Monday, December 14, 2009

Il Fornaio Pizza: "This is the worst part of my job."

Il Fornaio
is like, the classic "perfect pizzeria." Amazing awning/storefront, totally warm on the inside, both literally and figuratively. There's only one dude in there, and he makes all the pizza himself. He seems to totally love his job and doesn't mind making people wait while he moves about at a snails pace, something I appreciate. I was watching a video of Frank Zappa as a guest on some tv show in the 60s with my rooommate, and watching it he was like, "people had a much longer attention span in the 60s. No one would sit through something this slow on television nowadays." And he's right. Now I'm not here to yearn for yesteryear or bemoan how shitty everything is today, but let's be real, everyone could do to relearn a little more patience.

But I didn't really like the pizza. It just seemed sloppily prepared and was definitely undercooked. There was so much sauce slopped on it was like eating soup and the dough was mushy as fuck. Total mindblowing bummer times up in here. This place is so charming that I bet if I said the slice was good no one would disagree with me, for fear of hurting this old guy's feelings or whatever. But really, it's nothing special. Any pizza tourist worth her salt should still stop by this place just to see what it's all about, but it's for the experience and not for the food.

Il Fornaio
1505 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10029

1 comment:

  1. Hi Colin, I was in the area last Thursday and came upon this place. It dawned on me that sliceharvester was now working its way through the Upper East and I wondered if you had discovered Il Fornaio yet. Lo and behold you beat me to the punch by 3 days.
    I have to say that the slices I got (2, plain) were definitely less raw than this one seems. In fact the dough was perfect, not too "doughy" and just the right crunch. There did seem to be a little too much cheese and sauce on the already-large slice, but the ingredients did seem to be quality. They did not seem artificial at all, but somehow were a little bland.
    But now I'm starting to wonder, as you have, about whether or not the charm of the place-- throwback fake-wood walls and minimal decor-- might have thrown me a bit. And the lone dude, Frank, I heard him called, seemed exactly to me as you described him above: sweet and slow, just as it ought to be.
    I also kind of liked the way he pre-folded my slices on plates to fit them both in a narrow brown-bag "to-go" bag, something that would have been horrifying if the dough was that raw and the pizza was that soupy. It seemed real and old-school to do it that way but he probably just wanted to get me the hell out of there.
    So in addition to the charm factor throwing off my better judgement, I'm guessing there's a measure of inconsistency in these pies, even if they are fresh and hot out of the oven. I realize you've got a lot more pizza eating to do, but I would recommend your readers give this place at least a second chance.