The first sign that we had made the right choice of restaurant was when we were promptly seated after only about 15 minutes of waiting. This was no mean feat considering we were a big group of 12 people and it was packed as it was dinner time when we went there! We were seated at a spacious table a small distance from the huge oven where the pizzas were freshly made, which provided us with a great source of entertainment as we waited for our food to arrive. It was pretty interesting to see the dough being rolled out, filled with toppings and then put into the fire-ey hot brick oven that I estimated to be about the size of half my bedroom at home…
The person making the pizza in front of the huge oven!
And then our food arrived and the feasting began.
Linguine Alle Vongole
Linguine Alle Vongole ($14.99): Linguine pasta served with little neck clams with your choice of red or white sauce. The plate arrived piled high with clams and pasta, and the serving proved to be big enough for 2 people. My cousin had chosen a white sauce that he said provided a nice sweetness to the juiciness of the clams, as a red sauce would have been slightly too tart for his liking. One complain that he had, however, was that the pasta was slightly under-cooked and slightly too hard and ‘chewy’, you may say, to be considered ‘al dente’ . But other than that, he was very very pleased with this filling dish!
Penne Arrabbiata ($10.50): Penne pasta served in a spicy marinara sauce. I tried this pasta (my aunt had ordered it) as it had no meat in it and liked it quite alot (even though I normally don’t take spicy sauces). The penne was cooked perfectly and provided a nice amount of bite, and the marinara sauce had the right amount was sweetness, but tangy at the same time. The only improvement I would have made to this dish would have been to add some mushrooms, broccoli or maybe some whole roasted cherry tomatoes, or Italian sausage in order to add some contrasting textures to the dish, as after a couple of bites the dish become sort of one-note and boring for me (and I only took a couple of spoonfuls of it!). A hearty and satisfying dish overall, but it would have benefited from the addition of some protein and vegetables!
John's Traditional Pizza with Pepperoni
John’s Traditional ($15.75 for a large pizza): Mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce with the additional topping of Pepperoni ($2.50). I cannot comment on the pepperoni or the prosciutto as I did not eat either of them, but I can say that the pizza on its own was great! The crust was just the sort of crust that I like, thin and crispy, and definitely not doughy or tough. The mozzarella cheese provided just the right amount of saltiness to balance out the sweetness of the tomato sauce, making each bite of pizza a very pleasant and well-balanced one! My mum (who is a huge fan of pepperoni) did mention that the pepperoni slices were nothing special and just alright, although they were a tad too tough for her liking.
John's Traditional Pizza with Prosciutto
John’s Traditional ($15.75): Mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce with the additional topping of Prosciutto ($4.25). This pizza proved to be the hit of the meal as every slice was soon snatched up! The prosciutto ham was described, by my pizza-loving cousin, as ‘delicate pieces of salt-tinged goodness that decorate each slice of pizza and provide so much flavour in each mouthful’. I would think that she enjoyed this pizza. A lot.
Our “Hawaiian” Pizza ($19.00 for a large pizza): Mozzarella cheese, ham and pineapples (No tomato sauce). My dad did mention that this pizza was a pretty standard version of the hawaiian pizza with the usual toppings of ham and pineapples. However, my dad said that it was the thin and crispy crust which elevated the pizza to a whole new level! I guess just like how Shakespeare once said that ‘the clothes maketh the man‘, it can also be said that ‘the crust maketh the pizza‘!
All in all, I would highly recommend you to try this place if you’re ever in NYC and are looking for a restaurant with a very cosy and vibrant atmosphere, coupled with simpler yet exquisite food and impeccable service! This restaurant has often been described as the quintessential restaurant to visit if you’re ever on the lookout for genuine ‘New York-style pizza‘. The fact that the place was packed with locals is testament to how good the food is!