After reading a review in Newsday about the artisanal meats and cheeses, crostinis and italian specialties offered at Carusos’s restaurant/pizzeria in Rocky Point, I really had the urge for pizza. Visions of wonderful Italian food came into my mind. I invisioned aromoas of sweet sausage with fennel, courteous and jovial women with slight Italian accents, robusts merlots and perhaps checkered tablecloths with chianti bottle candle holders. I was in search of pizza that reminded me of those amazing pizzerias in Nassau, Queens, Manhattan and even Boston’s North End. Not a chance.
After standing at the empty counter for 4 minutes infront of 3 employees doing much of nothing, some girl asked, without looking at me, “Whacahavin?”
The pizzas were displayed on the counter and I was here on a mission. A mission to find good pizza, so I ordered 2 regular slices, eventhough they had that half hour look. The time it takes a pizza to completely lose it attractiveness because the oils from the cheese solidify and the sauce looses its sheen. Oddly enough, the slices weren’t flying off the shelf. It was 9 pm on a Saturday night directly across the street from a bar and pretty much in the middle of 2 other bars.
As I sat down to enjoy my slice I noticed that it wasn’t shiny. I didn’t see any oils from the cheese, usually indicitive that the cheese used is mostly skim and not whole milk mozzarella. Less flavorful and less expensive. My wife described it best by saying, “Tastes like I’m eating Levitra pill whithout prescription air.” As I took a bite I understood exactly what she meant. There really was no taste. The cheese tasted unsalted, the sauce had too much tomato paste in it and the crust was doughy and was caked with white flour on the bottom.
It’s quite difficult to believe that the owner/chef of La Plage in Wading River, Wayne Wadington, could create this. La Plage is very good. The only things that both La Palge and Caruso’s have in common is an attitude by those that work there.
Caruso’s pizza was so disappointing that I was checking my GPS to see if there was a local Pizza Hut. As I was walking back to the car I noticed across the street a very unassuming ( nice word for a hole in the wall) pizzeria called Melanina. It was directly next to a bar so by default they would be busy, which kept my expectations low.
At Melanina we ordered 2 slices from a girl who obviously didn’t want to be there on a Saturday night. Now this place had an old dingy out dated look, but that is sometimes the secret to good food. It was clean enough to keep the Dept. of Health away but needed a makeover. Enough about the asthetics. It smelled like a good pizzeria and was buzzing with orders. Pies were being flipped, flour was in the air and my pizza was ready fast.
As we took our first bite we smiled at each other. Not the best pizza but pretty darn good. On top of a nice crisp crust, the cheese was whole milk mozzarella and just enough of it, not like skimpyville across the street and the sauce was sweet but not sugary and had subtle accents of oregano, onion and garlic.
To make a long story short, if you come to Rocky Point for pizza, drive to Caruso’s, park and walk across the street to Melanina’s at 46 Broadway. Enjoy..we did.
“Just because you give it an Italian name doesn’t mean it is Italian food.”
Note to Self: “Don’t always rely on Newsday’s reviews.”