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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cristoni Pizzeria

UPDATE: So since I posted this, Cristoni on Sunset is no more. It seems to have been muscled out by the big New Yorker, Joe. There is still a place in Beverly Hills, so don't worry, all you Cristoni heads out there. I have not been to this location, but I can only assume it is the same.

Here is the review I posted from the former sunset location:

A new place called Cristoni just opened up not too long ago in West Hollywood, on the sunset strip. It replaced an eatery called Pita Pit. There used to be a Pita Pit near my college that I ate on a regular basis, this one just wasn't as good as that, and that's probably why its gone.
I forgot my camera, so sorry about the low res pictures (cell phones: they aren't cameras)
I ordered a large cheese pizza, 16 dollars, I think it was 16 inches as well. With drinks it was about 23 dollars. They had some fancy root beer from Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Dr. Brown cream soda which I got and realized it was diet, ehh I hate diet. Expensive sodas to say the least.
The pizza took awhile to come out but it was pipping hot when we got it. We had to force ourselves to wait till it cooled. The pizza tasted pretty good initially. It was pretty oily on top and had a very salty flavor. This probably came from the fact that is wasn't 100% mozzarella. That being said it wasn't too salty or oily. It added to the flavor. The sauce was very light and sweet. Very tasty. The crust too was good. It was a cornmeal bottom crust apposed to a flour based. I don't usually like the cornmeal bottoms, but this one was done just right. It was crispy and well cooked. When folded in half it creased very nicely but did not break. It was very light and airy similar in style to a pastry, but tougher. As I was eating it I found myself trying to find reasons not to give it a high rating, for some reason I guess I was feeling over critical. Yes there was a little too much cheese for my liking and it was kind of oily and salty. The crust was a little untraditional, but really overall I really enjoyed the pizza. I warmed it up the next day in the oven, got the crust a little more cooked and it was almost better. So I have to say it is exciting that our pizza options are expanding in a good way.

490 N. Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills 90210
Price: $$
Cristoni Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Verrazano's Pizza

UPDATE 5/6/10
A sad day for pizza in LA. Verrazano's, one of the best places to get a NY pie in LA, had a fire in their kitchen. It has caused them to shut their doors. It is a shame. They are hoping to open back up in the future. However, when something like this happens, it is hard to get back on the horse and start all over again.
I for one hope they have the motivation and money to rebuild and reopen. It was my go to pizza spot and one of the best in LA. I wish them luck.

BELOW is the past review:
It is a very exciting week, 2 new places opened in the Hollywood area. Both of them better than most. The other one is Cristoni.(which has now closed its hollywood location)
First however I went to Verrazano's. This is a place that is a New York City transplant. So when they say they have the authentic New York pizza experience, those aren't just words. Though just coming from NY doesn't mean you will make good pizza. Of course this is one of the few places that actually has the owners working and making the pizza. They haven't hired a bunch of people who don't know anything about pizza and then expect them to make one. So I new I was getting something special.

I ordered a large cheese pizza, the only size they have, which is 18 inches. They also have slices. It was 17 dollars. I picked it up and when I opened the box I saw something unusual to LA.

The pizza had cheese spots. Instead of shredded cheese, it was slices, small slices of mozzarella. There are of course many other places that cook their Margherita Pizza like this, but they aren't cut in such small sizes. I don't like too much cheese, but I was worried about this one because I thought there might not be enough. Surprisingly, there was just the right amount. Whether it was fresh or not was hard to tell, the cheese flavor wasn't that prominent, seeing as it wasn't covering the whole pizza. The prominent flavor of course was the sauce. Which I liked a lot. It was a sweet sauce, very finely chopped tomato, it wasn't too runny or too thick, it was just the right consistency with an addicting sweet and tomatoey taste. The crust was thin and crispy, and tasted pretty good too, lots of flour on the bottom. Though the freshness of the crust is in question. It was a little dense and dry. It could have been a lot crispier as well. It became a little tough after the pizza cooled a bit. It was a very simple pizza, from the crust to the cheese and the sauce, no extra spices. Just a very basic cheese, tomato, bread flavor. Some might not like the simplicity of it. For me I thought the crust was pretty close to perfect, and the sauce was awesome and I will be going back.
I hope this place will be around a while.

