Author Topic: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White  (Read 3958 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Offline thezaman

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2012, 08:38:08 AM »
yes, they got blasted. they feel that the times and the other reviewers should have given them more time before they came in. pizza is not as easy as one might think to perfect. i have not yet tried the pizza so i cannot comment on it. one of the reviews called osteria morini fair at best,i can say that was very unfair.their food is a wonderful interpretation of the cooking of the Emilia-Romagna region of italy.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2012, 05:42:27 PM »
“The crust is as strong as epoxy… an abundance of toppings that would buckle an ordinary pie… resembles the September issue of Vogue…

… emphasizes gut-stretching abundance over flavor…  watery shredded zucchini were completely engulfed by an ankle-deep carpet of melted mozzarella. It was a vegetable pizza for people who hate vegetables… undercooked Nueske’s bacon … bleak expanse of starch …

… that great shelf of crust deadens the taste of any ingredient that gets near it...

Mr. White has said he engineered the dough to stand up to the rigors of delivery and reheating with no loss of quality. In that, at least, he has succeeded. Warmed up a day or two later, a Nicoletta crust is just as stiff and bland as when it was fresh from the oven.”


Ouch.

I thought the last line was the most insightful with respect to celebrity chefs that think they need to get into pizza.

"it must have been tempting to think that great pizza would materialize on command. So far, it hasn’t worked out that way."

It's interesting how often hyper-successful chef's fall flat on their face when they tackle pizza.

Pizza is not bread.

Offline TXCraig1

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Pizza is not bread.

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2012, 06:13:08 PM »
The review in the NYT links to a Chowhound discussion I've been participating in:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/854725

I was a bit surprised he used an anonymous discussion forum post as a news source.  What would Will McAvoy say?  ;D

Sketchy journalism practices aside, here's what I posted to Chowhound in response to this review:

Quote
Frank Bruni, on Keste, in 2009:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/din...

"I got almost no pleasure from the soggy pies at Kesté — including one with sausage that could have come from a Jimmy Dean’s freezer package"

I point this out as an example of food critics not always being the best pizza critics, especially when it comes to pizza that's outside the norm (and Nicoletta is WAY outside the norm).

I'm still waiting for a well known pizza aficionado (like Adam Kuban) to review Nicoletta. Until then, I continue to be realistically hopeful, regardless of what Wells has to say.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2012, 06:15:02 PM »
It's interesting how often hyper-successful chef's fall flat on their face when they tackle pizza.

And funny (even though I have no idea who this guy is).

Offline thezaman

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 01:53:18 PM »
great discussion. as you may or may not know my son is a employee of Michael white. one thing about the man he he is a very passionate chef. he is also very good to his employees, and allows creativity. chef white is very customer friendly,and defiantly doesn't have the celebrity chef mentality .
 because of my current work schedule i have not been able to visit za junior or  pizzeria nicoletta. i have talked in depth about what they are doing, and they will tweak till they get it right. i have seen pizzas from their testing that looked great,nice open crumb,beautiful browning. the problem is the method has to be done the same by everyone. the reviewer  mentioned otto a Mario batalli pizzeria and how it took them some time to perfect their pizza.i think nicoletta is a lot closer than otto was at the same time period. enclosed are two pictures of test pies. the one with chef white uses a pan and would be the style of pizza we make at lorenzo's.i would have a hard time finding a pizza in new york that satisfies me like the Cleveland style of pizza i was raised on. adam's pizza cognitive theory, the exception being Neapolitan pizza which i absolutely love!!
 i am planning a visit to ny beginning of September and am inviting any pm.com members to join me for a night at nicoletta's

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 02:32:50 PM »
Larry, if his Cleveland inspired pizza is half as good as yours, then he should have no problem filling the seats.

I'm curious, how's business at Nicoletta?  I'm guessing it's pretty good, right?

Offline Pappy

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 02:55:29 PM »
Quote
yes, they got blasted. they feel that the times and the other reviewers should have given them more time before they came in. pizza is not as easy as one might think to perfect.

I have not eaten at Nicoletta, or any of Mr. White's other restaurants, but I do know that the time to experiment with your recipes is before you open.  They should be blasted, for opening without perfecting their pizza, and taking money from patrons who just want to eat a decent pie.  If Mr. White wants to change his recipe every day while he is open, he should give the pies away.

Operational glitches are acceptable after the first few weeks of a restaurant's opening; basic competence is not. 

