DAY 30: OCTOBER 30th, 2010
LOCATION: Mario's (Arthur Avenue, Bronx)
ORDER: 4 slices of a personal appetizer pie, 4 slices of an entree pie
GUEST: Adam Kuban and his guest
Great pizza despite its own best interest.
Raising the price, hiding it on the menu, and being surrounding by pizzerias are three tactics used by Mario's Restaurant to hide the fact they make some pretty high quality pies. This Bronx Little Italy trattoria is an Italian restaurant first and foremost and has put forth a concerted effort to distance themselves from the word "pizzeria." But there's just one problem...Mario's serves delcious pizza!
Located at the bottom of the Appetizers section of the menu, "individual Pizza" is the only indicator Mario's even serves it. No where is there any mention of available toppings, pie sizes, or even that it is circular. Though not listed, there is an entree version of the "individual Pizza" as well. I know, because i ordered them both.
"i'll have the Individual pizza as an appetizer and then pizza for the main course," I explained to the waiter. I always wanted to say that.
When my appetizer arrived, many questions were answered. The "individual Pizza" is an eight inch wide Neopolitan (circular) thin crusted pie cooked in a gas-powered deck oven with low-moisture mozzarella cheese. Upon eating a slice, my pizza guest (SliceNY's Adam Kuban) and I deduced that it was a "cooked" red sauce beneath the herb and spice infused toppings. A lot of cooking expertise went into this under-appreciated appetizer. I surely appreciated it! The crust was cooked to perfection and the crushed red pepper and basil provided a nice one-two flavor combo that had me looking forward to the main course - which, thankfully, was larger.
Since Mario's is a fine-dining establishment more-so than a pizzeria, the price tag for my pair of pizzas was a bit on the steep side. Had I ordered just one I doubt my appetite would have been sated; also, the staff might not have been as friendly. As it was, the staff was extremely nice. Mario's has been family owned and operated since 1919.
If I find myself in the Arthur Avenue area of the Bronx, I would most certainly return to Mario's. Next time I may order a different entree but that pizza appetizer sure would be hard to pass up.
4.05 out of 5
17/21 = .810 x 5 = 4.05
1. Adam Kuban founded sliceny.com - the greatest pizza resource on the web! He also posted his review of our meal here: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/11/marios-pizza-arthur-avenue-the-bronx-nyc-review.html
2. Is it dorky to be happy to have gone to both Mario's and Luigi's in the same pizza month? Probably. But I did it! :)
3. I met the owners (the Migliucci's) who pronounce Mario like "Mare-ee-ohs" so, from now on, I will too!