28 Carmine, Mar. 16, 2005

The following is a review in the New York Press, that features some of what I said about my dinner here...

They're not foodies or winos; they just eat and drink a lot.
By Jennifer Blowdryer

No. 28 Carmine
28 Carmine St. (betw. Bedford & Bleecker Sts.),

I met two Chowhounds, David Sprague and Michael Mahle, at No. 28 Carmine for some pizza. Chowhounds are not foodies, their web site is quick to explain. They can think for themselves, thank you.

Sprague feels that has devolved a bit: "It's mostly questions like, 'Where can I get the best sushi?' It's gotten more diluted as it's been written about."

There's a big trend of disdaining tomato sauce, and indeed our first pizza was topped with mozzarella, walnuts and thin slices of pear. It was also oblong, Roman style.

"They use Bosc pears, rather than Bartlett," Michael noted. "Could be buffalo mozzarella," he added, sampling the calzone-type half of the pizza.

Despite being with two chowhounds, I loved the new taste so much I piled a few squares on my little plate in a feral panic. Next came a pizza with potato, salmon and caviar. It wasn't working for me, but Chef Salvatore, who is from Naples and has never worked for anybody, wanted to mess around a bit.

Dave and Michael bantered:

"The potato alone gives it a southwestern France feel, but then you add the salmon and caviar, and it blows it all out. I don't think it's bad; it's a unique dish."

"It's interesting. I like everything that goes into it."

"The caviar wasn't noticeable in my bite."


"Okay, let me try a scoop—oh, it's a lot different. But what do you think of the potato? I find it almost slippery, almost like they didn't let it soak enough and it still has the starch on it. Definitely a different dish."

"I like the pear and walnut a lot."

"Best of the three, I agree."

"So, what about De Marco's?" I broke in. It's a new place on Houston Street that New York magazine is always raving about.

Dave clued me in: "He's some kind of relative of a guy in Brooklyn who has Di Fara, and it's the best pizza I ever had. De Marco's opened partly on their strength, but the carry-out made me sad, kind of like Julian Lennon."

"Well, part of the success of pizza is a seasoned oven…" Michael said, starting out charitably.

"True, but [Di Fara's owner] grows basil in his backyard," Dave pointed out.

"What about Arturo's Pizza?" I turned to chef Salvatore for his thoughts.

"A coal oven! You cook bread in a coal oven, pizza in a wood oven!" he shouted emphatically, free of the local need to constantly cover your ass.

"What about John's?" I asked, egging him on.

"Before they closed, they were giving people pizza cooked earlier! It's time for a new generation!"

We were stuffed, but tried a smidgen of lasagna. It was light, amazing, kick ass, and somebody, I'm not sure who, made a final point: Never eat meatball and pasta together. You heard me; I didn't stutter.


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