“The Best Thing I Ever Done”
October 26, 2010 7 Comments
You might know these two things about food in New York:
1) Pizza is everywhere (as is Chinese food, but that’s another story).
2) The question of who makes the best pizza in New York is one that has been studied and debated by scientists, scholars, think tanks, government agencies and international consortia.
Well, maybe not. But people are passionate about their pizza. Some are absolute devotees of a particular shop. Others search and compare margherita after margherita, uptown, downtown, east, west, borough to borough.
Complicating matters is the trend in recent years toward artisanal pizza shops. I’m of the opinion that these new “fancy” places (some of which are excellent) are different animals than the old style pie shops, and there’s no sense comparing, say, Donatella to Grimaldi, Co. to Totono’s.
A popular contender for the title of best New York pizza is Di Fara, where Domenico DeMarco has made every pie by hand for close to 50 years. Obviously, Di Fara falls into the old style “it-ain’t-fancy-but-it’s-good” category. I’m not sure it’s my personal favorite, but it’s great pizza, and worth the wait, first in line to place your order, then for your hand-made pie to be served up by DeMarco, who puts his bare hands into the oven to make sure each pizza looks exactly right before he takes it out. You can put the wait to good use, praying that one of the few tables will open up at exactly the moment your pizza is ready, and that nobody else will grab it first.
Someone named Margaret Emily MacKenzie has made a short film about DeMarco and his pizzeria. It’s entertaining and worth watching, this testament to one person’s dedication to his craft, to the extraordinariness of the ordinary, the poetry of pizza.
Tell me (by leaving a comment): who do you think makes the best pizza?