This past weekend I went on a self-guided pizza tour with my dad and my cousin as part of my dad's birthday visit to New York. We hit up three pizza joints--Di Fara, Joe's, and Patsy's--as well as Cones, everyone's favorite gellateria. What follows is a review of the pizza eating extraveganza.
After meeting up at the 7th Ave Q train stop, my dad, Jeremy, and I took the subway down to Avenue J. Around 12:30 we arrived at Di Fara, where Domenico DeMarco was already hard at work making pizza. Lucky for us the line was only a couple of people long, so the wait for our slices was maybe fifteen minutes (a far cry from the hour I spent waiting the last time). I downed a slice of regular and a slice of pepperoni with an IBC root beer while my dad and Jeremy each took on a slice of regular and pepperoni, respectively. While the crust was so thin that it practically disintigrated under the weight of the combination of cheeses, and the pizza was so hot from the oven, it was difficult to keep the cheese from sliding off of the slices, the flavor was outstanding--their pepperoni is still the best I've ever had. The three cheeses--buffalo mozzarella, fior di latte (regular mozzarella made from cow's milk, which according to Italian regulations cannot be called mozzarella), and parmesean--were all freshly sliced and grated onto the pizza as it was being made.
From there we made an attempt to patronize Una Pizza Napoletana, but it was closed. So we hit up our backup--Joe's Pizza, which is the quintessential New York slice--big and greasy, with a crispy thin crust. As always, though, the edge crust was very dry. It seems that in order to cook the underside to perfection, the edge suffers.
After Joe's we took a break from our pizza consumption for a trip to Cones where we relaxed at a table in the air conditioning savoring our chosen sorbet or gelatto flavors. (I recommend the dulce de leche gelatto and the blackberry sorbet.)
Our last stop, after a bit of confusion as to its location, was the original Patsy's on 118th and 1st. We split a pizza with basil. Apparently at this Patsy's (the original, established in 1933), the fresh mozzarella is an extra three bucks. We settled for the aged (what gives pizza its yellow-ish color), which was nice and evenly distributed. The crust, like that at Di Fara, was incredibly thin and nicely charred, but the grease soaked through leaving it a little on the limp side. All in all though, not bad. Though the pizza's I've had at the Patsy's on University and 11th are better. They always use fresh mozzarella, and instead of baking the basil on the pizza, they use uncooked leaves, which are more potent.
A poll taken at the end declared Di Fara the best pizza of the day--incredibly flavorful, with it's fresh ingredients. And, of course, the experience of watching DeMarco making the pies is unlike any other. It's pizza with character.