I was asked to provide my feedback about my recent experience at Grimaldi's in Scottsdale, Az.
I was really looking forward to trying this place out having heard some good things about it. Upon entering the establishment, I thought the ambiance of the place was very NY-ish feeling. The restaurant had a certain bar-like look and feel to it. They were just opening so we were seated right away. Perusing through the menu, they had a lot of specialty pies and many toppings to choose from. I decided on a basic pepperoni and mushroom pie for me and the wife picked a chicken and roasted peppers with white garlic sauce pizza.
I spent some time chatting with our waiter and later the manager came by and I grilled him for a some answers. I asked the manager if the pizza was the same or different from the original one in Brooklyn. He said that the owners have tried to do everything they can to keep everything the same. From the same oven, to the same ingredients, etc. He said keep in mind that the original ovens in NY are older and will cook a bit differently, but as far as the sauce and cheese, and toppings itís pretty much the same. He said that heís had patrons of the original come in and tell him itís the exact same pizza while others say there is a slight difference, claiming the NY water to be the difference. When asked about the water issue, he said they use a reverse osmosis process and they lower the pH to the same level as the NY water.
I sat next next to the pizza making station to watch them stretch the skins. The kids doing it had a lot of fun showing off their skill. I saw one guy open up 2 skins at one time stacked on each other till they were about 75% open, then he tossed both up in the air opening them simulataneously. I asked him to rolled a skin behind his back which he happily obliged. I also saw their technique on making calzones and that was interesting as well.
They allowed me to take pictures of the finished pies before going out to the tables which I will post below. I timed the bakes of our pizzas and the others as well. Our small 12Ē pies took about 7min to bake and the larger pizzas took maybe a bit longer.
Over all I thought the pizza was good. The mushrooms are fresh and my pizza wasnít overly topped. The pizza wasnít overly sauced or cheesed and had a nice balance of sauce, cheese, and crust. I wasnít blown away by the sauce, cheese, or crust though. It was good but not over the top. The sauce was probably the best of the 3 but didnít stand out much. I asked for a bowl of fresh sauce to dunk the crust in, and this I thought was really good. When asked about their sauce if it was precooked, the waiter said yes and spent some time telling me that it isnít sold and isnít allowed to leave the restaurant either, which I thought was interesting. The cold sauce was not overly spiced but reminded me of a good marinara sauce. Baking it turned it from something special to just good for me.
The cheese seem to melt ok and cooled quick. A little rubbery for me and reminded me of belgioso cheese. The crust was also ok in terms of flavor. Very crunchy all the way around the rim and dry, but not a cracker crust. The middle of the slice was soft, foldable, and chewy.
I thought my wifeís garlic chicken pie was better than mine. I was told itís just olive oil, garlic, cheese, and toppings. But it all worked well together.
Overly, I enjoyed the experience and pizza. It was good pizza as I didnít leave any slices, but it wasnít outstanding. I was left a little lost with it categorized as an ďeliteĒ NY pie. I was surprise the bake time was about 7m for a small pizza and had just expected an ďeliteĒ to be something more.
As an aside, it had a rather commercial pizza look and feel and taste to me. It just lacked that authentic one of a kind artisanal look/feel to it. Hard to explain. It was good just not special. Also a bit pricey IMO. 2 small pies, and 2 diet cokes plus tx and tip came to over $40 for lunch. Might have just been b/c we were in Az.