Bad pizza in NYC

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billyboy
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2008/06/13 16:34:51 (permalink)

Bad pizza in NYC

My girlfriend and I went to see Shakespeare in the Park production of "Hamlet" the a couple of nights ago in the sweltering heat. An interesting adventure awaited us at the park. More on that in a bit. We had dinner at Arturo's at 106 West Houston Street NY, NY. Phone number 212-677-3820. No website. I had been wanting to try this place for a while as it is one of the few remaining coal-oven, whole pie only (no slices) places left in the city.
Sadly, I was not at all impressed with the food here. The service was great and our guy was right there when we needed him. We started out with a salad to share that had mixed lettuces, olives, tomatoes, carrots and roasted red peppers on it. I splashed some balsamic and olive oil on it and it was okay, but honestly, the lettuces and the vegetables looked a bit tired to me. Not the best salad I've ever had.
We also shared a small pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and roasted red peppers. Now, I don't usually judge my food on looks alone, but when he brought the pizza to our table, my immediate thought was, "I know I'm not going to like this pizza". It was too round, too neat, too uniform in shape. It reminded me of the perfectly round pizzas from the freezer section of the supermarket. The mozzarella (the dairy case variety, not fresh) was lackluster and I thought that the tomato sauce was flat tasting and slightly bitter. The roasted red peppers tasted as though they were pickled and had a somewhat vinegary tang to them that masked their sweetness. Despite all of this, the biggest disappointment was the crust. To give them SOME credit, it was blackened in spots on the bottom and the top and had some nice browned bubbles on top. The texture, however, was that of crispy, chewy cardboard. I had a pizza like this elsewhere before,and I just can't place it, but I didn't like it then and I don't like this one now. I turned down a second slice, an occurrence, that for me, happens as often as the appearance of Halley's Comet!! They do have pastas, seafood and meats on the menu, but I am not in any rush to return.


So....we made it to the Delacorte Theater (outdoors) in Central Park and the production of "Hamlet" was wonderful and going nicely, until we noticed the lightning flashes in the sky, heard the thunder and could see the leaves starting to swirl about the stage. Hamlet was delivering this very powerful speech and in the midst of it, the leaves started to surround him in a deafening maelstrom and he belted it out and gave that speech everything he had, at end of which, the audience gave him a standing ovation! Amazing! The next scene had four actors on a catwalk and they finally had to cancel the show as the winds were really picking up and it became too dangerous and alas, the show mustn't go on. As we walked through the park to the subway we saw huge branches laying about across walkways and benches. The winds were so powerful that they had ripped these things right off of the trees! We had no idea how severe it was until we had left the theater. A very powerful night, indeed!
#1

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    the ancient mariner
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/13 18:44:38 (permalink)
    A fun night in Little Old New York, Bill.
    I hope you have many of them.

    Your posts are always so interesting, thanks.
    #2
    NYPIzzaNut
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/13 23:21:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by billyboy

    My girlfriend and I went to see Shakespeare in the Park production of "Hamlet" the a couple of nights ago in the sweltering heat. An interesting adventure awaited us at the park. More on that in a bit. We had dinner at Arturo's at 106 West Houston Street NY, NY. Phone number 212-677-3820. No website. I had been wanting to try this place for a while as it is one of the few remaining coal-oven, whole pie only (no slices) places left in the city.
    Sadly, I was not at all impressed with the food here. The service was great and our guy was right there when we needed him. We started out with a salad to share that had mixed lettuces, olives, tomatoes, carrots and roasted red peppers on it. I splashed some balsamic and olive oil on it and it was okay, but honestly, the lettuces and the vegetables looked a bit tired to me. Not the best salad I've ever had.
    We also shared a small pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and roasted red peppers. Now, I don't usually judge my food on looks alone, but when he brought the pizza to our table, my immediate thought was, "I know I'm not going to like this pizza". It was too round, too neat, too uniform in shape. It reminded me of the perfectly round pizzas from the freezer section of the supermarket. The mozzarella (the dairy case variety, not fresh) was lackluster and I thought that the tomato sauce was flat tasting and slightly bitter. The roasted red peppers tasted as though they were pickled and had a somewhat vinegary tang to them that masked their sweetness. Despite all of this, the biggest disappointment was the crust. To give them SOME credit, it was blackened in spots on the bottom and the top and had some nice browned bubbles on top. The texture, however, was that of crispy, chewy cardboard. I had a pizza like this elsewhere before,and I just can't place it, but I didn't like it then and I don't like this one now. I turned down a second slice, an occurrence, that for me, happens as often as the appearance of Halley's Comet!! They do have pastas, seafood and meats on the menu, but I am not in any rush to return.


