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Vezzo: Three Strikes and You're Out!
"I don't get why Vezzo is so popular just like I don't get why some people spend their Saturday nights at one of those souped-up frat houses on Third Avenue."
Every neighborhood in Manhattan has its pros and cons. It's probably true that a lot of West Villagers would say they have nothing to complain about. But, then again, they still have to deal with the fact that Bleecker Street Pizza sits on Seventh Avenue South. Snap! You could argue that some 'hoods have more pros than cons when matching one up against another, but I guess there's an upside and downside to living anywhere in the city. I mean, take my 'hood, Murray Hill, for instance. You could certainly say the place is a toolbox, given the type of crowd that frequents the Third Avenue watering holes. But, its residents also have the benefit of three strong pizza delivery places (Totonno's, Pizza 33, and Libretto's) that allows me to see past some of Murray Hill's shortcomings.
So why am I getting greedy and trying to find a fourth? Why did I insist on trying Vezzo a third time this past weekend, knowing that I had been disappointed on my first two orders? Is it the consistently strong crowds it draws, making me wonder if I've missed something? Is it the flack I took after my first post on Vezzo was critical of the place? Should I feel bad about that (I'll answer that one now—F NO!)? Was it the promising crisp crust that maybe just needed to be topped with higher quality ingredients? These are all viable questions, but here's the most important inquiry: Is Vezzo back in BUBBLE TROUBLE? Let's find out.
Hoops and Pies
It was rainy and wet in the city last Saturday, and considering that it was also the final weekend of college basketball's regular season, it was a safe bet I'd be ordering in and watching the Beasts of the Big East battle it out. (Quick sidenote—the 'Cuse: in or out?) In the past two weeks, I had ordered pies from the Beasts of Murray Hill (Totonno's, 33, and LIbretto's), but I was still in the mood for pizza on this dreary Saturday afternoon. Don't act surprised now! Despite not really caring for the two plain pies I had from Vezzo in the past year, I thought maybe I should try something different before I completely wrote the place off.
Not every pizzeria's speciality is its plain pie or Margherita, and Vezzo always seemed like a nontraditional pizzeria to me, so why not try something else? I hit Vezzo's website and noticed it had three different sauces available: regular pizza sauce, pesto, and extra-virgin olive oil. I opted for a small pesto pie with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, and green peppers. I also ordered ricotta-filled ravioli with Vezzo's "homemade" pomodoro sauce. That dish came with garlic bread. I added a chocolate chip cookie for good measure. I know, I'm on my way to the gym when I'm finished writing this article! Hey, gotta keep the figure tight for all the Lady Bubbles out there! Where you at LBs? My tubby tummy, that's where! Bad joke, I know....
I receive my order only 20 minutes after calling it in, which is an impressive delivery time for this neighborhood but, unfortunately, that was the best part of my last dining experience with Vezzo.
The pizza looked OK, and the crust was still nice and crisp, but the chicken was dry and Vezzo apparently uses the term "caramelized onions" as code for "stale skins of a Vidalia." The pesto sauce was way too thick but had a decent kick to it. Like the other pizzas I've ordered from Vezzo, this pie was also a disappointment and, although it was a small pie and I normally house pizzas like it's my job (which, it technically kinda is), I left two slices sitting in the box. Enough said.
The ravioli certainly didn't help Vezzo's cause. The base of its homemade pomodoro sauce was as thin as the pesto sauce was thick, and very runny. What made matters worse was the sliced onions, garlic, and tomatoes added to thicken the sauce up. Dude, that stuff isn't sauce, it's a suspect broth with some stale vegetables thrown in. Now, hear me on this, Sliceheads: I don't have anything against restaurants trying to do something different from the status quo. My only suggestion would be that, if you're going to deviate from a standard red sauce, use high-quality ingredients and come correct. Vezzo, much to my chagrin, did neither.
The sorriest part of the whole damn thing was that the garlic bread was the best part of the meal (pretty hard to F that up!). Even the cookie was bootleg! What is it that keeps drawing so many Murray Hillers out to Vezzo? I guess I just don't get it. But that might be my answer right there—I don't get why Vezzo is so popular just like I don't get why some people spend their Saturday nights at one of those souped-up frat houses on Third Avenue.
You know, come to think of it, maybe Bleecker Street Pizza isn't so bad after all. West Village, you got room for one more?
Address: 178 Lexington Avenue, New York NY
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