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DiFara, does anyone have a link to Leff's original review of the pizza joint ?

k
kevin Jan 30, 2014 04:07 PM

Thanks.

  1. Melanie Wong Jan 30, 2014 05:52 PM

    You'd need Jim Leff's 1998 book,
    The Eclectic Gourmet Guide to Greater New York City
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/231143286555?lpid=82

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Di_Fara_Pizza#cite_note-southcoasttoday1-8

    The earliest mention on the Outer Boroughs board is by Jeremy Osner, November 9, 1998, referencing the guide.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2352...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong
      k
      kevin Jan 30, 2014 05:53 PM

      anyone have a link to just that sheet from the guide ????

      Thanks.

    2. h
      HillJ Jan 30, 2014 06:13 PM

      http://www.amazon.com/Jim-Leff/e/B001...

      For a few bucks or less you can own the page.

      35 Replies
      1. re: HillJ
        t
        tex.s.toast Jan 31, 2014 06:27 AM

        for a few bucks or more you could go get a slice from dominic and take a picture of that page, which im pretty sure appears on the wall.

        1. re: tex.s.toast
          h
          HillJ Jan 31, 2014 06:56 AM

          Well played! However, the OP didn't really specify why he wants a copy of the review.

          1. re: HillJ
            k
            kevin Jan 31, 2014 06:58 AM

            Thanks Hill. Just curious what were the words that started the resurgence there.

            1. re: kevin
              h
              HillJ Jan 31, 2014 07:04 AM

              kevin, I've never read the review or held JL's guide in my hands. But, snippets of the review which according to my reading came before any others (like NYTimes, SE, UrbanS) made quite an impression. JL's credited for increasing awareness of DiFara and business that followed.

              Snippets of the JL review appear within other NYC reviews.

              FWIW, I've had a slice of DiFara pizza and my mind wasn't blown.

              1. re: HillJ
                k
                kevin Jan 31, 2014 07:20 AM

                Mine was. But then again, I had more than a slice.

                1. re: kevin
                  h
                  HillJ Jan 31, 2014 07:38 AM

                  This was many years ago. Would you recommend I head back? The last time my brain focused on DiFara was the film that was made following Domenico through his daily routine.

                  1. re: HillJ
                    p
                    Pookipichu Jan 31, 2014 08:52 AM

                    I'd suggest you try it again, the square pie 1 or 2 toppings. I don't even like pizza and I think DiFara is amazing. :)

                    1. re: Pookipichu
                      h
                      HillJ Jan 31, 2014 10:06 AM

                      Then I will put DiF on the short list.

                      1. re: HillJ
                        p
                        Pookipichu Jan 31, 2014 10:14 AM

                        Go before the wait gets any longer. He makes pizza more slowly every year, I see him noticeably more tired in the evening. :(

                        1. re: Pookipichu
                          h
                          HillJ Jan 31, 2014 10:21 AM

                          I know what you mean. The gentleman that butchers our meat order has started to take days off during the week.

                  2. re: kevin
                    h
                    HillJ Jan 31, 2014 07:41 AM

                    http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                    Everything DiFara is in this SE article, including the framed JL review. Maybe you can blow up the photo and read it..

                    1. re: kevin
                      h
                      HillJ Jan 31, 2014 07:42 AM

                      http://vimeo.com/16077855

                      Here's the film.

                      1. re: kevin
                        h
                        HillJ Jan 31, 2014 07:51 AM

                        While the slice didn't ring my bells the story always did. I tend to believe each of us has a pizza slice that we crave and fell head over heels in food-love with. Mine just happens to reside in Elizabeth. NJ.

                        1. re: HillJ
                          d
                          debinqueens Jan 31, 2014 08:10 AM

                          my experience is a little bit different, because my first DiFara experience predated internet ubiquity -- circa 1986 or so, when I lived not far from the place. I remember it being excellent back then, far and away the best pizza around there, and then I moved away and didn't think too much more about it until the 'renaissance.'