    So....we made it to the Delacorte Theater (outdoors) in Central Park and the production of "Hamlet" was wonderful and going nicely, until we noticed the lightning flashes in the sky, heard the thunder and could see the leaves starting to swirl about the stage. Hamlet was delivering this very powerful speech and in the midst of it, the leaves started to surround him in a deafening maelstrom and he belted it out and gave that speech everything he had, at end of which, the audience gave him a standing ovation! Amazing! The next scene had four actors on a catwalk and they finally had to cancel the show as the winds were really picking up and it became too dangerous and alas, the show mustn't go on. As we walked through the park to the subway we saw huge branches laying about across walkways and benches. The winds were so powerful that they had ripped these things right off of the trees! We had no idea how severe it was until we had left the theater. A very powerful night, indeed!
    It is hard to believe a joint who makes crappy pizza can survive in NYC - here in Southern Ohio though crappy pizza joints thrive - I guess Ohio natives do not know what real pizza is supposed to taste like, for the most part. I can count on one hand the good pizza joints in Cincinnati and Dayton OH.
    #3
    UncleVic
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/13 23:28:14 (permalink)
    I like the honesty of your report. There's good, and then there can be some bad. Glad you shared the info with us. Sorry to hear Hamlet got blown away.
    #4
    ken8038
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/16 13:05:16 (permalink)
    Sorry to hear about Arturo's. I haven't been there for years, but it was up among the best once upon a time. It sounds like your experience wasn't just on an off-night, but rather more like the norm these days.

    The storm arriving in Central Park reminds me of the Diana Ross debacle there years ago.
    #5
    Benzee
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/28 18:06:27 (permalink)
    Billyboy ,

    Good trip report as usual , fair and honest . Thanks for sharing .

    Benzee
    #6
    dannybotz
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/28 18:39:03 (permalink)
    Colameco actually did a show featuring Arturo's a couple of years ago and it looked awesome!! sorry to hear it's kinda lousy!!
    #7
    BT
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/29 19:52:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NYPIzzaNut
    It is hard to believe a joint who makes crappy pizza can survive in NYC


    In my experience, there are quite a few of them, many in the vicinity of Times Square where they are packed with tourists who don't venture more than a few blocks from there and think they are experiencing New York.
    #8
    Greymo
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/29 20:42:49 (permalink)
    Billyboy, what is your favorite pizza in NYC? We will be staying in Wayne NJ for a football camp for my grandson for 5 nights and going to drive into NYC (just for the day)for a hamburger at Luger's and a good pizza in evening. What do you suggest?
    #9
    leethebard
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/29 20:46:07 (permalink)
    Try one of the "Ray's" pizza places!
    #10
    Pigiron
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/29 23:05:50 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NYPIzzaNutIt is hard to believe a joint who makes crappy pizza can survive in NYC



    I would say that more than half of all places in NYC that have the word "Pizza" in their window are crap. Fortunately, it usually only takes a glance to rule them out. One great rule is that if pizza isn't their main focus, the pizza is probably going to suck.
    #11
    essemjay58
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/29 23:17:17 (permalink)
    I suggest Lombardi's, near Little Italy (what's left of it,) maybe at Bleeker and Bowery, I do remember it was just steps out of the subway, I think it's the green line, or maybe the red. It may be the ist pizza place in America.
    #12
    billyboy
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/06/30 04:37:10 (permalink)
    Greymo, I'm gonna go with Totonno's in Coney Island as my #1, then Lombardi's as my #2. I'm not sure how to drive to them or what the parking situations are like, but they are both reviewed here on RF, so there are links to maps. Lombardi's is on Spring Street in the Nolita(?) area and the 6 train (green) stop at Spring Street is the closest train. There was a Lombardi's on the same street that was credited as being the first to sell pizza in the U.S., but I'm not sure it's this one. Here is some more info that Bruce and Sue gave me in another thread:

    http://roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=23851 (Lombardi's delivery-Part 1)

    http://roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=24373 (Lombardi's delivery-Part 2)

    http://roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19836 (NYC/Brooklyn Pizza Tour that ellen4641 posted)

