In March 2010, I posted a review of Bonafede's on Linden Avenue, giving it a very respectable B+ for well-balanced, tasty pizza on a pretty good crust.
I also mentioned that I had not been aware of Bonafede's existence until a short time prior to that post, partly because I've never had much occasion to travel on that stretch of Linden Avenue, which is mostly residential; not the kind of area where you'd expect to find a pizzeria. (I think I learned of Bonafede's by seeing it listed in the Yellow Pages.)
Well, I don't know how much the location had to do with it, but Bonafede's is gone. In its place is Gianna's NYC Italian Kitchen, which has a roughly similar menu, but a different style of pizza.
Given the name of the place, it will come as no surprise that Gianna's pizza is more in the New York style than Bonafede's had been. The crust on my cheese slice was very thin, and though it wasn't exactly what I would call bready (which is tough to achieve with a thin crust), the dough had risen somewhat; it wasn't dense or gummy inside.
The underside was lightly dusted with corn meal. It was fairly light-hued overall, with some scattered charred spots, and was crackly and nearly burnt along the edge.
The slice was topped with a light layer of tomato sauce. It was not a particularly saucy slice, and I didn't pick up much flavor from the sauce.
Atop the sauce lay a coating of oily, orangey cheese. If you've had it, you know what I mean by "orangey." I don't mind it, but it's not the greatest melting cheese in the world, and I frankly can't recall ever having seen that kind of cheese in all the times I've been to New York City. It does have a certain inexplicable appeal for me, though, and with its light sprinkling of Romano, the cheese was actually kind of good.
Gianna's pizzas come in 16" and 18" sized, plus a 14" x 24" Sicilian. There are four specialty pizzas, plus calzones, wings, pasta, "heroes" (hot subs), and three hot dog choices - Zweigles, Nathan's, and Sabrett's, for that authentic New York "dirty water dog" flavor. They also offer something called Nutella pockets, which I've never heard of before but which I'd love to try, as I consider Nutella one of the truly great culinary concoctions of our time.
Based on this slice, I'd say that Gianna's pizza is one of those that I would consider more of an approximation than an exact copy of New York style pizza. That's not a putdown, mind you, as this was rather tasty, and it would be easy to polish off a few Gianna's slices in one sitting. But the cheese and the crust didn't seem to quite nail it as far as New York style is concerned. Still, it was good enough to rate a B- from me.
Gianna's NYC Italian Kitchen, 514 Linden Ave. 14625. 248-5040
Mon. - Fri. 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Sat.: 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. Closed