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Monday, January 7, 2008

Italy Still Loves Roosevelt Island - and Nonno's Foccaceria Too


Our Italian friend/correspondent and six month Roosevelt Island resident still loves Roosevelt Island and says that the Nonno's mozzarella used on its pizza is the best he has tasted yet in NYC. The Board of Italian Residents on Roosevelt Island also agree that Nonno's is very good. On the negative side, he is not happy with the Red Bus system. Here is his update on an Italian living on Roosevelt Island.

I am the Italian guy you wrote about in a couple of your posts.
First of all congratulations for your blog. I read it all the times
and suggest it to all of my friends.

After 6 months of life on R.I. I still believe that this place is the
best place to live in NYC. No doubts about it.

However, one thing that can be improved is the bus service.
Considering that the bus is the only system of transportation
available on the island I believe it is not reliable or powerful
enough.
I often have to walk home from the subway or wait for unpredictable
time especially at night or during weekends. During rush hours,
instead, the bus comes quickly but you will rarely ride seated. Also,
the 25 cents fare is convenient but a bit odd. I don't carry around
much cash and find it annoying having to use coins or 1 dollar bills.
How about a 10/20$ card that one can charge once every while? How
about resident card that one can swipe or blink at some reader?

Now some good news.
I can tell you that the Board of Italian Residents on R.I. have
approved with good remarks Nonno's Pizza.
Nonno's its already on top of favourite food delivery options and I
believe the mozzarella used for their square Margherita is the best I
have tasted so far in Manhattan. I am happy they have opened on the
Island cause they make me feel even more like home.

Last, here is a picture taken from my Manhattan Park window that
shocked and made jealous all my friends back in Italy:
Image is here.

15 comments :

Anonymous said...

I agree that the toppings were good, but the crust leaves a lot to be desired. (see post below)

I hope that Nonno's doesn't feel that it can simply phone it in because it's on Roosevelt Island and has no competition. It would be wonderful to have a really good slice of pizza right on the island.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous above. The crust is really not that great (I am a Sal's Pizza kind of guy). I haven't tried anything else there, yet, because the lines are ridiculous. At lunch time the contractors from the Riverwalk construction fill up the joint and in the evening it's all the commuters coming from work.

Good for the Nonno's owner, though.

Anonymous said...

This is the post I alluded to on Jan. 7. I think it's worth repeating. If the pizzeria had a website, I'd sent it directly to them.

I'm very glad to have a pizzeria back on the island and I wish the owners the best of luck.

That being said, for the prices they are charging, I wish the pizza were a little better, based on the mushroom slice I had on Saturday. The topping was good, but the crust -- a significant part of the pizza experience -- tended more toward the sweet than savory, and had a cracker-like texture that made it impossible to fold without cracking.

The pizzeria has already risen above the usual Roosevelt Island Rule that states that every business has to be the worst example of its kind. I hope they will be even more ambitious and produce something that's really good.

People will actually travel to eat excellent pizza -- witness the lines at DiFaro's in Brooklyn, a place that originally catered only to the immediate neighborhood, but because of its quality, draws pizza-lovers from all over the city.

Anonymous said...

I tried a pasta dish tonight (take out). It was edible but that's about it. I guess I will keep ordering my Italian food from somewhere else.

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER said...

To 11:24 - I spoke with Nonno's about your comments and they agreed that the crust was sweet when they first opened. They have made some changes in the dough preparation. If you try them again let me know what you think.
To 10:40- Where else do you order your Italian from?

Anonymous said...

I tried it again yesterday. There was no mushroom pizza available, so I chose a broccoli and fresh tomato slice. It was re-warmed to tepid and when I picked it up, the toppings fell to the plate. I tried to eat the mess with a (plastic) knife and fork, but was unable to cut the crust, so I picked up the plate and headed toward to garbage bin. The owner (I presume) ran over to ask what the problem was. I told him the slice was inedible and he said they would give me another. I accepted and asked for "plain." The second slice was from a pie just out of the oven, burning hot. Again, the topping was good and the crust had improved from sweet to bland. I expressed my desire for greater improvement and was told that they are still in the shakedown period. I'm trying to remain hopeful.

If the ingredient-heavy toppings are not possible to make so that the slice can be eatn, they should drop them.

Octagon Pizza Junkie said...

I'm an Octagon resident and I just tried Nonno's for the first time.

FYI, I am a 20+ year New York resident and I know a good pie / slice when I taste one.

I got a cheese pie because I think the ultimate test of a pizzeria is its cheese slice.

I was massively underwhelmed. Actually, this is some of the worst pizza I have had in New York in a long time. I'm sorry, I am just being honest. The crust was way too doughy, the sauce was sweet with no zest or real flavor other than sweetness, and the cheese was totally bland.

I will stick with Sac's place as my go-to when I want delivery. That joint on 36th & Vernon has better pizza than Nonno's, so I'll go with them if I want something quickly. I really hate to say this because it's going to make you think I don't have any credibility--but I actually prefer the Domino's "Brooklyn Style" over Nonno's. Sorry, I had to say it. At least it's not overpoweringly sweet and isn't overloaded with tasteless cheese.

I wanted to like Nonno's, really. Especially since they only took about 18 minutes from the time I called until the pizza was at my door. Maybe their toppings are enough to make up for the poor underlying pie... but for everyone's sake I really hope things get better.

Emi (SKY Italia) said...

I think your Board of Italians, and your Italian collaborator, should return to Italy because they evidently forgot what good mozzarella tastes like when on Pizza. Try N. 28 on Carmine and Bleecker... real Italians go there.

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER said...

emi,
Thanks for the tip about N.28 -will definitely give it a try when in the village. The thing to remember about Nonnos is that in food deprived Roosevelt Island, the quality of the food does not have to be the best in New York City, but I will be very happy if it is consistently good to very good, which to date it has.

Alain De Carolis said...

Looks like Pizza is a hot subject on Roosevelt Island!
I am not saying that Nonno's pizza is the best pizza in the world and I was joking about the "board. All I have to sat is that all the Italians I know (including myself) go there and eat pizza with no problems at all. Noone has ever trashed any slice.

On the other hand, I know for a fact that it is not the worst I have tried here. I think that some, starting from the most appreciated in city (the really famous one in Soho that I don't want to mention), shouln't even be allowed to use the name "Pizza".

Of course I back to Italy when I want to taste real pizza. You don't need to suggest that.

Ciao!

JFitz said...

I find it very hard to believe that anyone would pick Dominos "Brooklyn Style" over Nonno's. Their pizza is absolutely delicious, and quite honestly that comment by Octagon Pizza Junkie sounds like someone trying to promote another restaurant (::cough, cough::). Sounds like your very hurt by recent competition and it's very obvious by the insert of an exact address location of another restaurant in your comment that your trying to dissolve current competition for yourself, a friend or family member.

Nonno's very tasty, and it has a sweet atmosphere. It helps that the owners are very friendly.

Thats all I have to say about that.

--Julie Fitzgerald

Alain De Carolis said...

I have to confirm what was suggested above
N.28 is at the very top of the Pizza rankings. I go there often.

But still I go to Nonno Pizza as well... And so do all the Italians I know.
Very very far away from N.28's level, but not below the average Pizza quality you can find around Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Nonno's is a nono.
I have ordered 5 Times since they opened. The pizza is awful!

Anonymous said...

there pizza sucks -- too bad because it is all we got! Octagon resident. Awful boring pizza.

Anonymous said...

i have not tried the pizza, pasta is OKAY. dinner dishes are almost inedible. cmonnnn