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Calzones

Not sure why, but I've been craving a solid calzone lately. I realized it's been a few years since I've treated myself to a giant half moon. The gently browned crust giving way to the knife and emitting the pillows of steam. The ricotta oozing out, the mozzarella stretching from the platter to the plate. The "holy shit we ate the whole thing" moment of over-satiation.

I'm pretty much a simple "ham and cheese(s)" calzone guy - maybe a bit of sauce on the side for the ends of the crust. I'm not adverse to other combinations of fillings and have gotten pretty weird when making smaller "pies" at home.

My recollection is that I haven't picked one up in so long because I was kinda disappointed by what we got the last few times. Consequently, I'm wondering if there are places anyone might recommend? Any particular version offered? Is there a DeLorenzo's or Spirito's of calzones? Anything you'd dare label the "best" or "must try"?

It would be a bonus for me if the there are great ones available south of the Driscoll, but I'm thinking there should be some statewide consideration of this dish that the Garden State does so well (sorta like: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/186329 ).

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  1. I really haven't had a Calzone in years, but back in the day, we used to get them at Buono's (or Buona's: my memory for names isn't what it used to be) in Bernardsville. They were unique; there was no ricotta inside-- it was strictly mozzarella with whatever meat you chose to have put it. I usually got them with pepperoni or sausage. They'd serve it with a side of sauce, and it would be a great meal (especially if it was late and you had spent most of the evening drinking). Probably very unhealthy to have, but we weren't thinking about such things back then. Any Calzone I've had since had the usual ricotta-mozzarella-ham combination; I've never encountered the purely mozzarella Calzones anywhere else, and wondering if anyone else is familiar with them?

    1 Reply
    1. re: legsdiamond12

      I was never much for Calzones since I'm not a big fan of ricotta, but the mozz, meat, and other pizza toppings in a Stromboli with a little dipping marinara is a long time favorite.

    2. Not south of the Driscoll, but my search at slice.seriouseats.com mentions two places in NJ.
      Both "reviews" seem to be from 2011.
      Pizza-Town in Elmwood Park is supposed to have a deep fried calzone, and Ah Pizz in Montclair has some sort of slice/calzone hybrid. The reviewer said .... "It's a half pizza–half calzone creation that comes with Margherita toppings and Kalamata olives on the pizza side and with stuffing ingredients of fresh ricotta, fresh mozzarella, sausage, roasted peppers, Parmigiano-reggiano, basil, and extra virgin olive oil in the calzone side."

      Here are links to the posts:
      http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

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

      1. I got meatball one not too long ago from prosecco and it was excellent. It was the size of a pizza folded over. So you need a lot lf napkins or a knife and forker. I'm actually thinking it about it again now... Maybe for lunch hahah

        2 Replies
          1. re: MGZ

            Rt. 36 in the Keansburg/Middletown Area. It's been talked about on here a bit, it's been on my "to do" list for awhile. If I find myself over in that area the draw of Christine's is generally too strong for me to ignore.

          1. re: Curlz

            How did I know that post was coming?

            1. re: MGZ

              I for one am over Porta. It's a cool place to go have a drink or two in the summer when the outside is open.....but other than that I'm over it. I don't care for the park bench seating, due to both my size and back problems. The bar turns into too much of a "club" most nights and the acoustics are horrible......and the pizza while good, doesn't blow me away at all, as is the case with most of the other food from the kitchen. Yes.....yes....I know the octopus salad........Ok they have that going for them.

              1. re: MGZ

                LOL! But that's the only place where I've had a good one (south of the Driscoll or anywhere else) in the lady couple of years!

            2. Always thought that the "half moon" was a Stromboli and the calzone was more of a turnover w/ a flakey crust. The ricotta in the calzone sounds right. But where I'm from a Stromboli was basically a pizza folded on itself, a half moon.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Chinon00

                I can only speak to places at the Shore and in Middlesex County, but a folded pizza crust - half moon shape - is a calzone. A "roll" or "log" shape is a stromboli.

                Different terms in the Philly zone of influence?

