Friday, April 29, 2011

New York Style

Talk to anyone from New York about pizza and they’ll probably tell you that their style is the best. An offspring of the Neapolitan pizza it’s characterized by a thin, high gluten  crust, light on sauce and cheese. Toppings are optional as the true slice (so say diehards) is sauce and cheese only. Famous for being hand tossed and sold by wide, thin foldable, very portable slices.
In 1905 New York grocery Gennaro Lombardi was issued a mercantile license and his store began operation as the first pizzeria in the United States. Selling his tomato pies to Italian workers by the slice as money was scarce, Gennaro basically invented the pizza industry in the United States. Customers would buy 1 or 2 cents worth (for example) and slices were cut accordingly. They were wrapped up and taken to work.
In 2009, friends Brad Davidson, Alejandro Bustamante and Robert (Baldi) Prete decided to help resurrect the sad pizza scene in Toronto. Dominated by the big pizza conglomerates the little guy churning out great pies was slowly being squeezed out. Working long hours perfecting the dough and sampling cheeses and the like they began to craft what they thought was a slice worthy of some of the great pizzerias in NYC. Robert even visited the Big Apple for a little field research. Poor guy having to take one for the team like that.
Finally in late 2010 they opened Bigabaldi’s Pizzeria and joined the few stalwart take out pizza places that have managed to fend off the chain pizza invasion.
The small store on Marlee Ave is decked out like a typical take out pizza place but the addition of a hot table for things like meatballs, roast chicken and vegetables along with other items make it almost like an Italian bakery.
Behind the counter the boys are doing as much themselves in house. What they can’t they source out from quality vendors. The pizza dough is phenomenal. Very crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth fluffy on the inside. It’s not quite as thin as the Roman style pizza I had at Beppo Uno but crispier and is the best crust I’ve ever had. I’ve never been to New York nor have I ever had someone who knows tell me “This is it” so I really have no benchmark but I do know good pizza when I eat it and this stuff is great.
The Italian sausage is made to their special recipe and is very chunky.
The meatballs are exceptional. Made from Baldi’s grandmother’s recipe they’re made of beef and pork and then poached/simmered in a red sauce. They’re very tender with a nice onion taste. I had them in a sandwich and it was great. The Kaiser, while not my first choice for bread was perfect in that it wasn’t crusty so the innards didn’t squish out the back. I added only a good dusting of grated parm.
The “Baldi” slice is goat cheese, rapini, roasted garlic and Italian sausage along with mozzarella and tomato sauce.  One of their most popular slices and very tasty.
The “Bigga” slice is the one for me though. Pepperoni, bacon, mortadella and Italian sausage along with mozzarella and sauce. One of the best combinations of toppings and as a meat lover, perfect IMHO.
Another great offering is the panzarotti. The deep fried pizza turnovers are stuffed with sauce  and cheese (and pepperoni). A little of the house red gravy on top and dusted with parm and you got a great meal.
The dough knots are excellent. I’ve had a lot of these type things in pizza places and none are better. Made for a desert they’re tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with Nutella or caramel. I think the caramel is the better choice.
Brio is a chinotto flavoured soda. Chinotto is similar to an orange but has a slightly bitter taste. The drink itself has appearance of a Cola. I like it for a change once in a while.
You can find Bigabaldi’s Pizzaria at 1 Romar Cres in Toronto.

View Larger Map
You can also find them on the web or like them on facebook.

Well that’s all for now pizza fans.


1 comment:

  1. Damn, looks good!
    Toronto is really a great int'l cuisine city.\