LOCATION: California Pizza Kitchen (201 East 60th St, NYC)
GUEST(S): Jarret Berenstein
ORDER: 5 slices of individual Pepperoni Pomodoro, 1 slice of individual Thai Chicken
(photo taken from camera phone since my camera battery died)
PIZZA REPORT: California Pizza Kitchen is totally gnarly! 'Gnarly' in a good and delicious way, of course. They create new ways to enjoy pizza without forgetting the old. I had a little of the old and new. My pepperoni pomodoro pizza, representing the more traditional approach, came speckled with well distributed spicy pepperoni on a canvas of fresh mozzarella cheese and seasoned tomato sauce, all atop a thin yet sturdy crust. I swore it sparkled in the light, but, I later determined it was the oil. According to my eating companion, the specialty pizzas are the reason he's been to the California Pizza Kitchen hundreds of times. The specialty pizza I had was the Thai Chicken. It was superb. A bit smaller in size but it more than made up for it in taste. The mixture of cheese with carrots, peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and tender chunks of chicken was incredible. Even Thai restaurants could learn a thing or two from "CPK" as I was informed it's called out West. CPK is AOK!
ATMOSPHERE: Surprisingly spacious. In New York City, rarely do you find a pizza place with high ceilings, spread out tables, and gigantic windows. CPK has all of these. The restaurant itself is also set back within the block to further distance it from city traffic noises. It is so quiet and spacious, you might think you were in California. Good choice to be more 'California' and less 'kitchen'. The cleanliness of the whole restaurant, mood music, and well dressed, well-mannered wait staff convert this pizza place into a date place. But, in doing so, it does tack on a few extra bucks to the bill. Oh, and if you arrive during the evening rush, be prepared to take temporary ownership of a light-flashing vibrating "beeper". Also, people tend to concentrate immediately inside the revolving door so beware of it or you may find yourself revolving around the door multiple times.
VERDICT: 4 out of 5
MISC.: Jarret Berenstein and I talked about OJ Simpson, Civil War battlefields, and hauntings.