                1. re: Chinon00

                  In my world, either one of these could be a Stromboli, but only the half-moon could be a Calzone.

                   
                  1. re: grampart

                    Are the crusts any different between those two.

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      I believe they are both made with the "house" pizza dough.

                      1. re: grampart

                        Yeah I'm used to a calzone being shaped like a loaf and having a pastry-like crust.

                        1. re: Chinon00

                          you can throw in the Central NJ pizza place description of a "roll" also.. which I beleive to be a mini stromboli, and then there are "pinwheels" which are essentially slices of stromboli

                2. If you want the best calzone this side of the Driscoll bridge, then I will email you directions to my house.

                  I remember my grandmother showing me how to make them, she use to call them the equivalent to Italian pigs in a blanket. The slits cut in the dough once folded over to let the pig's breath in their sleeping blanket.

                  In this case most any decent pizza dough will do.....it's the stuffing that matters, prepared fresh ricotta (egg, salt, pepper, grated parmesan, parsley, garlic powder), shaved prosciutto, shaved domestic ham, let's throw some sauteed broccoli rabe in, top it with shredded mozzarella and fold it over. A side of Sunday sauce for dipping.......hell yeah brother that's good eats right there.

                  I honestly can't give you anywhere that put's out a truly exceptional one. I'm looking forward to seeing what other people have to say.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    I'm not a huge fan of most calzones - just way too big for me, too much ricotta, not enough other stuff. HOWEVER, if i were to make one, it'd be very much like your grandmother's. a nice layer of ricotta mixed with herbs, egg, romano, cooked sausage, a nice layer of bitter greens sauteed in olive oil and garlic [broccoli rabe or escarole], mozarella. sauce on the side. and IMO, it wouldn't be more than about 1-1/2 inches thick. just my preference

                  2. It's been a while but what comes to mind is Siino's and Guido's, both in Eatontown.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: fershore

                      Tommy's in Red Bank has a decent "mini" calzone. They are smaller and crispier than the gigantic, folded-over, soft pizza dough variety that is served at every pizza joint in Monmouth county. Tommy's style is closer to authentic, old school Italian like jrvedivici grandma's recipe.
                      And what's up with every thread has to mention Porta?

                      1. re: fershore

                        Guido's has standard, full sized baked calzones as well as smaller, personal sized fried ones...

                        http://www.guidosfamouspizza.com/menu...

                      2. You'll feel your heart stopping as you eat it, but the calzone from Pizza Town in Elmwood Park is hands down my favorite. Deep fried (really deep fried!) perfection.

                        1. A true calzone is fried, never baked, and that is what makes a superb calzone. Always with Ham IMHO. I grew up eating them regularly in Staten Italy at Nunzios and Pizza town, and some real old school place in Brooklyn name escapes me but you could never get one with ham on a Friday there and not just during Lent! A sublime calzone experience requires it to be drank with a bottle of Manhattan Special.

                          But I digress. Frying, fat, and cholesterol became the enemy in the 90's and you seldom find a fried calzone.

                          However you can request a fried calzone at Angelottis by CVS on Rt 9 south and Texas Road at the Old Bridge Matlboro border. Not as good as the ones from my youth but best I had in NJ since moving here and better than the typical baked varieties.

                          And its South of the Driscol Bridge lol

                          https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&s...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: angelo04

                            I agree +1 DEEP FRIED Only & Fresh Mozz when it comes to Calzones...

                            1. re: angelo04

                              Emilio's in Manalapan has a "Boccaccia Pizza" which is half pizza, half calzone. Never tried it.. just passing the info along.

                              http://www.emiliosmanalapan.com/

                            2. Del Ponte's in Bradley Beach has great calzones. The pizzas are also delicious, and a bonus, for me, at least, is that the salads are fabulous and shareable.

                              http://www.delpontescoalfiredpizza.co...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: agree

                                Is this the place by The Italian bakery off the corner of the Main Street and the main thoroughfare to the beach?

                                1. re: angelo04

                                  The pizza place is owned by the Del Ponte bakery family but it's next door around the corner, east, heading towards the beach.