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Showing posts with label Pizza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pizza. Show all posts

Friday, July 25, 2014

NYC: Artichoke Slice @ Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, Gramercy

I was chatting to a couple of newly met friends when I asked "What would you recommend a tourist to eat in New York?", the prompt answer “Pizza” came first.  Without a doubt I enjoy crusty slices of pizza with generous toppings.  But with a city so bold so as to name a style of pizza after itself, it was clear that everyone will be calling their pie the best in town.  Online searches never quite worked either.  Too many haters out there.  So I fell back to a couple of Facebook schoolmates and the name Artichoke Basille’s Pizza came tops. 


They now have three branches and since I was about to dine at Gramercy Tavern, I decided to drop by for a slice of pizza at the Gramercy district branch. At 10.30am, there was absolutely no queue besides a granny.  Walking in I heard heard an old lady said, "I need this packed I cannot finish."  I was puzzled.  But not so after I ordered a slice of the infamous Artichoke slice @ $4.50.  

Stretched over two party plates.. wtfk was this monster?  American slice for the win.  It had a pretty good pastry that was cooked just nice.  Sadly though it did not sport the fragrance of a well-oiled pizza tray.  But I loved their tasty cream based sauce.  Very, very tasty.  It carried the hints of garlic, parsley and onions.  The stringy cheese topped the slices perfectly.  In other words, generous !  Then there were the little slices of translucent artichoke hidden the underneath but it was barely seen.  Weird to call this an Artichoke Slice. Could have had more artichokes :)! Toward the end I sprinkled some chilli flakes and really liked how it tasted.  Sprinkled more and more and more.  Oops.  Burnt tongue (and an ulcer soon followed =.=!)

Reading several reviews about Artichoke Basille's in the night got me annoyed when I found that many comments about this pizza place such as burnt crust, hyped for its hipster vibe, ridiculous queues and that sort of shit people make claims of were utterly untrue.  Coming in to see a granny at 10.30am, with no queues to eat a delicious slice of pizza reflected the credibility of the internet at times.  At Artichoke Basille's it was simple and tasty!  The only true part was the lack of artichokes which I was not really bothered by anyway :)!    Great stuff if you ask me!


Artichoke Basille's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bites: Ace Pizza @ Highgate