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2012, 03:18:24 PM »
they feel that the times and the other reviewers should have given them more time before they came in. pizza is not as easy as one might think to perfect.  

Seriously? They acknowledged opening with a sub-par product and the intention of perfecting it later?

Pizza is not bread.


Offline weemis

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2012, 03:54:37 PM »
I have not eaten at Nicoletta, or any of Mr. White's other restaurants, but I do know that the time to experiment with your recipes is before you open.  They should be blasted, for opening without perfecting their pizza, and taking money from patrons who just want to eat a decent pie.  If Mr. White wants to change his recipe every day while he is open, he should give the pies away.

Operational glitches are acceptable after the first few weeks of a restaurant's opening; basic competence is not. 

i agree. It's like pizza was the afterthought to brand expansion.
Nick Gore - just a dough eyed wanderer

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2012, 03:58:34 PM »
Seriously? They acknowledged opening with a sub-par product and the intention of perfecting it later?

Um, yeah, that's kind of like admitting you have no idea what you're doing, or admitting you're a total beginner (which is exactly how I see almost every chef when it comes to making pizza).

If I was able to open a pizzeria, even if it was equipped with an oven I've never tried (which I wouldn't do), I could get a pretty good grasp of how to crank out a consistently fantastic product after baking 10 or fewer pizzas because I already know what I'm doing when I make pizza, and consequently I know how to adapt to equipment I've never used. Just like you guys. And I could teach my staff (who absolutely would not be called chefs) just about everything they need to know probably in a day or two. I'm not being arrogant by saying that; I'm just being realistic.

That would be called training, and it would happen before any customer ever enters the place. In fact, it would present a fantastic opportunity to attract loyal customers before you even open because you could give the training pies to people walking by. And you know what that does? It creates enthusiam about the pizzeria among the community and it makes people feel an obligation to return the favor by becoming a customer. And a bunch of other good stuff that this guy apparently never considered.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 04:03:54 PM by AimlessRyan »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2012, 04:11:21 PM »
i agree. It's like pizza was the afterthought to brand expansion.
Why didn't they just get za-junior's dad in there for a couple of days?....Sheesh!!   ::)
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Offline thezaman

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2012, 04:13:39 PM »
Trying something different in a market with a strong allegiance to a certain type of pizza is always going to be hard. They have to find a group of consumers that like and will pay for what they are doing. Look at the Neapolitan pizzerias. They do well because their are enough people in ny that like their style of pizza. . They are not doing Cleveland pizza they a doing their own brand of pizza ,Midwest based. That pan pizza was just a test to see how it would cook in their oven. Any time you start something new you are going to have to make adjustments before it is perfected. The product may not be perfect , but how many pizzas have any of us made that we will call perfect. For me not many , but the people we are cooking for like them. We are our biggest critics. Most consumers will not see the flaws a food critic will.

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2012, 04:20:35 PM »
Thanks, but I am not in Michael whites league.  I am a small town pizza guy that loves everything pizza!!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 04:22:27 PM by thezaman »

Offline SquirrelFlight

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2012, 04:39:16 PM »
Seriously? They acknowledged opening with a sub-par product and the intention of perfecting it later?



Works in the software industry...

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2012, 04:42:19 PM »
Works in the software industry...

Yep - Apple should thank Microsoft for working this way.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2012, 04:46:11 PM »
Trying something different in a market with a strong allegiance to a certain type of pizza is always going to be hard.

That's precisely why you won't find Skyline Chili outside of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana (except for south Florida, where there are a ton of Cincinnati transplants). From what I understand, Skyline will not allow franchisees to open restaurants outside of these markets, and with good reason. To people who live more than a couple hundred miles from Cincinnati, Skyline is not chili, just like in New York this stuff isn't pizza.

What I'm about to say may eventually be proven wrong, but I think it's absolutely stupid to open a place offering "Wisconsin style" foo foo pizza in New York, especially if you don't even know what you're doing, which I think is pretty clearly the case here.

Anyone want to partner with me to open a Skyline Chili knockoff in NYC? I'm sure we'd never be able to keep up with the demand; partly because, from what I've heard, they already sell a ton of hot dogs and pasta in New York, and people could probably go for something new and different.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2012, 04:48:06 PM »
Works in the software industry...

Apples and oranges. (Or apples and pizzas?)

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2012, 05:05:10 PM »
Thanks, but I am not in Michael whites league.  I am a small town pizza guy that loves everything pizza!!
Precisely the type of guy I'd want to talk with if I was a busy, big time, "Chef".....
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