                          my mind has definitely been blown by difara. on a regular basis. in the old days, I had heroes just as often, and found them equally stellar, especially the shrimp parm, fwiw.

                          1. re: debinqueens
                            Bob Martinez Jan 31, 2014 08:26 AM

                            I was a DiFara regular starting in 1979. You'd call the place up, tell them what you wanted, and the pie was ready 20 minutes later when you picked it up. The shop might have one or two customers as you went up to the counter.

                            It was really good pizza although it was a different style than what he does now. More of a standard NY style but made really well. I must have gone 20 or 30 times over a span of 4 years. Great stuff.

                            I moved out Brooklyn in the mid 1980s (The Dark Years) and then moved back in 1990. A few years later I was in the neighborhood and I figured I'd drop in and order a pie. (This was just before the cult wave hit - the place had a good crowd but it wasn't slammed on a late Saturday afternoon.)

                            When I got home I found I didn't like the new style of pizza. It was swimming in oil and I thought the crust was overdone.

                            These things are a matter of personal taste. Lots of people like his new wave style pizza but it's not for me. The clincher are the crowds the place now attracts. I won't put up with that. I haven't been back although I've driven by dozens of times. Always slammed.

                            1. re: Bob Martinez
                              d
                              debinqueens Jan 31, 2014 08:38 AM

                              spot on, Bob. the "old" DiFara was pretty basic -- no curated toppings, no olive oil pour (there may have been fresh herbs from the "garden," but I don't recall).

                              I like the evolved/new style a lot, but living in queens and having the lowered patience that comes with being in my 40s, I don't go that often.

                              1. re: debinqueens
                                Steve R Jan 31, 2014 01:41 PM

                                Yep. I'm 61 now & grew up 3 blocks from DiFara. It was my hangout from '67 till I went away to college in '70 & I continued to drop by whenever I was around for the next 10 years. It was a good example of a solid neighborhood place... Nothing more, nothing less. Truthfully, better slices could be had 2 blocks down Ave J at a long gone place on the corner of E. 13th. At any rate, when I moved back to Bklyn in '82, I started going again & watched Dom as he made changes to become, as Jim said, more "artisanal". I love what it's become but it bears little to no resemblance to what it was.

                                By the way, I joined this board when my wife picked up Jim's Guide & said " look what's become famous, your old pizza place." And here I still am... a longtime CH poster, all due to the DiFara write up & the many places I then found in the book & then on these boards.

                                1. re: Steve R
                                  k
                                  kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:46 PM

                                  :) That's an incredible story and sort of attests to the vitality and ongoing viability of this site.

                                  On another note, I wasn't around back then, but it makes sense to me that in the 1960s and 1970's there was a litany of great pizza joints though most have closed down in the ensuing two decades or so and since DiFara's has no competition from the other great spots that have closed it has rised to the top of the heap.

                                  Just a thought.

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    Steve R Feb 1, 2014 01:58 PM

                                    Actually, Queen on Court St. had a separate pizza place next door to their restaurant (old location, where the movie theater is now, a block away). Dynomite slice in the '60s. Guess where Dom worked before opening his own place on Ave J?

                                    1. re: Steve R
                                      k
                                      kevin Feb 1, 2014 04:00 PM

                                      Where ?

                                      1. re: kevin
                                        Steve R Feb 1, 2014 08:32 PM

                                        Uhhh.... Queen.

                                        1. re: Steve R
                                          k
                                          kevin Feb 1, 2014 09:36 PM

                                          Its not still there right ?

                                          1. re: kevin
                                            d
                                            debinqueens Feb 1, 2014 09:52 PM

                                            Queen the restaurant , a high end sit down place, is there, and excellent. I had no idea about the connection.

                                            1. re: debinqueens
                                              k
                                              kevin Feb 1, 2014 10:54 PM

                                              that is interesting and quite cool.

                            2. re: debinqueens
                              h
                              HillJ Jan 31, 2014 01:40 PM

                              I'm re reading this thread hours after kevin posted and updated my head over list for Feb. so thanks debinq.

