On Twitter a few weeks back, someone linked to my pizza reviews while they were on a Pizza Tasting Tour in New Jersey. At the time, they were at Patsy’s in Paterson, a place that we haven’t been to yet. They also mentioned another place in Montclair, and I asked the head chief reviewer which he would recommend first. He said to go to Patsy’s if you love idiosyncracies. And so it was.
So if you’re from New Jersey, you’ll likely know that Paterson isn’t really where you want to hang out. A non-descript building in a not-so-good area of town, I could see how Patsy’s wouldn’t get more than a passing mention, if that. But Mystic and I were out sans kids, so considered it a safe bet. Or generally speaking anyway.
The outside brick facade is at complete juxtaposition with the interior of the restaurant. Once inside and seated, it felt like we were at our Italian grandmother’s kitchen table. Cute booths boasting 1950s Formica tabletops and food arriving on mismatched old-fashioned plates. Love it. I didn’t go around the room and query the other dinner guests, but I would have bet most of them were Italian and either grew up in the neighborhood way back when, or moved away and were coming “home.” It felt like home. Like Sunday dinner any night of the week.
I’ve noticed a few things when Mystic and I have gone out to eat lately. 1) He always orders an appetizer. 2) He is into food the way I am. 3) He understands the need for the perfect food photo before we dig in. Relationships have been built on far less. He gets #3 to the point that we now bring home some of our food so I can take more pictures at home, where I have the opportunity to play with lighting and take my time. I love that about him.
When it comes to ordering pizza in our ongoing quest to find the best, I have one hard and fast rule. You have to taste the restaurant’s cheese pizza. They need to be able to conquer the standard pie before mucking around with toppings. And so our pizza was half cheese, and half black olive and mushroom.
Patsy’s pizza is baked in a pan, which explains those fun, funky edges. It’s a sturdy dough, so totally stands up to folding without giving way to floppiness. But there are no bubbles to be found (and I do love my bubbles) and very little charred bits (and I happen to love those too). The sauce was okay, not exceptionally robust, and I felt it needed a little salt.
The cheese is non-stringy, and I prefer it a little bit stringier. I mean, half the fun is having a long strand of mozzarella stretch from your mouth to the slice. Particularly when on a date. No? The slices that had topping were way too overloaded. And the mushrooms are canned. I seriously hate that.
- Not a Coke establishment. Didn’t taste like Pepsi either, so our money is on RC
- Attentive staff
- Bar available
- On-street parking
- Good calamari. A little on the spicy side (we requested mild), but a very tender bite
- Even though we went on a Friday night, there was plenty of available seating
Patsy’s Tavern & Pizza
72 7th Avenue
Paterson, NJ 07524-2005
Was it New Jersey’s best? No. But I would go back. I’ve heard great things about their baked pastas, and I love the “you feel like you’re at home but really not” vibe. Iffy neighborhood aside.
Miss our other pizza reviews?
Luigi’s in Succasunna
Reservoir Tavern in Boonton
Margherita’s Pizza & Cafe in Hoboken
Star Tavern in Orange
Grimaldi’s in Hoboken
Annabella’s Pizzeria in Parsippany
Fenicci’s Restaurant & Tavern in Hershey, PA
M&S II Pizza in Rockaway, NJ
June 22, 2011 – Bonus Photos
I interviewed the kids tonight during dinner (part of that coming in tomorrow’s post) and when I was done, Madeline turned the tables on me and began interviewing me. “Mommy, what do you do for work? What else? And what else? Anything else?”
For an end-of-year celebration, we threw an ice cream social for Nick’s class. He grabbed my camera midway through to take a picture of one of his classmates’ creation. Ice cream party at 11 am? Yes, please.