This Pizzeria Has Since Closed

20050223EustacePie.jpgIt's an embarrassment of riches today in terms of DeMarco's reviews. It was brought to our attention this morning by friend and Slice reader J.J.J. that the New Yorker features DeMarco's in its Tables for Two column this week. It seems you either love DeMarco's or hate it, and the New Yorker seems to love it.

And speaking of love, Slice loves that fact that we get a passing mention in the review:

Over the past few months, nervous anticipation has characterized discussions among pizza fiends about the quasi-expansion of Brooklyn’s legendary Di Fara’s into Manhattan. To begin with, there was the promise of pedigree—two of Domenico De Marco’s children are in on the new venture, although they were forbidden to import the forty-year-old business’s name. Last month, the pizza blog sliceny.com posted photographs from the two pizzerias taken the same afternoon, in order to compare the bottom-crust charring (Di Fara’s proved slightly blacker, but the bloggers admitted the test had no bearing on the crust’s crispness).

The good news is that the De Marco’s slice is nearly as good as Di Fara’s. It has the signature savory tomato sauce, like the one Domenico makes using herbs he grows in his shop windows, and each pie gets three kinds of cheese and a final drenching with olive oil before it hits the oven. But they’ve got some fundamental elements wrong. Domenico makes each pie fresh for customers, who watch as rapt as if it were sushi at Masa, pummelling a lump of dough into shape and futzing over the arrangement of mozzarella on top. At De Marco’s, the kitchen works ahead, stockpiling perfect circles of dough and reheating slices on demand. It takes its toll: the congealed cheese never tastes just right again, and the layering of flavors and textures in each bite becomes muted.

Even so, for the unobsessed, the thin-crust slices from the round pies will seem great. They are certainly a triumph compared with the rest of the pizzas. The square, thick-crust slices, a long-baked sacrament at Di Fara’s, are terrible at De Marco’s—they taste like focaccia smeared with Ragú. And, even more mysteriously, the whole pies, served in the depressing, airport-bar-like restaurant next door, aren’t half as good as the take-out slices. It’s no surprise that the Manhattan place lacks the dusty charm of Di Fara’s, where about the only addition in forty years is the vintage shortwave radio on the windowsill. De Marco’s may have the best slice in Manhattan, but it’s no substitute for the trip to Avenue J.


FURTHER READING
All Slice posts on DeMarco's [The Slice Archives]

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