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Restaurants & Bars 9

Pie-Tanza

bacchante | Jun 3, 2005 03:59 PM

After the mention below about Pie-Tanza, we ate there last evening. We had been looking forward to its opening, the silly name notwithstanding. For context, I'll mention that one of us grew up in Brooklyn and prefers "NY style" pizza and the other prefers pizza as we get in Italy. Having just returned from Italy, I was prepared to be disappointed.

On the contrary, we were both pretty happy with the result. We haven't been to 2 Amys so can't compare, but we agreed that it was more like real Italian pizza than just about anything we have had around here, including the "DOC" pizza at Bertucci's.

One of us had a cheese with basil and the other a cheese with anchovy, the 2 standards we use to judge pizza. As opposed to most pizza in this country, there was NOT TOO MUCH CHEESE, thank goodness. Nor were they overloaded with a too-sweet sauce. The crust was nicely thin and perfectly charred. Neither was greasy as one of the earlier posters experienced. In Italy (and my house), a pizza is finished with a trickle of olive oil when it comes out of the oven. Contrary to what this practice might imply, it does not make the pizzas greasy. Typically, I associate greasiness with certain ingredients such as sausage, anchovy, and certain cheeses. But since one of the greasy pizzas was plain cheese, I can't explain the difference between our experiences, unless they've changed something about the ingredients.

Our only complaint is that as the pizza cooled, the crust became rubbery, even though they were pretty crisp at the outset. They weren't soggy or damp as happens with too-thick pizzas or pizzas made with poor quality mozzarella--just a bit rubbery. I'm not quite sure what caused this. It doesn't happen to pizza we get in Italy or even to my own pizzas that I bake on a stone hearth.

We didn't try any of the appetizers, salads, or desserts, but the espresso was quite acceptable. My next trial will be a white pizza and half a caesar salad. They offer about a dozen sandwiches and half a dozen pastas, in addition to several salads and appetizers. Sandwiches and pastas don't interest me in a place like this, so I don't intend to try them. There were small bottles of very acceptable olive oil and balsamic vinegar on each table if you like that sort of thing. (By the way, in central Italy, the oil and vinegar generally are for dressing the salad, rather than for the bread as is the custom here.)

We found the service to be fine, so perhaps they've straightened out the earlier glitches. We were seated within a few minutes, and the server showed up very shortly and handed over the wine list. The pizzas came very quickly, and she stopped by a couple of times to see if everything was ok. The espresso order was taken and delivered in a timely manner.

Pie-Tanza is a relatively small, very attractive place. It has lot of hard surfaces, making it rather noisy. It's pretty child-friendly, which also explains some of the noise. If that bothers you, go late on a school night.

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