Pizza Review
Philomena’s strikes the rare balance of doing a lot and doing it right, without doing too much. The shop itself is, at first, un-assuming; in fact I would almost describe the space as bare: Simple table, chairs, counter space - not too much to clutter the eye. But as you walk past the seating area and towards the counter, the shop begins to ever so slightly deviate from the expected. You notice that murals on the wall are not purely decorative - they tout the the quality and process of the product (not in the “best pizza in NY” type of way, but rather talking about the fermentation. When’s the last time you saw fermentation art?). You notice that there are alcoholic options at checkout. And most importantly, you see slices that are a bit beyond your neighborhood go-to. Squares with potato or broccoli rabe. Rounds with generous leopard spotting around the rim. I order a slice of the regular, a spicy Mikey (sopressata, onion, hot honey), and a zucchini square. The zucchini was a last minute decision because I was already bordering on full from the day’s trimalchian ventures. But again, my defiance of my stomach’s protestations paid off. The dough was ethereally light - way more air than crust but packed with flavor [evidently a ludicrously high 90% hydration that takes over an hour to mix]. Yet as pleasantly surprising as the lightness of the crust is, what really hits you is the way the crust is enhanced by the garlic oil. The spicy Mikey was no joke either - mikes hot honey always seems to steer a slice right. But the real star was the regular. Any slice that comes with fresh post-oven basil on top is already starting ahead in my book, and this slice stayed ahead. What first hits you is the super rich flavor of the mozz - I don’t know if it’s the ratio, the quality, or both, but it smacks you in the face. I was trepidatious about the crust because it didn’t look too charred on the bottom but it worked too: a super thin crust with a well developed crumb that hold up to the cheese. Everything about this place screams neighborhood slice joint - but it’s the sexy whispers of quality and thoughtfulness that push Philomena’s over the edge. [A quick aside: the owner, Dave, is an extremely friendly and courteous guy. Couldn’t ask for a more welcoming guy slinging pies and ringing the register]

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