Author Topic: New Haven pizza crawl??  (Read 8520 times)

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Online scott123

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2013, 03:03:27 PM »
Then Zuppardis:


Online scott123

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2013, 04:22:42 PM »
Here are my reviews:

Pepe/s

My last slice of Pepe's a few months back was one of the best slices I've ever had. The outer rim was inedible, but the rest of it was thin, with a little bit of puff, great tomato and great cheese. I've talked about Pepe's/Coal consistency issues previously, and about how it seems as though different trips produce different products. Well, on this trip, I was seeing wildly different crusts on the same order.

The motz pie wasn't burnt on the rim, but it was all very rigid and dry- almost like the exterior of the slice (rim and undercrust) was stale.  It wasn't a tasteless underfermented same day dough that you'd see at Totonno's, but the texture was off- way off.  This texture bore no resemblance to the motz pie I had tasted a few months back.

The chicken tomato pie was surprisingly good, the crust still had a little bit of that stale quality, but it was better, especially towards the tip.  Other than chicken parm, I normally hate chicken and tomatoes, but this was an amazing combo.  The chicken seasoning seemed to work wonders at transforming it into something far more compatible with the tomatoes and the tomatoes were abundant and flavorful.  In a million years, I never dreamed that just tomatoes on a crust could be that good.

Nick (gabaghool) talked about how the legendary places had earned a right to be inconsistent, and while I agreed 100% that the inconsistency was obvious, I can't really judge a pizza on what they're capable of, but, rather, what they're serving.  While the tomato/chicken pie was impressive toppings-wise, the crusts ranged from slightly sub par to completely sub par, and no one deserves that kind of experience.

By far, the highlight of the Pepe visit was getting to talk Pepe's owner, Gary Bimonte.  He's such a warm, outgoing, gleam in the eye, big teddy bear kind of guy, it's really hard not being star struck.   We talked about the Blackstone and PM.com.  Amazing guy.

Sally's

If I was disappointed by Pepe's, Sally's was a crushing blow.  I don't think I've ever had a worse tomato.  It was starch-y, paste-y and cucumber-y. And the bench flour.  I never thought it was possible to get that much bench flour to stick to the bottom of a pizza.  The flour was caked on so thickly that when you tapped it against the side of your hand, the flour wouldn't come off as a powder, but, rather, in large flakes. The potato pie was a nice new flavor, but it didn't make up for Sally's failings.

And the A/C. We were told Sally's would be a sadistic experience, but this was really traumatic.  Between the metal folding chairs, the sweat box and what felt like a 2 hour wait, the discomfort was so overwhelming that I could barely think about the pizza. If I go back to Sally's (and that's a big if), it will never be with more than 4 people and never during the summer.

Zuppardi's

Zuppardi's as Barry mentioned, challenged my paradigm.  Nick had spoken about 12 minute bake times, and, while the loquacious tipsy elderly gentleman who was talking my ear off distracted me from filming, I think the bake time on Wednesday was 10 minutes.  As expected, it's crispy, very crispy, but it's also pretty puffy, which was quite unexpected. I still prefer my 4-5 minute bake, but, I have to admit, I like this 10 minute bake a lot more than I thought I would, and, while I'm not a clam person, I did taste a very garlic-y bite of the clam crust, and it was pretty astounding.

Zuppardi's isn't a pure NH style pizza, more of a NY/NH hybrid, but, regardless of it's classification, it's much better than Pepe's or Sally's.  The owner of Pepe's hinted that Pepe's might open in NJ.  After that trip, unless I could figure out how to get a consistently great pie from them, I don't think I'd go there much. On the other hand, if Zuppardi's was local, I'd be hitting them all the time.

I'm still kind of mentally digesting Zuppardi's.  I've been floating a crispy version of my pizza around in my head for a while- I don't think there's anything better on the crispy side for me to emulate.

In conclusion, Zuppardi's rocked my world, and, while Pepe's had some encouraging aspects, the negatives far outweighed the positives, and I wouldn't subject my worst enemy to that Sally's experience.

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2013, 04:30:48 PM »
thanks guys, love the shots and the stories. If any of you are ever up in the Albany, NY area give me a shout. I don't go out for pizza very often, but I could find some crawl worthy places.

Online JD

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2013, 04:59:26 PM »
I'm still kind of mentally digesting Zuppardi's.  I've been floating a crispy version of my pizza around in my head for a while- I don't think there's anything better on the crispy side for me to emulate.