I went back recently and ordered the highly recommended meatball and ricotta pie, called the Denino. This was great. I love ricotta and there were nice chunks of it all over the place, along side some spicy crumbly meat. This was all on top of the same pizza as the original with tomato sauce and mozz. This is one slice that I could not eat in the car, believe me I tried. The weight of the ricotta was just too much. Everything else was the same as above, and again I highly recommend it. It will run you 5 dollars more than the plain unfortunately but if you like ricotta - worth it.
Verrazano's Pizza
612 N. La Brea 90036
Price: $$

Verrazano's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Danielle's Wood Fire Pizza

Today for lunch I ventured deeper into the valley to Valley Village.  Not that deep I know.  There is a small place hidden in a strip mall, as most places around around here.  This place however you really can't see from the road. They have however, have a wood fired oven, which is what brought me here.  There was a lovely lady working the counter that convinced me I'd love the pizza.  She was nice enough to let me take pictures as well.  I ordered a large 18 inch pizza and it was 15 dollars.  On half of it I ordered sausage and green peppers.  Boy was there a lot of toppings.   

The pizza was just average unfortunately.  It looked pretty good.  The first thing I noticed as you can see, there was a whole lot of toppings.  The peppers were thick chunks and the sausage were bog round slices.  They covered the whole half a pizza completely.  So this was all too much for me, and it made it very difficult to eat a slice.  The cheese slice on the other hand:  The first bite was a taste explosion of a very heavily spiced sauce.  It was a thick tomato paste with lots of flavor.  The cheese was pretty typical, there was a good amount of it compared to the sauce.  Very oily though.  The crust was pretty crispy from the high heat the wood puts out.  At first I liked the crust it had pretty good flavor, although not as much smokey flavor as I was hoping.  As the pizza started to cool off however the crust became very tough.  It was a dense crust and very chewy.  I guess this experience goes to show that just because it has a wood fired oven doesn't mean its going to be amazing pizza.  But I give it credit for having one anyway.

Danielle's Wood Fire Pizza - 4822 Laurel Canyon Blvd Valley Village 91607
Price: $$

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mexican Pizza

Sorry for the delay in pizza reviews. I have been in Mexico for awhile and the pizza selection down there is a bit limited. To my surprise however there was a spot right down the street from where I was staying, in Rosarito Beach. It was called Fabrizzio’s. One of the funnier names I have come across. There was a young American girl who was somewhat running the place. When I asked if it was good NY style pizza she corrected me and told me ,"no it's Mexican style." Mexican style pizza is an interesting topic, one that I discuss in greater detail here. I don't feel this was too Mexican in style, more just American pizza in Mexico. That being said it was different than any other pizza in the U.S. Of course when you put pepperoni on it, that americanizes it quite a bit.

Other Mexican Pizza I have had are El Chapulin in LA and Tidal Wave Pizza. in Hollywood. The first pie I had was a large, about 16 or 18 inches, pepperoni and garlic.
The toppings were really good and the combination of the garlic with the meat worked for me. The pizza crust was extremely crispy and thin. It was blackened on the edges and bottom in some places. They definitely know how to cook it. The other ingredients were the main problem. The crust was more of a pita bread type crust, it came apart in layers and had those holes poked in the bottom at even intervals. So no matter how crispy it was, it wasn’t going to taste like good NY style crust. The sauce and cheese were pretty generic, tomato paste and shredded cheese out of a bag. It might work for a taco, but not for pizza. Of course the fact that I was in Mexico on the beach with a few beers in me, made the pizza taste way better than it was. Since it was about the only place to eat around there, I went back the next day and got a personal size pie with jalapenos.
I learned a while back there is no topping better than jalapenos especially when in Mexico. Once again the toppings were the highlight. The pizza was the same. The price is not what you’d think either. Very expensive for pizza and for Mexico. It was over 20 dollars with the tip on the large pizza. The personal pizza was about 14 $ for a 12 inch. In fact I didn’t have enough money on me after I ordered it. Luckily they were nice enough to let me walk back and get some, they could have just made me wash the dishes or just killed me.
I enjoyed everything in Mexico, including the pizza, it was still better than some of the worst I’ve had here in LA. So I will give them credit for that. I cannot judge all of Mexico’s pizza of course on one place. So this is what I thought of Fabrizzio’s.

A video for you....

Fabrizzio’s – Rosarito Beach, Mexico
Price $$$

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