Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review: Arturo's Coal Oven Pizza, Greenwich Village, NYC

On a warm summer Sunday, we traveled into the Village with pizza brunch in mind. We targeted Arturo's, but found a long line around noon. We instead had our brunch at John's Pizza on Bleecker Street and went on with a day of shopping and strolling. Well, we spent enough time shopping that 5pm rolled around and we decided to eat before heading back to Brooklyn. Walking back towards our car, we went by Arturo's and saw no lines!  The handful of al fresco tables on the street were taken, so we retreated into the "air-conditioned dining room."

Arturo's is a cozy place with two large dining areas of dark wood trim. The front room has a bar, and while we were there a nice jazz combo played softly. There is one, and only one, odd unisex restroom that includes a tub and shower!  In case you get red sauce on your white shirt?  At any rate, this place oozed old-fashioned charm and it's easy to imagine a scene from a mafia movie being filmed here.

I had two dining companions, who gladly ate pizza at brunch, but who needed no more for the day. One ordered spaghetti bolognese, the other chose amaretto cheesecake.  I usually select a margherita or sausage pie for evaluation of a new place, but this time I ordered pepperoni.

In other reviews, I have noted that I find there are two superior types of crust -- thin and crunchy Trenton style, or puffy and charred and chewy, Neapolitan style. The top Trenton type pies are DiFara of Brooklyn and DeLorenzo's; the top Neapolitans are Motorino of NY and Osteria in Philly. Arturo's crust is almost a hybrid of these styles, but let's call it simply a thin and crispy version of Neapolitan. This pie had a beautiful, textbook char on the bottom. The sauce and cheese were good, not great. The pepperoni added a nice zing but it seemed pretty conventional.

In fairness, it's best to have pizza when you are craving pizza. I still had four slices of John's pizza in my belly when we hit Arturo's.  So I very much enjoyed this finely crafted pie, but there was no swooning. I actually had a fuller appreciation of it the next day when I reheated the final slice in the toaster oven.

I never got a bite of the cheesecake! The spagehetti bolognese was just okay. In fact, here is a dish where a much superior version can be found in West Chester PA at Nonna's on Gay St. There, the bolognese and the osso buco are sublime.

Arturo's is great pizza; it's destination pizza. It's crust can stand with almost any; the sauce and cheese are fine but not distinctive. We're awarding 8.5 stars to Arturo's, and they nudged out John's on Bleecker for the best pizza of the day.

Arturo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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