Yes, I know I'm not a fan favorite on this forum and I'm not claiming to be making any major advances in pizza, but this is exactly what I've been working on for a few weeks now (explosive spring from the steel + longer bake times for GBD). I plan on making another adjustment this Wednesday or Thursday that may take my experiment to a new level. Stay tuned if you're interested.
Josh

Online scott123

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2013, 06:11:36 PM »
Yes, I know I'm not a fan favorite on this forum and I'm not claiming to be making any major advances in pizza, but this is exactly what I've been working on for a few weeks now (explosive spring from the steel + longer bake times for GBD). I plan on making another adjustment this Wednesday or Thursday that may take my experiment to a new level. Stay tuned if you're interested.

JD, I've been following your experiments, and, your 'longer bake time' pies, because you're working with very hot steel and moving it mid bake, are almost identical to my 4 minute bakes. Perhaps you're a bit Zuppardi-ish, but, with your undercrust char, you're closer to me than you are to them (and moving closer every month  >:D )

And who says you're not a fan favorite?  Anyone making great pizza is a fan favorite, and you definitely qualify for those honors.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 06:13:23 PM by scott123 »

Offline Needssalt

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2013, 08:34:17 PM »
I'm full just reading this.  Zuppardi's crust looks great. 

Online JD

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2013, 08:57:38 PM »
JD, I've been following your experiments, and, your 'longer bake time' pies, because you're working with very hot steel and moving it mid bake, are almost identical to my 4 minute bakes. Perhaps you're a bit Zuppardi-ish, but, with your undercrust char, you're closer to me than you are to them (and moving closer every month  >:D )

And who says you're not a fan favorite?  Anyone making great pizza is a fan favorite, and you definitely qualify for those honors.

Ha! While I will admit I am moving closer to your 4 minute bakes, I'm not yet ready to wave the white flag. I think I'm making under crusts with a little less contrast than yours and that's my preference. But my ultimate goal is an 8 minute broiler-less bake.


 
Josh

Offline Tampa

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2013, 07:02:50 AM »
Very nice job on the write-ups and pictures!
Dave

Offline polishpizza

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2013, 08:48:09 AM »
I'm reading between the lines here a bit but I find it interesting that the overall best experience came from a place that did not have a coal oven...
Polack trying to make pizza

Offline bfguilford

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2013, 09:24:31 AM »
I'm reading between the lines here a bit but I find it interesting that the overall best experience came from a place that did not have a coal oven...

Frank: That's an interesting observation. I also wonder if expectations were extremely high for Pepe's and Sally's (given their legendary status), while Zuppardi's was the relative (to most) unknown, might have had an impact. Obviously, the temperature inside Sally's did. I wish that you, who grew up with Zupp's had been there for that stop to add to that conversation. It's clearly a different style of pizza... different from any other I have ever had (and the clam pie WAS outstanding).

Barry
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Offline JConk007

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2013, 09:55:03 AM »
  I agree with the fact I  Expectations of Pepes and Sallys.
I will admitt the pizza in my opinion very Dissapointing. Although Legendary I guess its just not my style? Think I have been Nyified thats why Zupps was in my wheelhouse. Pepes I would do again.   Sallys will probably never see my  feet  again. And Zupp's ? every time I run up 95 I will be tempted to swing by! Visions of whole freshclams dancing in my head  :drool:
Oh and Modern will have its day with expectations a similar pie to Sallys
John
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Online scott123

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2013, 03:00:29 PM »
I'm reading between the lines here a bit but I find it interesting that the overall best experience came from a place that did not have a coal oven...

Frank, are you implying some NY deck oven bias has influenced our judgement?  ;D

I wouldn't rule it out. Maybe, due to the oven induced variations in the crust, sometimes coal can produce a NY-ish pie, and that's why I went so crazy about the Pepe's slices I had a few months back, but, at the end of the day, NH isn't just the pie I tasted, but it's the whole gamut of what a coal oven can produce, and, since I haven't been exposed to the drier versions of NH style, I'm not able to give Pepe's as fair of a shake as they deserve.

Is that what you're saying?  ;D

I do know what you're capable of, and I know what other NH experts (like Scott R) are capable of, though, and I feel pretty strongly that the crust that we had that day at Pepe's was not in the same league.

Offline polishpizza

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2013, 06:23:17 PM »
I was just making a point and observation...don't read into it to much :)
Polack trying to make pizza

Offline pdog

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2013, 05:40:35 PM »

Sally's

If I was disappointed by Pepe's, Sally's was a crushing blow.  I don't think I've ever had a worse tomato.  It was starch-y, paste-y and cucumber-y. And the bench flour.  I never thought it was possible to get that much bench flour to stick to the bottom of a pizza.  The flour was caked on so thickly that when you tapped it against the side of your hand, the flour wouldn't come off as a powder, but, rather, in large flakes. The potato pie was a nice new flavor, but it didn't make up for Sally's failings.

