|Dean’s Pizzeria & Restaurant|
215 West 85th Street
New York, NY, 10024
Cuisine: Pizza , Italian
Menu Details: Calamari Fritti, Pasta Fagioli, Caesar Salad, Old School Round, Extra Tomato Sauce
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If you’ve ever wondered if Nick’s, Angelo’s, and Patsy’s – three of the city’s pre-eminent pizza chains – are related, the short answer is yes. (The long answer involves some complex genealogy.). Add to that list Dean’s, which has just opened its second Manhattan branch in a gorgeous space on West 85th Street that used to be the grand ballroom of an Art Deco Hotel. Many of the original details of this vast space – which seats over 200 people (not including a small sidewalk café) -- remain, including beautiful moldings, Greco-Roman columns, and stained glass, while the seating is decidedly modern and comfortable.Review By: Brian Scott Lipton
The food may not exactly match the setting, but executive chef Joe Maulo isn’t content to serve just the ordinary. Yes, some familiar fare can be found, including the addictive fried zucchini and eggplant rounds that always start my meals at Patsy’s. But much of the cuisine is a notch above, such as a zesty salad that incorporates blue cheese, walnuts, and Granny Smith apples dressed in a beautifully balanced sherry vinaigrette. Even the tricolore salad gets an added touch here, via a healthy smattering of lentils.
If you come for the brick-oven pizza, you won’t be disappointed -- whether you order the now-traditional thin crust version made with fresh mozzarella and a large choice of toppings or Dean’s special Grandma’s pizza, a square pie with a thicker crust and a rich four-cheese topping. Both are quite satisfying, and sure to please the kids.
But the fairly extensive menu spotlights a number of other worthy creations – available both in individual and family-size portions. I was particularly pleased with a lively farfalle with a fresh spinach sauce and lots of steamed vegetables and a very good lasagna Bolognese crowned with a mound of béchamel sauce. Most surprising to me, since I wouldn’t normally order fish in a pizza place, was the excellent herb-crusted crispy sole.
Generous portions make saving room for dessert a challenge. But I urge to you give it your best shot and then go for the divine Napoleon – more Italian than French to be sure – which is covered in whipped cream. It’s a tad excessive to be sure, but really, what’s wrong with that?
Neighborhood: West 80s
Entree Price: $10-15