Di Fara in Midwood is generally acknowledged as one of the best slices in all of New York, worth the $5 price tag and long train ride for the pure, old-school perfection of the whole thing. It’s even got the official “Best Pizza in New York” endorsement of our mayor! But “Best ___ in NY” debates are nothing if not lightning rods for dissent, and a critic has finally turned up who’ll publicly trash the place, not just willingly, but gleefully. That critic is Katie Parla.
In an article today for Food Republic, Parla slams Dom DeMarco for artificially high prices, and sub-par ingredients, among other things. Some pertinent sections:
” Articles and TV shows have cast him as a perfectionist with a slavish devotion to tradition and quality. Yet his poor choice of ingredients and disappointing pizzas seem to suggest otherwise. […] In pizza making, if you start off with poor quality ingredients, the final product is doomed. Indeed, at Di Fara, the sloppy crust made from Italian flour ranges from overcooked and chalky to chewy and insipid. The meat toppings are ordinary. But the cheese was the most terrifying part. With each bite, the grease from both the melted mozzarella and Berio’s sub-par oil hit my palate, coating it with a bland viscosity. This was immediately followed by the liberally salted tomato sauce; its straightforward savory note was the only thing that made the pizza a slight notch above edible. But by the second slice, the grease from the pizza had soaked through the dough, leaving it flabby and dull.”
She goes on to call DeMarco’s pies “boring at best, and at worst a Q express train ride to stomach cramps.” One could make the argument that an oily, cheese-laden, no-frills slice is often exactly what the doctor ordered, but we suppose she raises a valid point. There are plenty of places that put more care into their ingredients than Di Fara and charge a lot less, and the place is probably best if you’re in the mood for a highly specific type of pizza. She weakens her argument by using Williamsburg’s Best Pizza as a counterpoint; their pizza is excellent, but the crust tends to be too weak to allow you to eat a slice the proper way (the whole thing is liable to collapse on you!). In any case, a truly good bad review is always a beautiful thing. And we’d very much like some pizza now.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.