And the A/C. We were told Sally's would be a sadistic experience, but this was really traumatic.  Between the metal folding chairs, the sweat box and what felt like a 2 hour wait, the discomfort was so overwhelming that I could barely think about the pizza. If I go back to Sally's (and that's a big if), it will never be with more than 4 people and never during the summer.


Thank You!! I went to UCONN and all every one ever talked about was Sally's.  I have always thought the pizza was mediocre at best. 

Have you ever tried Jonny's in Mt Vernon?  They are located on W. Lincoln Ave of the merit prk.  They are one of my favorites.  I spent 15 minutes last visit trying to grab some information out of the pizza makers.  I explained I was attempting to re-create NY pizza at home, and any tips would be appreciated. 

The gentleman kindly asked me hold old I was..... I shared, and he laughed.  I asked why he laughed, and he response was "your too old."  I laughed as I was probably 30 years younger then he was, and he replied he started making pizza when he was 11, and that I was told old to master the craft.  I knew then the secrets were not going to be shared, and thanked him and excused myself. 

Personally I loved his response.  Great pizza is a life long passion!

Offline gabaghool

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2013, 03:55:39 AM »
Always heard Johnny's was real tight lipped......don't understand it, but to each his own.

Online waltertore

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2013, 04:33:01 PM »
I respect the old guys and their tight lips and or loose lips that spew totally inacurate information.  IMO if you really want to learn a certain style pie get a job there.   I know how competitive it is in the pizza centers and people can give you a real good sounding speel that in reality is just another future pizzeria owner searching for clues.  I know many pizza makers back home and they know I am a teacher in Ohio and still are tight lipped.  I no longer ask any questions but instead study their layout, techniques, and visually take in their cheeses, sauces, doughes.  I prefer not to know really.  It makes it more of an adventure.

I left NJ in 1975 to persue music.  I have gone back regularly over the years to visit family and to be honest I find most pizzerias have gone steadily way downhill over the years.  I get all excited once I hit home and then let down when I taste the pies.  Heck, my pies taste better than most any I try back home nowadays.  The old school family run concept where you learn from the ground up is dying off and the high costs of ingredients, equipment, rent, and such, has added to the decline.  Walter

Star Taverm in Orange NJ continues to satify me. It is a whole different pie than I make.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 04:40:28 PM by waltertore »

Offline derricktung

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #36 on: October 14, 2013, 08:29:11 AM »

Star Taverm in Orange NJ continues to satify me. It is a whole different pie than I make.

Interesting... I was just at Star Tavern a few weeks ago on my trip to NY.  It's good greasy pie that has a nice crisp crust.  Enjoyable, but I'm not sure I see what the huge fuss is about with them.  Regardless, it was a tasty pizza that while enjoyable, I don't think I would go out of my way for.

Online waltertore

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #37 on: October 14, 2013, 11:47:25 AM »
Interesting... I was just at Star Tavern a few weeks ago on my trip to NY.  It's good greasy pie that has a nice crisp crust.  Enjoyable, but I'm not sure I see what the huge fuss is about with them.  Regardless, it was a tasty pizza that while enjoyable, I don't think I would go out of my way for.

I ate star pizza many days a week for many years.  Did you get the cheese pie?  That is their besst IMO.  I haven't been there in a couple years or more.  Maybe it has slipped?  Did you notice the Chinese place across the street?  That use to be Wallace's liqour store/jazz club in the back.   It was a NJ landmark and I played there many nights and with star across the street.............................    PIZZA I done ate a ton.  Walter

Offline communist

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #38 on: October 14, 2013, 01:33:52 PM »
Interesting... I was just at Star Tavern a few weeks ago on my trip to NY.  It's good greasy pie that has a nice crisp crust.  Enjoyable, but I'm not sure I see what the huge fuss is about with them.  Regardless, it was a tasty pizza that while enjoyable, I don't think I would go out of my way for.
Proof that so much of pizza tasting is subjective.  My perfect pie may be nothing to Joe or Stan or Tom or...     

Offline ridr44

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Re: New Haven pizza crawl??
« Reply #39 on: October 15, 2013, 05:05:19 AM »
I visited Zuppardi's the other day for the first time.  I was not at all hungry unfortunately but since I was passing on 95 I thought I'd stop in and take a look.  Could not resist, had a medium sausage pie, ate half of it and half is now in my fridge.  Unbelievable.  It is presently my favorite pie.   How do they do the crust?  Anyone?
Thanks Dan


 

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