Emmett's, a three-month-old South Village tavern, has everything a local pub could need. There's a cozy room, a surprisingly good wine and beer list, and tastefully eclectic decor that skirts TGI Friday's kitsch. It has two problems: food that is not very good and a long queue of prospective diners who think that it is.
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The five boroughs are dotted with numerous cuisine-unspecific kosher restaurants, serving everything from shawarma to pizza to sushi, all rabbinically approved for Orthodox Jewish consumption. Benjy's Kosher Pizza Dairy Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Flushing is one notable example. According to the restaurant's extended name, a woman I spoke to while having lunch there, and this blog post (picked up by Gothamist), the pizza is the thing to order at Benjy's. And having read that post, there was no way I'd be ordering anything other than the Falafel Pizza.
Don't get me wrong; I like a little kick, but this was a steel-toed boot being jammed straight up my taste buds. When I can still residually taste a pizza six hours and three tooth-brushings later, it's "too much."Suffice it to say, Slice & Pint is still—almost four months in—definitely a work in progress.
On a Monday night not long ago, I popped into Via Tribunali New York, the sole East Coast outpost of the Seattle-born pizza chain. My companion and I were taken into the dining room (about the size of a rich man's tool shed), and seated under a picture of the Bay of Naples. The vista depicted the Naples of a bygone era—a nostalgic vision of the old country.
Zagat recently named Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach one of the highest-rated pizzeria in the country. We went to see how it stacked up and ended up wondering: Is this new rash of best-of lists hurting or helping the promotion of truly great pizza?
"I've always had strange ideas for pizza, but the rule is to always make the pizza make sense. Any a*****e can take a dish and basically just slap it on dough and call it pizza. But it's not that easy. It's texture, it's balance, and it should always be fun. If pizza isn't fun, it's lost its way."
There's a cheese pizza that's delicious in its simplicity, but others showcase some spectacular and cheffy toppings. Ron Eyester may be "The Angry Chef," but what he's doing at Timone's should make pizza fanatics quite happy.
In a neighborhood with lots of solid pizza but little that's exceptional, a place that makes destination-worthy pies remains Astoria's golden unicorn. Though Basil Brick Oven is a go-to spot for Neapolitan pizza in the neighborhood, the market's gotten more crowded lately, wood burning ovens and all.
One of the most recent additions to the Ditmas Park food scene is Wheated, the new pizzeria from husband and wife team David Sheridan and Kim McAdam. First time restaurateur David is probably familiar to some of you—Adam interviewed him back in 2010 about the WFO he built in his backyard, and he's worked at Paulie Gee's.
Located in an imposing limestone faced Palladian style building, Bottega actually houses two restaurants. One offers a more sophisticated evening experience, and the other is a casual cafe featuring wood-fired pizzas. Socializing and drinks were the reason for most of my cafe visits, and I never quite bonded with the pizza. They were Zagat's recent pick for the "50 States, 50 Pizzas" guide, which was a reminder to give them another look.
At Ribalta, pizzas are leavened by a natural starter that was brought back from Italy—it's somewhere between 80 and 100 years old, and over the course of a five to seven day rise it brings a noticeable lightness and cultured flavor to the dough. But unlike certain Neapolitan pizzerias that take a monastic approach to the One and Only pie, Ribalta plays around with tradition—just ask the hot dog and fries pizza or the limoncello-marinated chicken wings.
Fresh, interesting toppings make for an enjoyable pizza experience at Bufad; the summery Pomodori is a highlight of the season.
When Amici's East Coast Pizzeria opened up in 1987, some Bay Area residents felt like they had been rescued from pizza purgatory. We went to one of the thirteen locations of this mini-chain to see if the pies still play that well.