Lucali’s is an enigma to me. The restaurant serves good pizza in a ‘romantic’ (that means candlelit and dark) setting, but is quite expensive and difficult to get a table at.
Straightforward so far, the problem comes if you start reading all the reviews of the place. Lucali’s has been said by many to be one of the best in NYC, and even by some as in the top 5 of the whole country. This is pretty big talk for a place that believes pizza belongs to them. ‘While the Neapolitans may have invented/perfected it, we care far more about it and hence by right believe we should be its master and judge.‘ This seems fair enough, certainly in NY pizza is an obsession and there are a lot of people who will happily spend hours arguing for their shout as best pizza joint.
It comes down to who you believe. Every professional critic that I can find gives Lucali’s a very positive review, and I tend to agree, as I said at the start it is good pizza. However herein lies the problem. The perception maybe that a professional critic some how has an elevated palette and knows something we do not. Well maybe they do when it comes to 3 star food. Not because of any innate ability, lets face it most restaurant critics are just journalists who were offered the gig of free meals and were not foolish enough to turn it down, but because as a critic they get to eat at every top place and hence through simple repetition get the knowledge to compare one top meal from another. The same cannot be said for pizza, we have all had plenty of opportunity to eat it so I believe there is little need to rely upon a professional review.
So, if your eating pizza forget the reviews in Time Out, NY Magazine or The Times and just head straight for the comments posted on Yelp, Qype or any other online reviews, they will tell you all you need to know. The truth about Lucali’s is that it’s a good neighbourhood restaurant. The pizza is tasty, a little too expensive and definitely overhyped, but if you can get a table without too much hassle you are guaranteed a decent meal.
NB. If you are looking for good info on Pizza check out Slice, its a website devoted to pizza and if anyone is going to give you good advice on where to eat pizza its this site.
I will also be throwing in my 2 cents with a guide to NY’s top pizza, however first I need to get to the legendary Di Fara before I can pass judgement.
Have to also mention Lucali’s is Jay Z favourite pizza joint too, i know because the first time i went he sat right behind me, i was lucky……these poor people were kicked out to make room for J and Beyonce!!! This is their subsequent vent on a review website.
“It was actually the rudest thing that’s ever happened to me in a restaurant in New York. He asked us to eat as fast as possible and leave…as he put down our entrees! He did this 1/2 hour before they showed up, so he knew they were coming. When we expressed that it’s kind of rude to put down an entree and tell your diner to eat and leave as quickly as possible (especially because other tables had been there longer), he said “Something came up! I’ve got a situation! I need this table. I’ll pay for your dinner.” Thanks! We left into the cold night raging about our ruined birthday dinner. I couldn’t tell if it was sexist because we were three girls and he thought we’d meekly trot off, or he just wanted our table because it was right next to his. But the whole thing was insane.”