Author Topic: donatella's pizza  (Read 3008 times)

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Offline thezaman

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donatella's pizza
« on: December 18, 2010, 12:15:40 AM »
 my last visit to new york also included a visit to donatella's pizza . my son and i went at lunch, as they were just opening we sat down  and ordered a meat ball sandwich to split while the oven was getting to proper temperature. they were baked in a puffed pizza dough , the meat balls were made out of veal topped with sauce, smoked buffalo mozzarella,arugula, pecorino, and chili oil. it was a delicious sandwich, a lot of strong flavors that we both really enjoyed.
 the oven was hot so we ordered a margherita , it was made with buffalo mozzarella, pecorino, basil, and san marzano tomatoes. it was a good pizza the base was very tender and seemed to be made with less dough than i am use to.  the corniccione didn't have the puff of motorino or keste, it seemed like a different method was taught to the pizzaiolo by enzo . [this method in on the wood stone oven site]. it is a lower hydration dough, that may be the difference in texture and amount of rise. the pizzaiolo spent three months in italy learning, he stated that he cooks the pizzas 15 second longer than he was taught to meet the american customers tastes.
 the pizza in my opinion needed more basil only one little leaf was on the pie, and it had to much grated cheese which hid the buffalo mozz .a margherita needs one or the other since the tomato sauce is so plain, i prefer more basil.  the restaurant is beautiful and they have a full menu that looks really good i will return to try some pasta with my margherita as an appetizer. after we finished and decided to walk off lunch we found co. which is  only a block away , next trip i will try that. enclosed are some pics i included my half of the sandwich minus a nibble.


Offline Tscarborough

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2010, 12:19:10 AM »
I know that looks do not really impact taste, but that is a pretty sad looking pizza.

Edit-I am not a picky restaurant type person, but I would have sent that back for a re-do.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2010, 12:21:28 AM by Tscarborough »

Offline thezaman

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2010, 08:42:29 AM »
  we  sat by the oven ,they all looked like that.

Offline Matthew

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2010, 08:44:21 AM »
  we  sat by the oven ,they all looked like that.

Larry,
You should of jumped behind the counter & shown them how it's done. ;)

Matt


Offline thezaman

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2010, 11:01:52 AM »
 look what slice went first, my son being younger and quicker snatched it. after he saw the disappointment in my face he gave me the only basil leaf.

Offline gtsum2

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2010, 10:02:25 PM »
hmm...I would have expected the pie to look a little different then that????  The meatball sammie sounds great though!

Offline chickenparm

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2010, 01:10:35 AM »
Wow,that Pizza does look pretty bad in the pics.It looks flat and not much spring,and even the shape looks like a poorly constructed dough crust.

This Pizzaiolo spent 3 months in Italy to learn??Chau,TSC, and others make way better looking pies than this..and they did it in America.
 :angel:
Then Pizzaiolo says he cooks it 15 seconds longer to suit american tastes...how many people did they poll in America and taste test for that skill?That is just a load of BS they fed you.Maybe 16 or 21 seconds longer could have been better? See what I mean?
 :-D
I also despise the amount of grated cheese some places use.I once went to a pizza place and specifically told the Waiter,I wanted no grated cheese on my pizza,just give it to me on the side.He said no problem.

I got my pizza and it was loaded with grated cheese and I had to send it back.

Do not get me wrong,I like grated cheese,but it does not need nor belong in a heaping amount on top of a Pizza.Its too overpowering,sort of like green peppers are.Add a bit too much and the entire meal tastes only like the grated cheese or the green pepper.

thezaman,I was not trying to insult you or your post...If It seems as if I did,I apologize...I feel as if they insulted you at Donatella's,by what you described and the pics...I have a problem with what you were told and sold.Thats all.You did nothing wrong,and just showed us something through words and pictures.

At least your meatball sandwich was good!
 :)






-Bill

Offline thezaman

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2010, 10:39:11 AM »
 chickenparm, i do not take offense . i know that it takes a lot of time to become good at making and baking neapolitan pizza.i wasn't upset by the pizza and gladly paid my bill . i personally would not be happy selling a pizza like i was served, and if it doesn't satisfy me i just will not return. that is as far as i go with my complaint.  i do not think the pizzaiolo was feeding me any bs it is probably true that in Naples they eat their pizza on the wetter side.that oblong pizza thing is the fault of the cook not using a good  technique when he places the pizza in the oven. the dough may have been fresh given the early visit and that is why it had little rise . those are all issues that the restaurant has to work out, hopefully they can recognize their shortcomings and correct them. lots of great places to eat in new york if you cannot connect with a place you move on.

Offline PizzaPolice

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2010, 01:21:03 PM »
Hey Za:

I appreciate your post and review.  To see a "warts and all" experience from a place such as hers, is alarming.
With all the fanfare preceding the arrival of the built on site by the master himself, it was a setup for failure.  Plain, commoner Walk-Ins have expectations of Pizza Nirvana.  The hype and gold leaf assures it.  Looking at the pizza, its quite apparent that the oven was not at fault.  If it was a first bake, the operator should have stood over it to insure success.  Every oven has a personality and it changes throughout the baking day/night.  I may be wrong (again) but it seems the main ingredient, PASSION, was omitted. Ten bucks says Paulie Gee would not have served that.  You can't expect return business if you subscribe to the cat in the litter box.  Covering up your mistakes with glib talk doesn't get it.  I would have made it my business to guarantee that dough was up to temperature.
To me, it didn't look horrible.  Sometimes they land bad.  They still eat good. 


