Is it really just the crust?

 

The Appetizer on the left vs. Pedone’s on the right.

Home from New York City and thousands of sad miles away from New York pizza. Now – the quest for the best New York style pizza in the South Bay, Southern Cali.

23 August 2008, Saturday Night Pedone’s (Redondo) vs. The Appetizer (P.V.)

Okay, so there is one constant: Pedone’s New York Style Pizza and Deli definitely delivered a pie more resembling New York’s. And that’s about where it ends for pizza correspondents Paul and Gabriella.

Okay, another constant – we could both go for some cheesecake. (Sadly, we didn’t jam any of that creamy goodness down our gullets on our city trip.)

The standard which we are going by is New York – more specifically, Lombardi’s and Grimaldi’s in New York.

Both pies actually looked very much like each other. Pedone’s had a noticeably thinner crust, but only slightly. Both had great sauce, cheese, and topping color. Appetizer’s pizza actually smelled better I think. Although, it smelled more like cheesy, buttery garlic bread to me.

Since we both started with Pedone’s this evening, that’s where we’ll begin this post. Pedone’s, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You’re thin, crispy, sans cornmeal, with flour, and a pretty authentic coal oven taste. Lightly cheesed with a flavorful sauce. Slight sweetness, not overpowered thanks to the tomato’s tang. Good cheese flavor.

The other opinion: thinner, chewier, almost gummy crust, with a mild-flavored tomato sauce, good cheese, but not an overwhelming amount, and an insufficient garlic flavor in comparison to Appetizer’s.

Now since I’m the one doing the typing I’m going to give myself an unfairly large amount of space to dispute this second description of Pedone’s. Definitely didn’t find the crust gummy – instead, I found it a little stale – too crispy, too hard. I’m wondering if it was left in the oven to warm, which had this negative effect on the probably perfectly cooked crust. Tomato sauce is definitely mild, but still full of flavorful, classic Italian herbs. I am actually offended that he found Pedone’s to have insufficient garlic flavor, as I found it absolutely glorious! Although, to be fair, I don’t think I had a bite of “that other pizzeria’s” pepperoni and garlic-studded pizza.

Now, in comparison to Lombardi’s and Grimaldi’s? Hands down, New York’s crusts wipe ours with the floor. There is absolutely no comparison. Okay, well, Pedone’s is closest and not an all-together bad interpretation, but I didn’t moan anywhere near as much with Pedone’s as I did with Lombardi’s and Grimaldi’s. And for those of you that know me – if it’s a good meal, moaning is the tell. I would even be so bold as to say that Pedone’s flavor wouldn’t have improved much hadn’t the crust been hard; I think the flavor would have pretty much remained the same, just a better texture. Now, also to be fair, part of the allure of Lombardi’s and Grimaldi’s crusts were their texture. So we’ll have to eat at Pedone’s again. And, sadly, as Pedone’s is prone to do – they have great nights and just good nights. This could have very well been just a good night.

Appetizer: thicker, softer, chewier, sweeter crust. Decent tomato sauce and cheese, but just overall lacking in something. I think the lack of a crispy crust was a major downer for me and the sauce was spiced less. The thicker, softer crust really got me; more reminiscent of American pizza chains, although still leagues above them.

Other opinion: sweet and thin, but very soft crust with a decent sauce, an appropriate amount of cheese, stringy cheese, very stringy, and good toppings – toppings were better.

Yeah, of course, he chooses the toppings – the one thing I can’t really dispute. Well, still, Pedone’s was totally better. And how do I know this you ask? Because I only ate topping-ed pizza from Pedone’s. See, totally valid!

As unimpressed as I said I was with the New York style pizzas in New York (from two of the highest rated in NYC and Brooklyn, mind you) what else can really be concluded from the fact that I spent the rest of the night (after eating the SoCal pizza) in deep thought about New York style pizza, other than that New York’s was better. Hands down. And why was it better? The crust. Hands down. Can it really be New York’s tap water? Is that the true secret? Apparently some think so, as two highly rated Los Angeles area pizzeria’s reportedly fly water in from New York just to make their crust. And what is the best thing about these pizzas according to reviewers? The crust.

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