    I've never been to Grimaldi's, but I know a lot of Roadfooders swear by it. One note though, I think that many of the old school pizza places can be somewhat "hinky" with respect to hours of operation, so it's advisable to call ahead. Hope this helps. Happy Eating!
    #13
    MOC
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/01 20:58:22 (permalink)
    Sadly, there is no shartage of crappy pizza in NYC. Thankfully it also has absolutley the best too. There's no excuse to eat bad pizza in NYC! By the way, was at Totonno's in Coney Island Saturday and it really is teriffic! Don't know if it's still true, but one write-up on the wall claims theu make their own dough AND Mozzarella every day! Just love the old dresser in the corner they use as a waiter station too. Go before it's too late, places like that are close to extinct in NY.
    #14
    foobuc
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/01 22:40:34 (permalink)
    a fairly recent issue of the Wine Spectator had some info on pizza joints in parts of the US and a bunch in NYC.
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    leethebard
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/01 23:43:50 (permalink)
    What did it say? Can you give us a brief summary? I'm intetested!
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    Optimus
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/18 11:46:59 (permalink)
    I cant say i have ever had a terrible pizza in NYC. Maybe mediocre but never aweful. My vote for best is La Sorrentinas on 65th st and 11th ave in Brooklyn. It may be a bit of a distance from manhattan but its sooo good.
    #17
    Scorereader
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/18 13:45:46 (permalink)
    I'm one of those people who swears by Grimaldi's in Brooklyn Heights. When you're done, walk off your meal with awalk over the brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. You won't regret it.
    #18
    ellen4641
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/19 21:55:20 (permalink)
    Too many places have 10 pizzas sitting around...
    too many different kinds..
    Usually the only time I'll grab a slice is when it just came out of the oven. I like the places that just have few pizzas out.

    If the slice is not right out of the oven, one is better off getting the whole pie , IMO
    Pizza loses its' consistency when it sits around.
    #19
    NYNM
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/20 12:21:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    Try one of the "Ray's" pizza places!


    Just a comment for non-NYers. Each "Ray's" is different and not related to the other. My favorite is the Ray's on W. 11 & 6th. It is also the favorite of the staff from St. Vincent's Hopsital down the street and the students from PS41 across the street.
    #20
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/20 12:39:53 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ellen4641

    Too many places have 10 pizzas sitting around...
    too many different kinds..
    Usually the only time I'll grab a slice is when it just came out of the oven. I like the places that just have few pizzas out.

    If the slice is not right out of the oven, one is better off getting the whole pie , IMO
    Pizza loses its' consistency when it sits around.


    I only recall three choices at the stand-up "slice" shops when I was a kid in NYC: plain, pepperoni, and Sicilian. I can see where having a bunch around would lead to some stale slices.
    #21
    signman
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/07/20 13:39:50 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NYNM

    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    Try one of the "Ray's" pizza places!


    Just a comment for non-NYers. Each "Ray's" is different and not related to the other. My favorite is the Ray's on W. 11 & 6th. It is also the favorite of the staff from St. Vincent's Hopsital down the street and the students from PS41 across the street.


    And of signman.
    #22
    CCinNJ
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/08/17 20:25:07 (permalink)
    Sorry about your pizza experience. I cannot remeber the last AWESOME pizza experience I had, in the city. Took bull by horns, and learned to make my own. I thought it would be a MAJOR pain in the behind. No, it is fun.

    I remember that very same storm. Only a few miles from the city, usually get the same weather. I was parked under a tree, early in the evening. Decided to run to the store, for ice cream (which I usually never eat). Came home, of course parking spot was taken. Got another spot. Later, freaky 5-10 minute storm came. Lightening hit the tree where I had been parked. Most of the tree fell onto the car that was parked it that spot. Thank God for ice cream craving, that has NOTHING to do with pregnancy. I would rather get struck by lightening, at this age.
    #23
    HollyDolly
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    RE: Bad pizza in NYC 2008/08/19 15:38:09 (permalink)
    I'll have to ask my sister about pizza places.She works in NYC, but don't know how much pizza they eat at lunch time or otherwise.
    There is a great pizza place ,I think in Piermont,Ny where she lives.
    They deliver, and the pizza was awfully good.Heck it was even good cold.When I visited her,we did go into the city and visited ChinaTown, but never made it to Lombardi's.
    #24
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