                              1. re: HillJ
                                k
                                kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:42 PM

                                Thanks guys.

                                I thought i was going to get no responses on this thread almost.

                                But now I'm so nostalgic but so hungry to hit up Olympic Pita in addition to DiFara's of course.

                                1. re: kevin
                                  h
                                  HillJ Jan 31, 2014 01:43 PM

                                  thank you kevin. learned something new every day on CH.

                                  1. re: HillJ
                                    k
                                    kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:47 PM

                                    Thank you HIll.

                                    Damn, when I read your screen handle, I keep thinking of Hill Country BBQ, sorry about that.

                                    1. re: kevin
                                      h
                                      HillJ Jan 31, 2014 01:51 PM

                                      Well that's a first.

                                      1. re: HillJ
                                        k
                                        kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:53 PM

                                        cool.

                                  2. re: kevin
                                    Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 01:48 PM

                                    AT Olympic Pita, get the salad deal. It's like $5 or something for an infinite procession of small plates, akin to Korean panchan or, even more, the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. Don't miss shwarma. Or falafal. And put ambah on everything (an Iraqi/Jewish sauce resembling Indian mango chutney).

                                    and don't miss The Orchard. Stick to fruit, not the other stuff. Be ready to drop $30-40 on just a few (mind-blowing) things. And if you demonstrate that you're buying in a respectable quantity, they'll shower you with tastes/samples.

                                    1. re: Jim Leff
                                      k
                                      kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:51 PM

                                      Magic to my ears: if it's almost traditional or "authentic" (i know some hate to use the term authentic for various reasons) amba i'm so so there. i could care less if the falafels are not that great, nor the shwarma, but if they are that's the icing on the cake.

                                      btw, is the shwarma a turkey mix or beef/lamb or just lamb mix ?

                                      1. re: kevin
                                        Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 01:53 PM

                                        Turkey. It's the real thing.

                                        There may be better places now, but at the time I first wrote about it, it was the best game in town.

                                      2. re: Jim Leff
                                        k
                                        kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:51 PM

                                        cool, i forget if they serve Durian there, or magosteen fruit or where do i go for that ????

                                        1. re: kevin
                                          Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 01:53 PM

                                          Flushing

                  3. Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 09:55 AM

                    Here you go, Kevin:
                    ----------------------------

                    DiFara Pizzeria

                    Atmosphere/Setting: This early 1960's style Brooklyn neighborhood pizza parlor has seen better days. The beige wall paneling is beginning to curl, flourescent fixtures throb overhead, and the linoleum floor tiles have grown crooked. You eat at long industrial junior-high-art-project type tables--beneath faded poster photos showing Italy as it looked two generations ago--while scratchy Italian opera blasts from the kitchen. Sit here a few minutes, and you'll be drawn back in time...and begin to notice that everywhere you look there are crates of impressively ripe tomatoes...the place is practically bursting with them.

                    House Specialties: Pizzas, both round and Sicilian, are sacred artifacts from the days when slices had personality, made from real sauce, cheese, and crust. Pastas--spaghetti marinara's a great choice--are served in oversized bowls, properly al dente with incredible garlic-studded sauce made from all those fresh tomatoes. Heroes (the usual: sausage and peppers, meatball parmigiana, etc.) are nothing short of ideal, served on crusty ultrafresh Italian bread with good cheese and that amazing sauce, and by the time you get to the entrees (veal or chicken scallopini, shrimp marinara, scungili, lasagna or manicotti) you'll be raising your eyebrow and wondering whether you've just found the restaurant of your dreams.

                    Other Recommendations: Look for specials, like slices of fresh artichoke pizza; (the artichoke leaves have been carefully sauteed with garlic to the precisely right point; it is to your standard "veggie" artichoke pizza what a Chopin nocturne is to an advertising jingle). While six bucks may seem a bit high for salad here (Owner Domenico De Marco apologizes to customers for the price), it's a lavish affair, brimming with chunks of fresh mozzarella, various lettuces, hothouse tomato, and a nice balsamic vinegar dressing.

