Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Focaccina Pizzeria & Espresso Bar

There's a pizza shop around the corner from me that, before today, I had never tried. It's called Focaccina Pizzeria & Espresso Bar. For some reason it is designed like it is from the future. Outside it has a big tinted blue picture of Times Square. On top of the picture of Times Square, seemingly floating above it, haloed in white light, is a very flat pepperoni pizza with very evenly spaced pepperoni. Inside the restaurant everything is bright white or orange, including some uncomfortable looking futuristic stools.

I had noticed the place a few times before, but it is in the opposite direction of my normal walk to the subway and as a result I usually don't think to go there. Today however I was at home and hungry and I remembered the place. I decided to give it a shot. I walked over and, upon entering, noticed that there was no pizza by the slice on display. I approached the woman at the counter and asked if they had pizza by the slice. She said that yes they did and it was two dollars for a plain slice. I said that a plain slice sounded fine and I handed over my money. She told me to take a seat because it would be just a minute.

I took a seat and she disappeared into the back. A few moments later she returned with another employee who frowned at the oven for a second before going outside. This second employee soon returned with a third employee, both of whom disappeared into the back. The woman at the counter smiled at me and gave me a gesture that indicated it would be just one minute.

A couple minutes later the second and third employee came back. I didn't see what they did, but a minute after that the woman called me over and handed me my pizza. One look at the slice was enough to cause concern. I took the it over to the condiment counter to doctor it up. I covered the much too white cheese with oregano, parmesan, and pepper flakes. I left the store to walk back home and eat my slice.

Once outside I took a bite and with that bite I realized that one should never say never. I thought I had already eaten the worst slice of pizza in New York at a place called Café Amore. It was, to be sure, a close race, but I am convinced that this slice from Focaccino was, in fact, worse. There was nothing right with the pizza from Café Amore, but it wasn't nearly as downright sickening. Additionally, in contrast to the enigmatic origins of my slice today, at least I could see where the pizza from Café Amore had been sitting for hours and hours.

The slice from Focaccino seemed as though it had been languishing in a college dorm room refrigerator for a week before being warmed over in a microwave allowed to cool and then warmed over again. The sauce had permeated the crust to the extent that there was no freestanding sauce at all. The crust was gummy all the way through until you got to the limp cardboard-like bottom. The cheese was below school cafeteria caliber and extremely greasy. I didn't get through more than a third of the slice before I was compelled the throw it away

All in all a revolting experience.

Their website proclaims that they make "brick over pizza for the new century". I'm not sure why a new century would require a different type of brick oven pizza, but, if it does, I would argue for at least some of the elements of the previous century's brick oven pizza to be incorporated.

Plain Slice from Focaccina Pizzeria & Espresso Bar: F--


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