For over a year now, when Aviva and I have talked about pizza, the conversation has turned to DiFaras, the pizza place that we were told was the best in the city. This small restaurant, located at 15th and Avenue J in Midwood, is kind of legendary. It has been written up in every New York publication imaginable, from The New York Times to Time Out New York to Zagats, and in all of them it is considered one of the purest, best examples of pizza there is. So when our friend Ilana was in town visiting from Boston, we figured dragging our fellow foodie out for a ridiculous pizza experience would be perfect. (Another example of how good the pizza was - Ilana does not often eat cheese and we ordered her slices without cheese, but when then came covered in cheese and she tried them they were so good that she had not issue wolfing the cheese down without a thought:)
Initially, we had heard about DiFaras from Koffman, and had wanted to go last year, but Dom broke his hip and the craft of pizza making there is such that only Dom, who has been running this pizza place alone or with his sons since the 1960's, makes the pizzas. He has been doing this so long that he can take the 600°C pans holding the fresh pizzas with still bubbling cheese and crust out of the ovens with his bare hands. Then, with a care that belies the layers of calluses on his palms, he shreds fresh basil onto the hot pies. Dom uses the finest ingredients, the flour, extra-virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese are all brought from Italy, and the basil is from Israel.
Now that Doms hip was healed, we finally made our pilgrimage. We got there at about 1225 and it was already mobbed, with about 40 people packed in watching Dom and one of his sons make the pies. The lucky few who had pies were greedily downing them at the few tables scattered around the restaurant. We quickly placed an order for a full pie and two pieces of the square pie. The squares came quickly, after about 10 minutes, and we found some space in the back corner and wolfed them down. But the whole pie took another hour and a half, time which we filled watching Dom make pizza and reading the many, many articles about DiFaras all over the walls. Also during this time, Koffman spent a lot of time describing how spectacular the pizza was going to be. When our pie finally came we were ravenous, and wolfed it down in about 20 minutes. And I gotta say, it was completely worth it. Fantastic pizza, perfectly greasy and cheesy, with just the right amount of spice on the top. Incredible. We ate each piece with relish, sopping the extra grease up with the crust, and then licking the pan. As you can see I am shocked and dismayed when I realize there is nothing left. However, as an added bonus, the girls next to us couldn't finish their sausage and pepper pie but didn't want to waste the extra, so we helped them out and finished it off.
After cleaning the pan, smiling at all the other satisfied customers and generally basking in the glow of the greasy deliciousness we just finished, we made our way out of the place, saying thanks to Dom on the way out. We picked up a black and white and some ruggaluch at the kosher bakery across the street, got in the car and headed back for a long walk in Prospect Park, a perfect way to settle ourselves after such an orgiastic eating experience.