                    Summary & Comments: Those tomato crates piled up in the narrow passageway back to the kitchen (and under the counter...and over by the window) are from The Orchard, a mega-premium produce store at 1367 Coney Island Avenue. They're transformed into one of New York's great tomato sauces; a restrained, low profile masterpiece of optimal acidity and spicing (bolstered by a goodly shake of black pepper). Like everything here, it's delicious in a magically old-fashioned way. Mr. De Marco doesn't like modern shortcuts; "To me," he says, "a drink in a plastic cup doesn't taste as good as one in glass." Since 1963, this humble artisan has quietly practiced his craft (his son now handles kitchen orders). Mr. De Marco is a hold-out, Brooklyn's last proud neighborhood pizza baker, and each bite is a small historical event.

                    ----------------------------
                    BTW, since my book containing that review came out in early 1998, and other reviewers kept piling on, and folks on Chowhound started going crazy about it, I've seen/heard literally hundreds of people insist they knew the place long before any of the attention.

                    Yet when I used to visit in the mid 1990's, it was so utterly empty and forlorn and unknown that Mr. DeMarco was preparing to shut down. So I'm not sure where all those hordes of mavens were....

                    25 Replies
                    1. re: Jim Leff
                      Bob Martinez Jan 31, 2014 10:11 AM

                      "BTW, since my book containing that review came out in early 1998, and other reviewers kept piling on, and folks on Chowhound started going crazy about it, I've seen/heard literally hundreds of people insist they knew the place long before any of the attention. "

                      Maybe some of them are telling the truth. DiFara's was around for years before you discovered* it. Clearly other people were going. You weren't the first customer.

                      * In the same sense that Columbus discovered America. The native Americans were already there.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                        Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 10:20 AM

                        A few probably were telling the truth. I'm not so deluded as to think I was the first human being to step into that pizzeria. Not sure why you'd interpret it that way.

                        The actual truth tellers were a half-dozen or so random neighborhood guys who found their way to Chowhound in the late 1990's to register their displeasure regarding all the commotion. Their tone was jarringly different than that of our usual denizens, and they were annoyed that a bunch of carpet-bagging swells had transformed their neighborhood joint into some celebrated point of gastronomic light. Their pal Dom makes decent pie, they'd been eating it for years, but it's not all that, so, for chrisesakes, can you people please give it a rest?

                        Those were the people who I believed.

                        1. re: Jim Leff
                          Bob Martinez Jan 31, 2014 11:03 AM

                          Funny that you played that card after Deb and I mentioned that we had been there before you.

                          I moved to Brooklyn - Park Slope - from the Bronx in 1979. I lived on 5th St., just down from 7th Ave. near John Jay high school. At the time I was dating a woman who had lived on Ave. J in the early 1970s. (She later moved to Ocean Ave. and then later to Staten Island.) She mentioned that DiFara's was terrific so I decided to try it. I owned a car and it was a clear shot from Park Slope down Ocean Parkway down to Ave. F. A 15 minute drive.

                          I thought it was really good and I went frequently. At other times I used the Smiling Pizza on 7th Ave. and 9th St. because it was closer (although an 8 to DiFara's 10.) Smiling Pizza has declined since the 80s.

                          Wikipedia mentions that DiFara's opened in 1964. That was 20 years before you walked in the door. Do the math. Thousands of people were there before you.

                          You deserve full credit for giving DiFara's and Dom the publicity and success he deserved but it's unworthy of you to publicly question the truthfulness of two people who were clearly there first. And please, don't claim you didn't mean us. There was no reason to say -

                          "I've seen/heard literally hundreds of people insist they knew the place long before any of the attention."

                          - unless you *did* mean us. It was no coincidence.

                          1. re: Bob Martinez
                            Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 11:27 AM

                            Bob,

                            When I describe the actions of "hundreds of people", no, that's not a euphemism for "Bob Martinez". Please try to calm down. It's really not that important, and I'm really not that important (thanks, though).

