A couple weeks ago, my wife and I were scheduled to go on a romantic hot air balloon ride out above the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside. Unfortunately, the wind and weather had a different plan for us. Our balloon was grounded, so we packed up the dogs and drove off to make our own adventure, searching for dog runs and pizza in charming Huntington, Long Island—a town, we discovered, that seems to be populated mostly by SUVs and high school girls. It also just happens to be the hometown of Cereal Eats columnist Leandra Palermo.
Naturally, I texted her to see what's up. Aside from the obvious (that'd be the cold cheese slice from Little Vincent's, about which I have many thoughts to share at a later date), she also pointed us towards Rosa's Pizza on Main street. It's an old-school-looking slice joint from the outside. The kind of place you'd sneak out to during middle school lunch hour, offering your friends snap bracelets in return for pizza since you're the only kid who never got an allowance. I like this kind of place, I thought to myself. I will do well here.
We got inside and queued up behind a group of high school girls (like I said, they are everywhere) and scanned the display case. Just looking at the plain pies in the display case, you can tell the pizza is cheesy. Unrelentingly and unrepentantly so. You know those pizza joints that started cropping up in New York in the late 90's that would serve Caesar Salad on top of their pizza? This is one of those places. How they reheat those slices, I still can't figure out.
We'd already made up our minds to order a chicken roll based on Leandra's recommendation (that'd be thin-cut strips of fried chicken rolled up in pizza dough, baked, and served with sauce for dipping). But then we heard one of the girls in front of us—the skinniest one, no less—order a "ravioli pizza please."
Uh... what? Surely she means "ravioli, pizza, please," right?.
Nope. She meant ravioli pizza. As in ricotta ravioli baked on top of pizza. As in cheese-stuffed carbs, placed on top of carbs, covered in more cheese, topped with some extra cheese for good measure. Oh, and then baked.
The girl assured us that it was the awesomest thing on the menu, and who am I to argue with a local? We ordered one and braced ourselves.
The pizza was placed on our tray, heavy as the hammer of Thor. I had to pass my drink off to my wife so that I could use two hands to lift it, knowing that if I accidentally dropped the slice on the floor, at least two or three of the high school girls would get swept away, casualties in a river of molten cheese (though I wouldn't be surprised if for every one that was taken out, two more would rise in their place).
There's honestly not much to say about it that the pictures don't already show. The crust at Rosa's is decent. Crisp on the bottom, tender, not too thick. The sauce is sweet, as sauce in this type of place tends to be. But really, none of that matters. It's the cheese you taste, and the cheese alone.
Even the ravioli, which sit as balloon*-like blops underneath their heavy winter comforters of cheese, get lost in the mix. A touch of dryness from the ricotta is all that really registers.
*Hey, looks like we got our hot balloons after all!
Pasta on pizza is something I've seen in a few places, even relatively successfully in some, but for me, in order for it to work, the pasta has to crisp up and brown a bit—it's a textural effect more than anything. Soft ravioli on top of soft crust doesn't add anything to a slice but bulk. To be fair, it seems like bulk is really what Rosa's is after.
My wife and I made a valiant effort to put away some of the pizza, but gave up after only a couple of bites, instead turning our attention to the chicken roll, which was (comparatively) delicious.
I have a feeling that when we finally re-book, our hot air balloon is gonna be doing a bit of extra straining to keep us afloat after this particular adventure.
313 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 (map) 631-425-7694