17 February 2007

Club Lazzara

Who's needs restaurants with no phone number or bars that don't identify themselves as such to the passerby when you've got Lazzara's. The midtown pizzeria feels more like a secret club than most Manhattan places that strive for that vibe. It doesn't advertise, as far as I can tell. Scaffolding currently obscures its sign on W. 38th Street. You have to enter through an enclosed, black-metal stairway that is none too attractive, leading to the second floor of the building. Once inside, you walk down a nondescript corridor with no indicating arrows or signs and enter an open doorway to the right. And there you are: someone's former living room now filled with row after row of functional wooden tables and chairs. The one window is fully curtained. No light gets in. And there's no one there who didn't arrive at the address expressly to eat at Lazzara's. You don't eat there by accident.

I stopped by for lunch the other day, as I always do when in the neighborhood. I ordered my usual half-pie with pepperoni, cut into narrow strips, and fresh mushrooms. A half-pie will get you a narrow rectangle of pizza consisting of three square slices. Sauce reigns supreme at this pizzeria, as opposed to cheese or crust. Mozzarella covers only about half the pie, allowing the tanginess of the sauce to come through.

The one drawback to the place is that, because of its location, Lazzara's tends to attract people from the fashion trade. You can always tell these specimens, because they talk loud, pull out their cell phones every other minute, drop the names of designers left and right and usually treat their dining companion thoughtlessly. I sat next to one such worthy the other day. He barked on his phone, while his female companion sat there with nothing to do. He was oblivious to the fact that, 15 minutes into the lunch, both she and the waitress loathed him.

The putz was also unhappy with the quality of the pizza.

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