Grimaldi's - Highlands NJ
Over the past several years I've made 3 or 4 attempts to eat at Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn, but it was always too long a line, or we couldn't find parking, or just plain aggravation. There's so much good pizza in Brooklyn it was never a big deal to get there, and each time we'd just go somewhere else.
Anyway, My wife was in Texas recently visiting her sister, and came home raving about the Grimaldi's outpost in Allen Texas (she knows pizza, she's from Brooklyn like me). On Sunday we decided to take the easy way out and go to the recently opened branch in the quaint old town of Highlands NJ, along the north bayshore.
Very very good. First of all, we got there at about 4PM it was not crowded at all, and with plenty of parking. At first I was a little taken aback by the prices, which were quite a lot steeper than our favorite in that area, Denino's in Aberdeen. But these pizzas were huge, 18 inches according to the menu. We got a sausage pizza and a plain pizza (no we didn't finish it all, there's enough left for dinner tonight). Both were excellent, sort of in-between thick and thin crust (call it medium), great sauce, nicely charred crust, and quality cheese. Perhaps the crust was just a little less crisp than I'd like, but that was the only negative I could think of.
They also had a reasonbly priced wine list, and my wife spotted a wine she had in Texas, Antinori Santa Cristina Sangiovese, so we went for it. Hit the spot, dry, earthy, just the way we like it. $20, about 2x retail, which is a fair markup. We also shared a nice large Italian salad ($9, with enough left for tonight).
The total bill with tip came to around $80 (cash only BTW, my wife had to spot me $20, or else it was down the street to the cash machine). So it wasn't cheap, but it's a nice place, good service, excellent pizza, nice ambiance. We'll be back.
A little woozy from the afternoon wine and a full meal, we took a nice long walk in Highlands along the Bayshore Park area by the water before the 45 minute drive home. A day well spent. http://www.grimaldis.net/