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Reference, Questions and Help => Pizza News => Topic started by: Pete-zza on August 07, 2012, 03:26:34 PM

Title: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Pete-zza on August 07, 2012, 03:26:34 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/dining/reviews/nicoletta-nyc-restaurant-review.html?_r=1&hp.

Peter
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: thezaman 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.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: TXCraig1 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.

Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: TXCraig1 on August 09, 2012, 05:47:22 PM
According to Slice, they use a dough sheeter.

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/06/first-look-nicoletta-michael-whites-nyc-pizzeria-slideshow.html#show-248261
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: scott123 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.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Aimless Ryan 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).
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: thezaman 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
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: scott123 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?
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Pappy 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. 
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: TXCraig1 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?

Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: weemis 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.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Aimless Ryan 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.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Chicago Bob 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!!   ::)
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: thezaman 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.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: thezaman 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!!
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: SquirrelFlight 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...
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: TXCraig1 on August 10, 2012, 04:42:19 PM
Works in the software industry...

Yep - Apple should thank Microsoft for working this way.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Aimless Ryan 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.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Aimless Ryan on August 10, 2012, 04:48:06 PM
Works in the software industry...

Apples and oranges. (Or apples and pizzas?)
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Chicago Bob 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".....
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: SquirrelFlight on August 10, 2012, 05:11:32 PM
Apples and oranges. (Or apples and pizzas?)

Looks like I forgot a smily to indicate tongue-in-cheekiness.   ::)
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: TXCraig1 on August 10, 2012, 06:47:14 PM
A different point of view: http://www.thedailymeal.com/Pete-Wells-Doesnt-Know-Cheese-About-Pizza
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Pete-zza on August 10, 2012, 07:23:35 PM
Another review, from Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-08/michael-white-s-nicoletta-stumbles-on-cheesiness-review.html.

Peter
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 10, 2012, 08:37:32 PM
 Are these reviewers all eating at the same pizzaria?...... ::)
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: scott123 on August 11, 2012, 07:08:47 AM
Thanks, but I am not in Michael whites league.  I am a small town pizza guy that loves everything pizza!!

Larry, I guarantee you, if White had the humility to have za junior make Lorenzo's pizza and top it with his upscale toppings, the reviews would be an entirely different story.  You'd still have the urban xenophobia to midwestern culture that would need to be overcome, but breaking through that opposition would be FAR easier than what White is seeing now.

White might be one of the country's foremost Italian chefs, but you and za jr. are a thousand times better pizzamakers.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: JConk007 on August 12, 2012, 12:00:38 AM
Just saying-  I would like to join you when you go  to Nicoletta been waiting since June  >:(  You will need a break after that fair. So hoping it works out this time  ;D see ya soon!
John
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: weemis on August 31, 2012, 03:27:42 PM
Just read this post at slice which explains things a little better:
http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/08/nicoletta-review-michael-white.html?ref=pop_slice
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 31, 2012, 04:36:56 PM
I'm not so sure about that Kenji guy...seems like his tastes are locked in a NY "box" and he can't think (or taste) outside of it...,IMHO of course.  :D
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: enter8 on August 31, 2012, 04:48:37 PM
 I wouldn't say Kenji is "locked" into NY. From what I've read he's quite big on Neapolitan as well as Pizza Bianca (in Rome) + other styles (tomato pie etc.)...although granted perhaps his tastes haven't ventured quite as far as Chitown yet ;)
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: scott123 on August 31, 2012, 04:50:55 PM
I'm not so sure about that Kenji guy...seems like his tastes are locked in a NY "box" and he can't think (or taste) outside of it...,IMHO of course.  :D

Actually, Bob, that review is a perfect example of Kenji's ability to view Nicoletta through a different lens.  The concept that Nicoletta requires a different, less NY-centric perspective to appreciate it is something that I've been saying since the Time's review. From that perspective, Kenji knocked it out of the park.

I think that framing Nicoletta in a chain context misses the mark, though.  Kenji, in the comments, explained that he used the chain reference as a way of explaining Midwestern pizza to people that have never had it, but I don't think the word 'chain' deserves to be in any Nicoletta discussion. Maybe Kenji doesn't think 'chain' is pejorative, but I think it's a major slam.  That's how the first commenter reacted as well.
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 31, 2012, 04:59:37 PM
I meant NY as in NYC...sorry. Ya know, like..".NY state of mind "(box)
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: JConk007 on September 27, 2012, 10:59:50 PM
Hi All !
I had the pleasure of dining with The Za man and the entire Family at Nicoletta Tuesday night. A real treat indeed between the great people and what I thought was great pizza it was a fun filled 1 1/2 hours for sure !  Let me first say what a wonderful Family Larry has! to put together a trip to NYC to eat pizza catch a show and just get 9 people together in place is a feat in itself !  
Pizza Yes we ate pizza and almost one of everything else on the menu !! Salads, appetizers tampanade... It was all top shelf Chicken wings Lasagna  gnocci? ate so much I don't even remember 1/2 the dishes! wish i took a menu ! I did remember the Pizza for sure !
I am glad these critics NY or not, finally figured out the what Micheal was looking for was something different ! This is not a NY style pizza or  slice Joint ! The toppings and combinations are all top chef quality escarole, eggplant ricotta not your everyday street slice for sure. Personally I real enjoyed the pizza. Its great to have something different I eat so many NY style slices with the exception of pizza town and 1 or 2 others they all seem to just run together. This was a fresh Change. The Marsal Ovens more than do the trick and there is no sheeter anywhere all pies very gently hand spread and put on their own personal peel for launching. The pizza was fresh and topping tasty I immediately noticed the nice crisp bottom Micro blisters Scott! and the beautiful softness above it ! all with no pan or oil!! My favortie was also the calabrese with cupped pepperoni sausage with a nice kick and onions. Larry even treated me to one of these to go as mentioned it heated up beautiful a full day later on a 450 degree stone and had very little difference from eating at the restaurant . If you are in NYC by on 2nd between 10thand 11th GO TRY THIS PIZZA ! I don't think you will be disappointed I was surely not !
John
Title: Re: New York Times Review (8/7/12): Nicoletta, by Michael White
Post by: TXCraig1 on October 15, 2012, 10:23:39 AM
Sounds like they are still having some difficulties.

"What this opulence can't disguise, though, is an uneven crust. It's often dense and damp in places, fantastically inflated in others, sometimes charred and sometimes pale as a whitewashed fence. This crust is anathema to a pizza fanatic; it's like visiting a different pizzeria with every bite... I took another bite of that disappointing crust, and my mind went back to college: It tasted like the Tombstone frozen pizzas once served in Wisconsin bars and warmed in lightbulb cabinets."

http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-10-10/restaurants/badgering-the-pizza-at-nicoletta/