The one reason my daughter would’t purchase me a whole pizza, or a slice at DiFara’s was that the bottom crust did look burnt to her and also DiFara’s was too smokey for her and her friends.
I was at the Eataly the last time members of the forum and I took a pizza tour in NYC, but I didn’t try the pies at the Eataly because we were going to go to many other pizzerias that day. Steve and I looked around and I did post pictures on the forum of my visit to Eataly. I saw how beautiful the ovens were.
I didn't know you'd been to Eataly. The pizza was good, but not so good that I would make a special trip for one.
Because I've never had DiFara's, I can't say why it's so popular, but given your daughter's reaction, I wonder if it might be the "NYC phenomenon," I've noticed occasionally in the years I've lived here, where something becomes popular for no apparent reason - or, in the case of food operations, some kind of romantic notion is attached to a place that makes the food seem to taste better than it actually is. In DiFara's case, it might be because it's located on some obscure corner in Brooklyn, one guy makes all the pizzas himself, refusing even to teach his son, is close for a couple of hours a day, long lines, etc. On the other hand, I understand that Peter or at least others on this site have tried DiFara's and thought the pizzas exceptional enough to want to duplicate Dom's dough/methods; perhaps one of them would care to weigh in.
There's a pizzeria - several locations - called Artichoke Basille's (http://www.artichokepizza.com/
) - that gets rave reviews, especially for their "famous artichoke pizza." They get anything from $24-$30(!) for a pie and $4.00-$4.50 for a slice(!!!). Curious, I checked out their 14th St. location, where I saw bags of the usual All-Trumps flour stacked just inside the door and not only was the pizza (a "famous artichoke" slice and a Sicilian slice) unexceptional, but I actually got a bit sick and a friend of mine who tried it on another occasion, got sick, too, yet people line up, and pay, ridiculous prices for it.
Ditto for Shake Shack, by the way. They've got multiple locations all over the world, and people line up in droves at the original Madison Square Park location and the new one on Eighth Ave. and 44th St., and as we do with pizza, people try to reverse engineer the "unique blend" (rumor is it's a combination of sirloin, chuck and short rib) and "secret sauce" (http://goo.gl/caBu
), how Danny Meyer (the founder) traveled the country, trying various burgers to come up with the "perfect recipe," and so on. And then there But to me, it tastes like a plain ol' hamburger. The fries are frozen "crinkle cut" fries and the "Shackago Dog" (their version of a Chicago style hot dog), to me, is awful, but it gets high ratings from food critics.
Especially bizarre, and amusing, is The Halal Guys (http://goo.gl/jg2g
), one of the typical "halal carts" - Arab guys selling chicken- or lamb-rice-salad plates or the same sans rice, in a pita. And late at night, people line up down the block for it. Certainly, the food is good, maybe a cut above the rest, but their business is so good that they opened a second cart, right across the street and a third on the corner at the other end of the block. Same guys, same menu, same recipe, same yellow T shirts saying "Halal Guys" on the vendors - yet everyone (except me) continues to line up as before at the original cart, while patronage of the two identical carts, serving the same stuff, get just a fraction of the patronage.
As the old saying goes, "Go figure!", but what can I say, except Welcome to New York!