LOCATION: Nick's (94th street and 2nd avenue, NYC)
GUEST(S): Robin Rothman, Lewis Sandler, Kitzi Taylor
ORDER: 1 slice of cheese, 2 slices of pepperoni and mushroom
PIZZA REPORT: Oven question solved! Coal-fired brick ovens are great but they're also highly regulated and therefore extremely expensive to build. Due to the fire hazard, no new pizza place can open with a coal oven in the building unless 'grandfathered in' (i.e. built before the regulations). Nick's pizza has a solution. Their cynderblock material oven powered by gas comes about as close as possible to coal-fired brick oven pizza with what some would argue as an improvement. The two noticiable differences are that the edges are only slightly charred and the pizza crust, as a whole, remains soft and chewy even as it cools. Nick's, in the tradition of the better known pizzerias, also uses high quality ingredients. The pepperoni and mushrooms were delicious on their own. I know this because they fell off the slice when I lifted it. I suppose the fresh mozzarella and the copious tomato sauce combined with the toppings to overpower the archetectural integrity of the gas powered crust. This caused one of my slices to fall apart and make a mess. Of course, pizza is one of those messes I don't mind cleaning up.
ATMOSPHERE: All the comforts of a date place. Nick's ovens serve both form and function. In spite of cooking a slightly soggy pizza, they provide a beautiful backdrop for the seating area in the front of the store. The comfortable temperature inside, despite the chilly weather outside, almost makes it seem you are being warmed by the very visible flames in the back of the twin ovens. The soft background music, nice wait staff, clean interior, great tasting pizza, and reasonable prices make you wonder how come there isn't a line out the door. Then you realize there is another equally pleasant seating section in the rear. If you want good and you want it now, go to Nick's!
VERDICT: 3.5 out of 5
MISC:1. My mom meets Robin Rothman for the first time and they rate each other based on pizza slices.
2. Lewis Sandler explains the stain on his shirt and does a real spit take.
3. I put a portion of Kitzi Taylor's stand up comedy routine.