Continuing from my omakase thread, I am also planning for a pizza lunch for the birthday. Yeah I know, pizza for birthday? But I love that stuff, and it makes me happy. So, pizza it is.
I don’t normally get to ‘travel for pizza’ so some of these are not as familiar to me. On that day though, distance is no issue as long as the pie is awesome. Style of pizza is of no concern as long as the pie is great. So whether the pizza is neapolitan or any other style is of no concern so long the pie is super.
You say that “style of pizza is of no concern”, but in a city like NY there are so many good pizza options that style preference is often a good way to narrow down choices. I am not familiar with Nonna’s pizza, so I can’t speak to that. I think Motorino is a very good local version of Roman-style pizza- at least, it was on the three or four occasions that I ate there several years ago. I even brought some visiting Italians there when they needed a pizza fix and they were very happy (and happily surprised). Totonno’s is more old-fashioned NY-style than it is European. Of the few classic NY whole-pie coal-oven pizzerias that are left (John’s, Lombardi, Grimaldi, Arturo), Totonno is arguably the best.
I am not really a fan of Paulie Gee’s pizza, nor do I appreciate his “schtick”. A lot of smoke, very little fire. I do like the way the char the crust, but other than that I was underwhelmed. If you want a good, innovative, Neapolitan-style pizza (and you really want to go to Brooklyn), go with Roberta’s. But be aware of crowds and time restraints. If you want a good Neapolitan style pizza made by Neapolitans in Manhattan, Ribalta is excellent.
Of course, if it were my birthday lunch, I’d be eating at DiFara Buon Appetito!
If it’s a weekend brace yourself for megaline at Paulie Gee… (I really love their pizza regardless of circumstances but dunno that i want to spend two hours on my bday while visiting in line…)
Love Motorino- also very busy weekends but managable, nice to sit at a proper table and they have a decent BTG wine selection too
Actually to clarify when I said style of pizza is of no concern, its not that I have no preference. I am actually quite fond of the Neapolitan style pizza ,which the Di Fara pies are a hybrid of (I think they use 00 and high gluten flour, and pies are cross between Neapoiltan and NY). What i meant is that other pie style, e.g. Roman, when great its also highly enjoyable. So I am trying to narrow down to the best of each style and then go from there.
Pies are all I care- I’d rather prefer a masterpiece of a pizzaiolo than worry about the overall strength of the kitchen…
OK! My contribution really doesn’t change. I would just add that of these, Ribalta is probably the most physically comfortable and will have the least probability of a wait. But, if it were strictly a pizza-based decision, and it didn’t have to be ‘authentic Italian’, I’d go with Totonno for a fun birthday lunch. You can’t lose with any of these, though. Have a happy (and delicious) birthday.
I went to a birthday dinner a few months ago at the original Patsy’s in East Harlem and had a very good time. Of course their plain pizza is great (it was actually better than I remembered from previous visits, as they sometimes charred their crust to the point of carbonized bitterness), and what surprised me was that their appetizers and sides were very good.