in NJ. Undici in Rumson also has an excellent Neapolitan pie. But in Montclair area, Bivio may be worth a try from what I've heard (Little Falls)

                          2. re: bifpocaroba

                            i hate to jump on the bandwagon but I agree with bif we ordered two pizzas one with pineapple and were stunned to have it served with canned pineapple i don't think it's too difficult to grill your own pineapple especially if your are offering it as a special topping the rest of the meal was adequate but unimpressive there are other places to have pizza neapolitan style we have heard good things about bivio in little falls but haven't made it there yet i will post a review following our visit

                            1. re: Epicurium

                              with regards to Bivio......if you like to dress your pizza with condiments, make sure you request them when you place the order and before the pizza arrives......otherwise, your pizza may be cold before the server returns with them.

                              1. re: fourunder

                                I took a few co-workers to Ah Pizz recently for lunch. We had focaccia, calamari, and 2 pizzas (1 with sausage & a margharita). They were happy with everything, very good food being served. We are making another excursion next week they liked it so much. They couldn't get over the freshness of everything, which I told them about prior to stepping foot inside! Stop for wine and beer and enjoy this food.