Since I have never been able to eat at UPN before this trip, I just realized that I have not started a dedicated thread. So I will insert my thoughts and photographs in this thread.
Anthony claims he doesn't care what anyone says about him or how he makes his pies. Yet he mentioned someone told him pizzanapoletana was saying bad things about him. Perhaps Anthony doesn't care what others say, but he clearly listens. I clarified what pizzanapoletana has mentioned on this site about his oven being problematic and left it at that.
That brief exchange explained everything I would need to know about Anthony. He really doesn't care about how others view his efforts. He has, is, and always will make pies his way according to his rules. He appreciated Chris Bianco's kind words about his attention to detail replicating Neapolitan pies. But then he complained
that he wasn't making any money at his chosen profession. He went on to boast that Chris surely makes more money than he. The guy just didn't seem happy.
Truth be told, I was underwhelmed by Anthony's pies but overwhelmed by his prices. $21 for a 12" pie is a bit much even for NYC. It wouldn't of been if he delivered what his menu described in intimate detail. We ordered a Margherita and a White pie and from the looks of things we didn't get his best effort. On this night, the oven was not hot enough. Hey, perhaps pizzanapoletana was on to something with his oven critique. Or maybe the oven didn't have time to build up its operating temperature. Either way, for $21 a pie, I deserved better. I deserved the level of attention that Chris Bianco pays to every facet of his operation. Anthony is not in the same league. His menu says he is but his actions dictate otherwise. Point in fact - he ran out to a local store to buy supplies for the evening. Now I don't know what he bought but my sense is he had to have something to operate the store for the night. Afterall, he held up the opening of the store by at least 10 minutes so they must have been important. If those locally bought ingredients found their way onto the menu somehow then I am really disappointed.
The crust had less flavor than Luzzo's which is quite a feat since Luzzo's tasted like cardboard. In defense of Luzzo's everything else is done so right that in total, the finished product is the best I have ever eaten in NYC.
I am one of the few members (perhaps the only) who have eaten at Bianco's, Luzzo's and Una Pizza Napoletana. I can without hesitation state that Luzzo's and UPN are not in the same universe with Bianco's. My memory tells me that the following things seemed wrong (for my tastebuds):
1) The Margherita had too much fluid in the middle. The cheese slid off the pie too easily.
2) The cheese had little flavor. What flavor it had was not fresh.
3) The crust had slightly too much salt.
4) The top of the pie had way too much salt.
5) The olive oil on top of the pie was borderline rancid.
6) The oven was not hot enough
7) The crust had no oven spring whatsoever.
I intentionally left a slice on my plate to see what would happen over time thereby allowing the slice to cool off completely. The answer was not good. The crust turned hard.
9) Lack of value. Look, I travel all over the country eating pies and this was the first time I felt someone's hand in my pocket.
10) Though not his direct fault, the stench emanating from some unknown source engulfed the crowd of people lined up waiting for his store to open. He dismissed it as coming from the nearby French restaurant. Several people were on the verge of gagging.
In summary, I came to Una Pizza Napoletana expecting a perfectionist like Chris Bianco. I am sad to say that I came away with the belief that his high prices pay for the shortened hours of operation due to some other more important activities than pizza which is clearly no longer his passion.
My only question is, was it ever?