                            JIM

                            1. re: Jim Leff
                              Bob Martinez Jan 31, 2014 11:41 AM

                              Jim, there was no reason to bring up the idea of phony DiFara customers right after Deb and I were posting our reminiscences unless you meant to draw a connection.

                              You are responsible for making DiFara's what it is. No one is trying to take that away from you. Deb and I brought up our experiences *before* you got on this thread, not as a knock on you but to provide some historical context.

                              1. re: Bob Martinez
                                Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 11:53 AM

                                Bob,

                                I don't need credit, nor do I care whether anyone intends to take anything away from me. I'm here for the pizza. And I'd suggest you adapt the same attitude. This isn't war, it's eating.

                                Speaking of which....eat anything good lately? If I recall, you're a Burmese fan.

                                1. re: Jim Leff
                                  k
                                  kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:36 PM

                                  Oh, yeah, you guys might have mentioned an omakase style Burmese joint in Queens a few months back (?) where the chef/proprietress serves you whatever she feels like making that day ? I forgot the name of the joint but it sounds great.

                                  And the price (about $25 including seafood dishes like soft shell crab or whole crab dishes) sounds about right.

                                  Thanks guys.

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 01:41 PM

                                    That's Ma Sophie, a Burmese cook who's worked in a couple restaurants, currently at Crazy Crab in Flushing. I haven't been to this latest yet, but definitely want to.

                                    There are unlicensed Burmese private kitchens in Queens (which we can't write about here, it would get them in trouble). I haven't kept track of them, alas, but suspect that's where the best stuff is. I really miss the old Dagon Burmese, and Mingala before it went downhill....

                                    1. re: Jim Leff
                                      k
                                      kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:49 PM

                                      I don't mean to pry but are they unlicensed private kitchens so the customers give donations and are allowed to smoke cigarettes there, just curious.

                                      Shoot, now I"m getting real really really really hungry.

                                      I'm going to have to take stop and go and stop and go and stop and go pilgrimage along the Q to Coney Island real soon.

                                      1. re: kevin
                                        Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 01:52 PM

                                        Just takeout. Private apartment kitchens where you hand over $10, get your styrofoam go-container and you're off. There's a lot of that sort of thing in NYC for many ethnicities. They tend, obviously, to be suspicious of outsiders.

                                        Before I became a writer I spent time finding them. But I couldn't write about them, so I sort of let it go.

                                        1. re: Jim Leff
                                          k
                                          kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:55 PM

                                          That makes sense if they must deal with outsiders with a slight trepidation.

                                          I'm pretty it also gives the ex-pats a refreshing taste of home when homesickness kicks in with an utter vengeance.

                                      2. re: Jim Leff
                                        b
                                        burton Jan 31, 2014 02:42 PM

                                        Crazy Crab (aka, Kwazy Kwab) - Worth it. Go, it's very good. Believe it's the only one of its type available these days. And wow - haven't thought about Dagon in ages. Lovely memory. Never did care much for Mingala though (either location).

                                        Orchard Fruit - All I can say is $30-40...in my dreams. Easily twice that but admittedly I get carried away since it's the only place in the entire city I've found to date with consistently high quality fruit. The only place.

                                        1. re: burton
                                          k
                                          kevin Jan 31, 2014 02:55 PM

                                          Can't I just go to the The Orchard on Coney Island Ave and purchase one piece of exceedingly ripe, delicious, dopamine-inducing fruit such as an ultra-ripe peach or nectarine, or maybe a half pint of blackberries and be out of there for $5 or $6 bucks and save the remainder of my $20 spot for Difara's ???????

                                          1. re: kevin
                                            b
                                            burton Jan 31, 2014 03:13 PM

                                            If you can hit The Orchard and walk out with a single piece of glistening dopamine-inducing gold...well, hat's off. You sir are surely made of much sterner stuff than I. Then again, you'll need to gird yourself for the DiFara challenge.