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2010, 01:34:15 PM »
The pizza looks like the typical traditional neapolitan, which does not really emphasize a puffy rim. Not surprising since Enzo trained the staff. But it also looks very anemic - probably a short dough in an oven that was not yet up to the correct temp. Below are some shots from the Slice review of the place in October. The pizza still does not have much of a rim, but looks alot more lively.

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/10/donatellas-pizzeria-chelsea-manhattan-nyc-pizza-review-slideshow.html#show-115774

John

Offline PizzaPolice

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2010, 01:36:31 PM »
It looks like one of yours, John.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2010, 02:51:00 PM »
Thezaman, what a nicely written yet honest review and what a gentleman you are.  Pizza Police my first reaction was similar in that it was likely the first pie out and the oven wasn't hot enough, but thezaman says he sat by the oven and they all came out looking like that. 

I think even for VPN standard NP pies, there can be a variation of how the pies look.  True that even an anemic looking pie can taste great, but pictures are worth 1000 words and can tell us a lot.  If they are interested in tailoring their pizza to the American palate, it could be a double edged sword.   When I was at POMO in AZ, I was told a similar tale.  Pies were stretched thinner from 12" to 15" and baked a bit longer to please the American taste.  I think this is a mistake.  Doing so dried the pies out.  If you want a thicker rim or bigger pie, with slight crunchiness to the crust, you have to tailor a recipe towards those goals. You simply can not take a VPN standard dough and turn it into something else.  If this is what they are doing, then it's a lack of understanding and passion (as PP put it) on the part of the pizzaiolo. 

Also who puts 1 basil leaf on a pie.  Come on - really.   Don't tease me with the basil.  Either give me basil or do not but let's not play games here. 

This also shows that one can have the best oven in the world, the best training available, but if one lacks understanding or passion for the art, then the magic isn't going to be there. 

I agree with others, that from what I can see, Thezaman makes a much better pie. 

Chau
« Last Edit: December 19, 2010, 04:37:40 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2010, 03:59:11 PM »
Tran Man, you're right on, ovens don't make pizzas, a person does. He just uses the oven as a tool. I had mentioned in regards to the article on SLICE, that with all the fanfare Donatella's pizza better be great, anything less would be disappointing. Looks like a disappointment to me.
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

Offline Essen1

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2010, 04:06:52 PM »
The pizza looks like the typical traditional neapolitan, which does not really emphasize a puffy rim. Not surprising since Enzo trained the staff. But it also looks very anemic - probably a short dough in an oven that was not yet up to the correct temp. Below are some shots from the Slice review of the place in October. The pizza still does not have much of a rim, but looks alot more lively.

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/10/donatellas-pizzeria-chelsea-manhattan-nyc-pizza-review-slideshow.html#show-115774

John

I would have to agree with John's statement that the oven might not have been up to full temperature.

Here's an explanation why Donatella's actually cooks them a bit longer:

Quote
“So many people complained, we’re cooking them ten seconds longer,” she explains. Fifty-five seconds instead of the forty-five it took to turn out the soft doughy rounds in the sparkly gold tiled oven she had an Italian master build on site.

I like the Zaman's review, it's a very fair one. The one basil leaf is a bit odd but who knows if that is the standard. However, I wouldn't dismiss a place in just one visit. I think every restaurant deserves at least a follow-up visit together with a more thorough evaluation and assessment the second time around. Most food critics seem to do it that way, too.

I recently came across a review on Yelp from a woman about a new pizza place that opened up here in SF not too long ago. She ripped the place because there was no ice in the water. Not one word about the food and she gave it one star. Just because of the ice.

Point is, maybe they had an off night. It's all possible.

Here's a pic of a Donatella pie that looks pretty good to me, but still not a whole lot of basil... :)

Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2010, 04:36:36 PM »
The oven is sufficiently hot if it's baking pies in 1-2min.   If the pies aren't coming out right then it's an issue with the dough, the handling of the dough, or the baking of the pie itself.  Great pies can even be made in the 3min range.  It may not display as intense leoparding or char marks, but the puffiness and texture should be there if the dough is right.  But I agree, we all have off days and perhaps a 2nd visit is inorder.

Also the members here and perhaps NP pizza enthusiasts are more discerning and demanding.  These pies I'm sure would be well recieved my the majority of the public.   And as thezaman says, it was still a good pie. 

Mike, did you ever get a chance to check out AM's place?

Chau

« Last Edit: December 19, 2010, 04:48:10 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Essen1

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2010, 04:53:02 PM »

Mike, did you ever get a chance to check out AM's place?

Chau



Chau,

Unfortunately, not yet.

Our Christmas business has been keeping me very busy. I haven't had a chance to head down there. It's on my list for 2011, together with Zero Zero, when things are back to normal.

Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2010, 05:09:13 PM »
The reality is that for the GP, restaurants usually only get one shot at it.  That is the hell of running a food service establishment.  One bad day can ruin you, and the bigger the reputation, the greater the expectation (see Schlitz beer for a case study).


Offline thezaman

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2010, 08:39:51 PM »
  most of the group has probably seen this it is enzos instruction on the wood stone oven site http://www.woodstone-corp.com/cooking_naples_style_dough.htm

Offline thezaman

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2010, 08:42:30 PM »
  notice on page two the single basil leaf , it may be part of his method . i read somewhere that the basil in naples is very strong so they use it sparingly .

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2010, 09:07:51 PM »

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: donatella's pizza
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2010, 07:56:50 PM »
That pizza does look a little sad, but if it opened up here in LA I would be there in a heartbeat. The problem here is that's in a place that has much better choices.