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January 21st,
written by Arthur

From the Inside

On what may well be my last first day of class for the rest of my life (lets not think about that LLM right now) it was time to grab lunch with the A Team, aka the old crew from Section A in first semester of law.    After an extensive group gchat the place was picked: Piola.

I’ve walked by Piola hundreds of times–it’s near school and on the way to the gym and what used to be one of my favorite bars (the Reservoir dropped like a stone in my rankings when they got rid of their Big Buck machine).  Piola always looked good from the outside, signs luring me with descriptions of tasty pizza, pasta and wine.  I was excited to finally make it through the door.

As the five of us sat at the table we found a tasty looking list of lunch specials, including pizza, pastas, and salads.  A quick scan of the regular menu revealed even more interesting dishes, but also told me that we were getting a good deal (probably $3-$5 off each entree).

I ordered the “Born in USA” pizza (which featured chicken, spicy salami, mushrooms and onions), Meg ordered gnocchi in a bolognese sauce, Nick ordered the “Pisa pizza” (ham), Debbie ordered a cheese pizza with diced tomatoes, and Rebbecca ordered a cheese pizza with tomato slices and dried oregano.

From where we were sitting we could see a beautiful wood burning oven.   I know I saw them put the pizzas in the oven.   But Piola made a mistake that all to many places make–they either have the temperature too low in the oven or don’t keep the pizzas in for long enough.   If there is a wood burning oven, the bottom of the pizza should be nice and crispy, NOT SOGGY, when it lands in front of me.  The toppings on my Born in USA were fine, though the chicken was dry and nearly flavorless.

I tried a slice of Nick’s pizza.   It had the same soggy crust problem, but the ham on the pizza was a good combination.

Rebbecca’s pizza, which I didn’t try, looked like it had been bombed with oregano–far more than a dusting.  She found it to be way too much and had to pull off the sliced tomatoes in order to make the pizza edible.

Debbie was very satisfied with her pizza, but then again, if Piola couldn’t handle making a cheese pizza they probably would be out of business by now.

Meg’s pasta was okay.   Though the sauce was entirely uninspired, just meat and some tomato.  No real flavoring, not even any onion.  The gnocchi itself was good, a nice texture in that it wasn’t too hard or too soft.  But, all in all, a very bland plate.

I wouldn’t avoid this place like the plague, maybe it was just a bad day, but I’m also not in a rush to check it out again.

48 E. 12th St.
New York, NY 10003

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