                                            1. re: kevin
                                              Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 04:57 PM

                                              -------
                                              "Can't I just go to the The Orchard on Coney Island Ave and purchase one piece of exceedingly ripe, delicious, dopamine-inducing fruit such as an ultra-ripe peach or nectarine, or maybe a half pint of blackberries...."
                                              -------

                                              Yes! That's the mindset! Absolutely right!

                                              -------
                                              "...and be out of there for $5 or $6 bucks?"
                                              -------

                                              No. That's what I was referring to when I said $30-40. If you buy more, it will cost much more (per burton's posting, above).

                                              It seems insane until you realize that each nectarine will change your life at a deep DNA level.

                                            2. re: burton
                                              Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 04:55 PM

                                              In the year after Dagon closed, Mingala on 7th street was nearly as good. It slowly declined for a year, then descended into inedibility....with apparently the same management (never understood that). But trust me, it really was very very good for that brief time.

                                              Sounds like you're doing "normal" shopping at Orchard. I do more boutique buying....a bunch of grapes, an orange, three plums. Like that. It has nothing to do with my normal pattern of fruit shopping (both out of frugality and out of respect).

                                        2. re: Jim Leff
                                          k
                                          kevin Jan 31, 2014 03:35 PM

                                          As a sagacious young man once said, "I'm a lover, not a fighter"

                                          Ok, maybe he was not quite so young.

                                2. re: Bob Martinez
                                  d
                                  debinqueens Jan 31, 2014 10:26 AM

                                  never claimed to be a maven, nor have i adorned myself with a self-made 'trailblazer' merit badge. i leave that to the professionals.

                                  i lived a ten minute walk from difara in 1986 and 1987. i stumbled into it while on a stroll and had a slice about three or four months into my stay. liked it enough to come back pretty often, even though it wasn't the closest pizzeria to my home. didn't sing its praises from the mountaintops, since i didn't think -- at the time -- it was a spectacular experience, just the best in the 'hood. it evolved into that at some point in my years as a non-visitor, obviously.

                                  i did, on the other hand, drag people to the orchard, which is also referenced in that review. i'd never seen anything quite like it at the time, and still consider it a one of a kind experience.

                                  1. re: debinqueens
                                    Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 10:36 AM

                                    debinqueens, that jibes with the scattering of the from-the-neighborhood postings we got early on. "It's good pizza, but not a spectacular experience". I thought it was spectacular. But not in a showy way; it wasn't a different SORT of pizza (though he made it that later).

                                    The Orchard, by contrast, was like something dropped in via space ship. God. Just great, no? Did you also patronize wonderful Chiffon Bakery next door? Or Olympic Pita, with the great salad deal?

                                    1. re: Jim Leff
                                      f
                                      foodiemom10583 Jan 31, 2014 11:32 AM

                                      Hi Jim:

                                      The Orchard is still there and is still just as great. A basket/platter from them never fails to make a wonderful impression.

                                      1. re: Jim Leff
                                        f
                                        foodiemom10583 Jan 31, 2014 11:41 AM

                                        Here's The Orchard's fruit and cheese platter that I sent to a friend last March.

                                         
                                        1. re: Jim Leff
                                          d
                                          debinqueens Jan 31, 2014 01:00 PM

                                          Olympic, most definitely. my initial exposure to pita-based foodstuffs came via visits to the then copious macdougal street vendors, which were dirt cheap and, to a teenager, at least, delicious.

                                          this was another level altogether and it took me a couple of visits to realize I could actually take what I wanted from that spread.

                                          1. re: debinqueens
                                            Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 01:34 PM

                                            Same revelation process here. Also, much less food poisoning once you get off Macdougal street.

                                            With just those four places: Difara, Orchard, Olympic, and the late/lamented Chiffon, it's possible to get a pretty broad education in food.

                                            1. re: Jim Leff
                                              n
                                              NewYorkNewHaven Apr 14, 2014 06:06 AM

                                              Chiffon is not late/lamented. It's still very much alive and well: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2012/0...

