I had a couple hours to kill today, so I hopped the Q to see for myself about Di Fara. I got there about 12:15. There were just a couple people in the place when I walked in, but was pretty packed by 12:45. I ordered a plain round pie. It was ready in about 30 minutes. Iíve read reviews of the place ranging from transcendental to awful. Was it transcendental, no, but it was very good, yes. It was a little on the greasy side, but that doesnít really bother me. I normally donít like hard cheese on my tomato pies, but I wanted to try it the way he makes it, and Iím glad I did. It may have been the first such pie that I really enjoyed. It really worked with the combination of cheeses on the pie. Iím a big basil fan as you know if you read my recent gripes about Frannyís, so Domís liberal addition of the herb was much appreciated. I also like the way he cuts it up and lets the pieces sprinkle over the pie. Iím normally a baked basil fan, but on this pie it really works fresh. Iíll have to try this at the Garage. Another thing I liked is how deliberate Dom was in everything he does. Itís a far cry from some random kid who doesnít give a damn about the pies heís making.
I did notice that every square, or rather rectangle, pie that came out while I was there was black around the edges. Iím glad I ordered the round Ė though I donít see myself ever ordering a square pie if there is a round available. And, the place did get pretty smoky a couple times when grease sloshed off a pie into the oven. Part of the atmosphere, I guess Ė literally and figuratively. I probably wonít go back, but I was not disappointed in my visit, and Iím glad I decided to go.
It so happened that Lombardiís was right on the way back to my hotel, so I stopped in for a margherita there too. Like Di Fara, it was also my first visit. This place thoughÖ all I really have to say about it is yuck. It was one of the worst pies Iíve eaten in a long time (granted I donít often put myself in a position to eat truly bad pies). But in the league of pies Iíve been eating recently, it places a solid dead last. It was dry, tough, and flat. There was not a single special thing about any of it. The crust had no flavor, and it defines bready pizza. This pizza was baked on bread Ė not pizza crust. If you told me it came out of the freezer section of the grocery store, I'd believe it. I donít know what they are thinking calling it Neapolitan pizza.
The best part of the Lombardiís visit was the two nice ladys I met. They had ordered a couple pies including a clam pie. I love a good clam pie, and wanted to taste it, but I couldnít justify ordering another pie. When I saw they had leftovers, I introduced myself and offered to buy a slice from them, and they most generously gave me a piece. Sadly it wasnít any better than the Margherita. Compared to Frannyís clam pie, it shouldnít even be called a clam pie. Again, just tough, dry, and flavorless. (I took a couple bites before I remembered to snap a picture. They didn't give me a half eaten piece.).