Don Antonio

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One of the things I really wanted to eat upon arriving home was some good 'ole New York City pizza. I may be one of the few, but I prefer the chewy crust, greasy $2 slices of pizza from the average pizzeria here in New York City to the fancy schmancy thin crust variety. I generally don't like thin, crispy crusts all that much.

For the average Yuppie (I am not currently one, but my friends generally are), the average corner NYC pizzeria is no place to have a catch-up meal. Because that would probably mean being ushered to the back of the parlor and hanging out with the employees while waiting for the pizza to bake, and being forced to listen to them hollering along to a Yankees game. I may be stereotyping, but this has happened to me twice, so I've taken it to be the classic NY pizzeria experience.

In any case, that wasn't the type of experience we were looking for, especially since those types of pizzerias are usually without air conditioning. We were looking for a quieter type of place to sit for a long while and catch up. I looked to the ever trustworthy MenuPages for a little help and discovered Don Antonio.

Quatro Formaggi
Caution: another terrible Laguna Beach-Hills reference approaching. When I hear Don Antonio, I think Mexican food and Spencer Pratt. It's the place in Los Angeles where Spencer took Heidi Montag on a "special date" and again to celebrate their anniversary some time later. (Didn't he take another girl on a "special date" there too?) Although, in retrospect, Don Antonio sounds more Italian than it does Mexican, doesn't it?

The NYC Don Antonio is a yuppie pizza-pasta restaurant. Its decor is extremely sleek, with a bar towards the front and an open pizza-making area (filmed and shown live on at least one television screen in the restaurant). It specializes in pizze fritte, which is basically Italian fried dough. Surprisingly, I am not a fan of fried dough and thankfully neither were my friends. We ruminated over the extensive menu (its pizza section alone separated into "pizze fritte," "pizze speciale," pizze bianche," and "pizza rosse") and decided on three pizzas to share between the three of us women.

Pizze Del Re
Though the pizzas were technically individual sized, we couldn't finish the three pizzas. We went with a pizze del re (truffle cream, homemade mozzarella, mushrooms, prosciutto di parma, and basil ... $19), quatro formaggi (imported buffalo mozzarella, gran cru, caciocavallo ragussano, parmigiano reggiano, crescenza belgioioso, and basil ... $15), and a "margherita (guaranteed typical specialty)" (tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella, pecorino romano, basil, and extra virgin olive oil ... $12). The house specialty is actually the "Antonio Starita’s Specialty" -- lightly fried pizza dough, topped with signature starita tomato sauce and imported smoked buffalo mozzarella ($12) -- but it was fried and one of my friends had tried it and said it had been only okay.

The pizzas were good -- not quite NY-style pizza, but not crispy by any means. It was chewy while actually very thin-crusted. My personal favorite was the quatro formaggi, but I liked the other two as well. I had misread the ingredient list for the pizze del re and had not expected the prosciutto -- which all three of us agreed had really no place on that pizza. We pulled the prosciutto off and ate them separate of the mushroom pizzas, which I thought were really flavorful with its hints of truffle cream. Yum yum yum. I would return, especially to try other varieties.

The best part was the cost -- with a generous tip, the bill came out to be $20 per person, which is a deal for dinner in Manhattan. Afterwards, we strolled to Pinkberry down 8th Avenue and each had a different flavor (chocolate hazelnut, pomegranate, and coconut) before rolling ourselves home.

Don Antonio
309 West 50th Street (close to 8th Avenue)

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