                                              1. re: NewYorkNewHaven
                                                b
                                                Barry Strugatz Apr 14, 2014 07:44 AM

                                                Good news! Thanks!

                                  2. h
                                    HillJ Jan 31, 2014 10:08 AM

                                    Jim, have you been to DiFara's recently? Have you considered an updated review?

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 10:10 AM

                                      Haven't been in the last year. And I don't think the world's exactly waiting with baited breath for an update from me! :)

                                      1. re: Jim Leff
                                        h
                                        HillJ Jan 31, 2014 10:12 AM

                                        Since when. Unless you're waiting for a long line to admit such requests, feel free to consider my request reason enough :)

                                        1. re: HillJ
                                          Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 10:28 AM

                                          He's completely transformed his style. With the influx of business and money and attention, he was moved to explore avenues he'd always dreamed of. The real cheese, the basil, and many other moves - large and small - which aggregated into what we now think of as Difara Pizza actually came AFTER my review. And I admire him for his creativity and vision. A lesser light would have just borne down and taken the easy money.

                                          I'm not saying his pizza necessarily improved. It just transformed from being a last vestige of great neighborhood-style pizza into being proto artisanal pizza. A different sort of greatness.

                                          But then he started getting older. He burns the crust more often. He prepares the sicilian crust ahead (the one concession I've seen him make, and it does affect quality). And I can't stand the crowds or the jostling....and I really miss the prepared foods (I haven't yet been to their other store; I'm waiting for a blizzard or hurricane). It's still great, but it's an awfully tough ticket.

                                          I don't regret bringing the place to attention, because, per above, they were on the verge of shutting down in the mid-to-late 1990's. He deserves all his success. I do, however, wish I could walk in like in the old days and just eat a quietly worshipful meal.

                                          How was that?

                                          1. re: Jim Leff
                                            h
                                            HillJ Jan 31, 2014 10:34 AM

                                            Consider it part of the kick in the ass I needed to go back. I like a burnt crust. :)

                                            1. re: HillJ
                                              Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 10:37 AM

                                              Me too!!

                                            2. re: Jim Leff
                                              k
                                              kevin Jan 31, 2014 11:14 AM

                                              Wait a second .....

                                              Jim, where's his other store ???

                                              1. re: kevin
                                                Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 11:27 AM

                                                MD Kitchen 1012 E. 15th St

                                          2. re: Jim Leff
                                            k
                                            kevin Jan 31, 2014 11:12 AM

                                            Thanks for Thr reminscens from both you and Bob. I'm just glad both you guys have sung its praises to keep it in business. And if I slice takes an hour if not more to get along with $10 a slice so be it.

                                            And thanks for the reminder on The Orchard too.

                                        2. k
                                          kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:43 PM

                                          Btw, you guys, does DiFara still make the hero sandwiches such as meatball, shrimp, veal, etc, as well as the pastas, or has he stopped making them because he is just so busy with making his artisanal pies and gourmet slices ????

                                          I was thinking he would probably downsize to pizzas only,

                                          But I haven't been in some time so I didn't know for sure.

                                          Thanks a bunch.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: kevin
                                            Steve R Jan 31, 2014 01:47 PM

                                            Stopped a long time ago but now the place next door on E.15th makes them again. I haven't been there. If Maggie is in charge, it'll be good. Maybe she'll even be making soup again.

                                            1. re: Steve R
                                              Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 01:50 PM

                                              Maggie is the bomb. Sorry I didn't include her in the original review, but I didn't have the depth of knowledge back then, had only eaten there 3 or 4 times.

                                            2. re: kevin
                                              Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 01:48 PM

                                              None of that. You can get that at the new store (info above). I haven't been there yet, but hear it's good.

                                            3. k
                                              kevin Jan 31, 2014 01:58 PM

                                              And MD Kitchen sounds great, the prices are right.

                                              Is it basically a restaurant to support the type of stuff DiFara's no longer serves if DF is just serving pizza now ????

