You've heard of semisweet chocolate, right? Well lately I've been encountering a lot of what I call semiserious pizza, most recently at Dean's Pizzeria, yet another pizza "concept" from the folks who have given us the Patsy's mini-chain, Angelo's, and Goodburger.
What is semiserious pizza? It's pizza that has many of the characteristics of serious pizza—made with good (if not great) ingredients, baked in an oven that can hold temperatures as high as 800 degrees (either gas-, wood-, or coal-fired), and served as whole-pie only. The only thing missing from semiserious pizza is the presence of a passionate pizzaiolo owner, someone who lives and dies with every pie.
That's my problem with Dean's. Dean's is actually pretty good pizza. It makes thin-crust Neapolitan pies and grandma pies, all with fresh mozzarella and decent canned tomatoes. It's certainly much better than the average New York slice joint (Dean's only sells whole pies, by the way), but it's not great, and the reason it's not great is that it's a concept, meant to be rolled out to multiple locations. It's faux great, or semiserious, like I said.
Related: Gael Greene on Dean's Pizzeria
Address: 215 West 85th Street, New York NY 10024 (UWS b/n Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.; map)
Address: 801 Second Avenue, New York NY 10017 (Midtown East b/n 42nd and 43rd streets; map)