Sitting on the previous site of Barollo’s is Ace Pizza,  one of the hot new places in town.   Opening its doors to customers no more than a few months ago, it has been very well-received and most have had a great experience here.  With a strong team which also owns Cantina 663 and el Publico, Ace Pizza was almost surely to deliver.  I was excited.  But did it?  Well, looking at the history of the business, I have been to Cantina 663 and was blown away.  Cantina 663’s shared plates were a hit the moment it arrived at the table and that kept us wanting more.  This gave me high hopes for the starters that were about to hit the table soon!
The first appetizer for the night was the Chop Chop Beef.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACoarsely diced beef marinated in salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil served with crispy bread.  In the first instance, a spoonful on the edge of the crispy bread felt sufficient.  It was tasty but only very subtle.  But the second round came a little mundane. It needed more flavoring.  Maybe more lemon, salt and a hint of sugar.  Would not mine some heat too.  Sounds a little Viet/Thai/Mod Jap but it needed something.  Beef was mildly tender but this was not your typical beef tartar.  
The next appetizer was the meatball with pepperoni sauce.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis for me was where my sensations were heightened.  I was elated.  The sauce was flavorsome with just the right amount of acidity. I cannot distinguish all the seasonings but it worked.  With the boss bringing in some extra bread to mop up the yummy sauce, it was right on the dollar.  I loved this.  The meatballs were soft and could break apart if not spooned gently, but I could care less.  This was spot on!
Our next appetizer was the Mac n CheeseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         One of the most popular Mac n Cheese in town comes from Merrywell many would say.  I am a big fan of Merrywell too.  But when it comes to their bite sized Mac n Cheese, it was their HP Sauce which I loved.   Here though, the chunky Mac n Cheese was served with none.  But I get it.  Who needs a sauce when the fillings were already so yummy.  It was salty, and cheesy with a crisp outside.  It was really good.  In comparison, I would have to say that this makes the Mac n Cheese in Merrywell taste a little bland!  I also suspect they might have used a combination of cheeses!
We then move on to the mains.   Our first main was one from the oven, the Beef Short Ribs, carrots and pancetta.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeef ribs are probably one of the most gifted parts of a cow.  When cooked properly, it literally falls off the bone and its meat, to die for.  Just imagine a beautiful melt full of flavor from that perfect braise.  Here, it was exactly that.  So tender it would fall off the bone under its own weight.  It was its usual fatty self which means I had to cut away huge portions of fat or risk ending my night prematurely full from the lard.  Chopped coriander splashed across a diagonal was a smart herb move which complemented the beef well.  The side of carrots cooked in quality thick diced pancetta gave it an extremely good flavor which together with the caramelization, brought us to heaven.  But BEWARE that this is bloody sickening if eaten alone yet perfect when shared.  This lovely ribs brings me back to my trip to Cantina 663 last year! See it here WenY’s take on Cantina 663
The NY Strip Loin cooked to Medium – Rare was another main we ordered to share.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere, it was cooked perfectly.  The middle was dark red in color and it just looks spectacular when arranged the way Ace Pizza does it.  However, we lamented the cut.  None of us had eaten this part of the beef before and obviously without research, we jumped right in assuming that it would be tender.  But it was not :(!  It was tough but surprisingly flavorful.  I guess that might be its only consolation.  No second time for this one unfortunately!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat neon. Does Ace Pizza qualify?When I think of pizza, I think stretchy mozzarella, delicious toppings, and a crust to die for.  All the beautiful things a pizza has to offer.  We had two pizzas to share that night.  The pig lovers which was a continuation with my love affair for the meat and the other was a neutral preference, the fungi magico.  Do not worry, no magic mushrooms involved.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo where do I start? Ok, first things first. 
The stretchy mozzarella:  On both pizzas,  I wish there was more.  Maybe double.  As is, it was too little! 
The toppings:  For the pig lovers pizza, the toppings were adequate.  Large slices of pepperoni, and pancetta with two types of cheeses was a nice gesture.  Something I could definitely live with.  But with the magic mushrooms, I was a little astounded by the bareness of the terrain. I wanted generous amounts of mushrooms.  All the different types.  Earthy Portobello, with some thinly crisped, some plump button mushrooms and maybe throw in some Chiodini.  All those beautiful textures and flavors finished with crumbled ricotta.  Saying this,I am immediately reminiscing my on and off affair with Delizioso which makes the most beautiful mushroom pizza. Oh so good! 
Moving on with the base/crust: I soon start to forgive the lack of mozzarella.  At Ace Pizza, it felt as if they wanted to have subtle flavors that complements the base. Not the typical American overload.  The base was thin, crisp and over all good.  But for some odd reason, the fungi magico crust felt like it had a tad too much salt.  But in terms of consistency, I definitely liked this over the doughy ones from other places which includes the famous Little Caesar’s Pizza.  The one here was light and nice.  And then comes the Pig Lovers.  It was an experience which was marred by the fact that the toppings were pretty salty but the base was pretty thin.  At this point, my companions were like “salt overload”.
My take? I found a few slip ups but over all not a bad bite.   
Last but not least, we decided to give the desserts a try.  But we were not going to rush it.  We did it slowly.  If it was good, we ordered a next one.  Our first dessert for the night were the Tiramisu doughnutsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy preference for doughnuts has always been the good old deep fried ones.  Served warm, preferably, it should be fluffy and soft.  For a Tiramisu filling, fragrant and decadent but more on the sweet side instead of the mature liquor laced ones.  How were the ones here?  In terms of texture, it was a little denser than what I would have liked but definitely one notch better than the ones at Mary St. Bakery.  But it was ultimately the filling that we were not impressed by.  All it had to offer was a slight whiff of coffee fragrance which ended our joy quite prematurely. In the end it was OK only.
If I had to illustrate the enjoyment I had tonight, it started good with the Chop Chop beef, with my enjoyment peaking at the Mac n Cheese and Meatballs.  This followed through to the Short Ribs and it declined after.  Perhaps coming into what seemed like a pizza establishment, we expected a little more where pizza was concerned.  But here it was a little off.  The appetizers were good and so were the ribs.  With some burgers, this could be the best dude food establishment.  Unfortunately, it was not intended to be what it could have been.  Coming in at 6, the service was good but not great.  Still better than most places which are only average.  As for the pricing, I think what I paid for is decent in this environment.  A tad cheaper than Merrywell but easily comparable.  With all the mix comments I have given to Ace Pizza, the ultimate question really is; will I return?  Definitely a yes.  I so look forward to enjoying the starters again for sure.  Next time, I am definitely ordering the Lasagna which my foodie mate Queen of Bad Timing raves about!

See her reviews here Visit 1 and Visit 2.
Ace Pizza on Urbanspoon