                                              Thanks.

                                              1. k
                                                kevin Jan 31, 2014 02:57 PM

                                                I take it also that crazy crab has some dope crab dishes.

                                                please explain more if you will.

                                                thanks guys.

                                                1. k
                                                  kevin Jan 31, 2014 02:59 PM

                                                  Is this the place you were referring to ?????? thanks.

                                                  http://www.crazycrabny.com/menu.html

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                    b
                                                    burton Jan 31, 2014 03:09 PM

                                                    Yep that's the place. Can't say a thing about the seafood dishes though since I myself am fixated on the Burmese and Yunnan items. For what it's worth the majority of patrons are clearly there for the seafood (as you well might expect given the name, the menu, etc). I know - it's kinda kwazy.

                                                    1. re: burton
                                                      k
                                                      kevin Jan 31, 2014 03:10 PM

                                                      Got it.

                                                      Kind of like when the old Blimpie's Subs. somewhere in Midtown and had a pretty decent sideline in Southern Thai eats from Isan province, ????

                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                        Jim Leff Jan 31, 2014 05:00 PM

                                                        Blimpie's Subs and Salads Joey Thai Thai Fast Food Restaurant.

                                                        Joey's currently operating in Montclair, NJ, and with no sub trappings at all. http://www.joeythai.com

                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          jen kalb Feb 1, 2014 02:38 PM

                                                          one of the first thai places I remember in Manhattan was a Blimpie Base at around 71st and Bway - wonder if it was the same folks? (late 70s) what I remember is larb type stuff

                                                          1. re: jen kalb
                                                            k
                                                            kevin Feb 1, 2014 04:03 PM

                                                            I really don't know.

                                                            But see if you can find out and get back to me, Jen.

                                                            What I think was going on was that immigrants would open relatively simple franchises with names behind them and serve those franchised wares to the general populace and then some had the exceptional idea of making their own homeland dishes on the side to help out and warm the hearts of the homesick expats.

                                                            Just my two cents.

                                                      2. re: kevin
                                                        m
                                                        mshenna Mar 31, 2014 05:18 PM

                                                        Went last night. Seafood great (crawfish, clams, shrimp, crab, etc. etc. by the pound, boiled, in-shell, three seasoning options). Burmese dishes even better, though not enough of them, but YES tea salad. And the other people with me wolfed up shredded pork/bamboo shoots (didn't eat any myself but picky eater husband who normally will not touch bamboo shoots was ecstatic, as were the other two). Very, very small place, former deli I gather, but everything we had, or saw anyone else have, was excellent. I think there was a Burmese prawn dish too on the print menu, though it's not on the website. "Fried cucumber" under "baskets" is Burmese deep-fried gourd fritters & even better than the ones at the Burmese food festivals.

                                                        1. re: mshenna
                                                          k
                                                          kevin Mar 31, 2014 06:17 PM

                                                          Thanks.

                                                          What's the official name and address on this one ????

                                                          It's much appreciated.

                                                          Sorry, the thread got a little unwieldily.

                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                            m
                                                            mshenna Apr 13, 2014 05:52 PM

                                                            On Crazy Crab?

                                                            40-42 College Point Blvd, Flushing, NY 11354

                                                      3. k
                                                        kevin Feb 4, 2014 05:38 PM

                                                        does DiFara still serve items besides pizza ?????

                                                        Thanks.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          f
                                                          foodiemom10583 Feb 4, 2014 05:49 PM

                                                          Steve R answered your question above.

                                                          1. re: foodiemom10583
                                                            k
                                                            kevin Feb 4, 2014 05:54 PM

                                                            dman, thanks missed that for some reason.

                                                          2. re: kevin
                                                            h
                                                            HillJ Feb 4, 2014 05:53 PM

                                                            They also have a menu on their website and info on the Las Vegas location.

                                                          3. k
                                                            kevin Apr 7, 2014 01:09 PM

                                                            Does she serve any desserts too ????

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