[Photo via Slice]
The scene above is outside the newly opened pizza joint on 14th street (between 1st and 2nd). Comparisons to Brooklyn's acclaimed Di Fara Pizzaria are running rampantly. I've never been to either, but I have seen the crazy behaviors exhibited by New Yorkers whenever talk of pizza comes up (not to mention bagels, burgers, and bookstores). Which is why I have to give props to owners Francis and Sal. Brave men they must be. I dream of opening many businesses, but a pizzeria in lower Manhattan? I would never commit my soul to that. New Yorkers are a tough enough group to please as it is. Good luck guys, you're going to need it. Some initial reviews from Slice readers below:
[Photo via Slice]
"We went to Artichoke this past Wednesday and I have to say it was GREAT!!! The spinach artichoke pizza was unbelievable as well as the other pizza (sicilian & regular). The two cousins that own it are really cool. They told us that Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was there the other night. They had all these italian specialty items like cauliflower fritters and stuffed artichokes and every day they make something different. The place is decorated so authentic italian. Can't wait to go back. Good Luck Guys!!!!"
"I agree with with Mr. Miller and Steve B - Artichoke is amazing! Although not quite Di Fara (understandably so), I would agree that Artichoke is Manhattan's best pizza place I've had the pleasure of tasting, so therefore I suppose you could consider it "Manhattan's version of Di Fara".
"Went last night at around 7PM. Found it to be wildly overrated. Definitely NOT DiFara level. I had a plain sicilian slice, and while the ingredients were high quality and the balance of cheese/sauce/crust was ok, it was far from a great slice of pizza. WAY too much oil/grease and a really uneven crust, some parts rock hard and burnt (not charred), some soggy and falling apart. I'd give it a 7/10 at best at this point.
Also, regarding service and first impressions of the kitchen, these boys need to get organized! They're not able to efficiently handle the ten or so people who were in the restaurant while i was there. Too many cooks in the kitchen, everybody bumping into one another, no clear division of responsibility. They were making fresh artichoke/spinach pies when nobody in the restaurant was ordering from the one that was already there, and people were scrambling for plain sicilians. Granted, that's their signature, but why make more if nobody is ordering them?"