Like water for pizza: Grimaldi's pie

(Credit: Feed Me)

Last night I caught an episode of Food Detectives, on Food Network, in which host Ted Allen looked into the eternal question of why New York pizza is the country’s best. One of the leading explanations is that it’s the water that makes the difference. Allen (or his producers) designed an elegant test of this theory.

At the well-regarded Lower East Side pizzeria Apizz, Allen had chef-owner John LaFemina make three identical pizzas, one with New York City tap water, one with Chicago tap water and one with Los Angeles tap water. Then a panel of experts—actor/comic Mario Cantone, Tony Muia of “A Slice of Brooklyn” bus tours, Joe Ciolli of Grimaldi’s, LaFemina and Allen—did a blind tasting of the pies.

All five men preferred the same pie and it turned out to be the one made with New York’s own aqua municipale.

Joe Ciolli, whose family owns Grimaldi’s pizzerias in Garden City, Brooklyn, Manhattan, New Jersey, Arizona, Texas and Nevada was not in the least surprised. He said that Grimaldi’s retains a chemist who designs filtration systems for all the restaurants in order to make the water as close as possible to New York’s. Which got me to thinking about Grimaldi’s in Garden City—close to New York City, but not hooked up to the same water supply. According to manager Dean La Lima, Nassau water “is only off by a bit,” and does need a bit of tweaking. Go know.

—Erica Marcus

A pie emerges from the coal-burning oven at Grimaldi's in Garden City. Newsday photo / Karen Stabile

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