Author Topic: Johnny's Mt. Vernon Westchester NY  (Read 4509 times)

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Offline David

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Johnny's Mt. Vernon Westchester NY
« on: September 17, 2005, 04:37:31 AM »
Took a pit stop on my way to Stamford and decided to try Johnny's as it has been highly praised by fellow respected members.I was there at exactly noon and was in the company of about a dozen other diners.I ordered a regular plain  and asked for light cheese ,something I almost always do in American pizza parlours on my initial visit ,as I generally find the flavour of the tomatoes is drowned.As mentioned elsewhere it really isn't possible to see what's going on in the raised work area due to the prep table being so high.the only thing I can confirm is that the dough was hand stretched.It looked good going into the oven,and each one that came out released a cloud of steam as it was cut by the waitress.The Pizza initially reminded me of Pete & Eldas Pizza of Neptune NJ.just slightly thicker,and made without a pin.I'm not a fan of the wafer thin pies they produce as they are more reminiscent of a water biscuit cracker than pizza IMO,but I know people buy them by the bus load down the Shore,so they have a following.As the waitress sat the Pizza down i could see that it was a little well done for my taste (I'm a Neapolitan fan) but hoped that some tantalising flavors were trapped in that crust.My first instinct was to check the bottom and see the color,which was evenly charred and free of any excess flour.Sadly the flavour just wasn't to be found by me.The crust was dry,Dry,DRY.......The underside even had the taste and texture of  dough  that had sat on the bench a little to long after it had been stretched out and relaxed(Difficult to explain,but maybe you understand?) I had seen Varsanos pictures of his fine efforts and I suppose I was visually expecting somewhat similar offerings,but his appeared far superior.I couldn't detect any prominent taste that might suggest the use of a starter or anything that might enhance the flavour?This pizza couldn't hold a candle to Joe's on Bleeker St.I can only surmise that as they weren't so busy at lunchtime ,maybe everything was left a little too long.I've been a bit hesitant to write reviews on places I've visited as I know I would come across as over critical and  very "Blinker Visioned",but I have to say that I haven't had anything special in a while.(Including UPN recently-overcooked,bitter underside and at $16 + for a Marinara is a "not so funny" joke......I've realized my stupidity- I will not be going back)
It is very easy and comforting to write a glowing review,and get caught up in the hype (especially in PR driven New York),but I feel far too many places are riding along on totally undeserved reputations,and people are reluctant or don't have the confidence to tell it like it is?Johnny's was the "Best of Westchester '04".I hope you think I'm wrong and enjoy it.
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market


Offline scott r

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Re: Johnny's Mt. Vernon Westchester NY
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2005, 09:35:55 AM »
David, I think you might have had really bad luck at both UPN and Johnny's!  I too am really picky about pizza, and feel like you do almost everywhere I visit.  The time I visited Johnny's they used very little cheese in the first place, what I would consider to be the perfect "light" amount.  Since their pies are so very thin, I can see where an extra minute in the oven could ruin the whole pie.  I have a feeling that is what happened. I do agree with you though, about not tasting any culture in the dough.  To me the dough was very similar to Pepe's, but just thinner.

I know that I have mentioned it here more than once, but I was shocked at how on one visit to the Harlem Patsy's I got a perfectly executed the neo-american style pie, and on another visit I might as well been eating a piece of cardboard that someone had left in the bottom of their fireplace.

I must admit I feel a little guilty for talking up UPN and Johnny's here on the forum after reading about your experiences.  I think your best bet is to just head back to Naples!!!!!  Marco is not kidding, I could not believe the precision at which those pies were made.  This is in what I would consider to be the toughest conditions as well, an environment where mere seconds can make or break a pie.

Offline David

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Re: Johnny's Mt. Vernon Westchester NY
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2005, 11:03:36 AM »
Hey don't feel guilty Scott!If you enjoyed something then you should praise it.From your posts ,I can tell you have discerning taste and are not "Blinded by the Heat of the Ovens!"I similarly was exuberant about a Pizzeria in London (Napule) that I had enjoyed on more than one occasion,and Marco dismissed it as not really very good.The fact is IMO it is leaps and bounds ahead of anything I had had here at the time.I have had many pizzas at UPN prior to their opening in NY,and they have been inconsistent.Consistency is the hardest thing to obtain.That's why I'm hesitant to criticize.It's too easy for me to sit back and critique a guy with such obvious passion,especially when I do understand the myriad of pitfalls in producing a pizza,but on the other hand you and I ,as well as many others know that it can be better.The fact that there are hundreds of Forno Legna being used in Naples alone successfully tells me that though tempermental and trying,it's not beyond the realms to expect better (at any price).You recognized the consistency in Italy.I am no longer willing nor able to pay a premium price for a product that I'm uncertain about.I trust the comment reputedly made by Chris Bianco regarding only about 10% of his pies being perfect on any given night.Come to think of it,99% of the reviews I've read about his place have been outstanding,Culinary Awards bestowed and his place has become a benchmark.I think that either Chis Bianco with his seemingly high standards is the only guy who knows what to really expect out of his oven,or that the majority really don't care that much?
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Johnny's Mt. Vernon Westchester NY
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2005, 01:26:35 PM »
I trust the comment reputedly made by Chris Bianco regarding only about 10% of his pies being perfect on any given night.

David,

Actually, he said only 3% were perfect (6 pies out of 200). Talk about being a tough judge! I wish he'd send me his rejects  ;D

Bill/SFNM


Offline David

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Re: Johnny's Mt. Vernon Westchester NY
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2005, 02:17:40 PM »
Thanks for the correction Bill. ;)
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline varasano

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Re: Johnny's Mt. Vernon Westchester NY
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2005, 12:59:17 PM »
Hey Guys,

Sorry you didn't like it.  It is a very different pie from patsy's or most others. But I still rank it in my top 2.

Jeff

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Johnny's Mt. Vernon Westchester NY
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2005, 07:27:23 PM »
I agree with David . Consistency must be the priority when charging customers high price. I once read a review of a very important food critic about a new restaurant. She basically demolished the place with one review. The following day the celebrity chef of the place was being interviewed on a TV show, where both the food critic and the chef were guest, and he said that the critic had been to harsh with him as he had just open and needed time to settle. Her reply was fantastic: " I did not see the price on the menu being "introductory" so if you charge full price, you better being delivering outstanding food"

I also understand that working with pizza there are too many variables at stake, and once in while a pizza cannot turn perfect. I have to say that for example I had 2 pizza below expectation (still better then the average) at Da Michele in 10 years eating at the place. both times I could recognized where things went wrong (once was due to too much flour on the bench and the second the pizza was left for too long in the oven (maybe 10-15 seconds too long).
Still this must be the exception, I would not talk about inconsistency... but if out of 10 people, 4 have bad experience, then there is a strong case for inconsistency.