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Wiseguy NY Pizza, Pizzaiolo Nuri Erol's Pizza by the Slice on 3rd Street and Mass Avenue NW, With A Second Location In Rosslyn

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hopsing   

This thread makes this Brooklyn gal want to head off to Wiseguy's as soon as possible.  I walked by last week and saw that they had Mexican Coke (that means the original Coke to oldsters like me).  A "real" Coke and a NY pizza slice--just like when I was a kid.  I hope to experience that nirvana when I go to Wiseguy's.

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Surely, if Wiseguy does, in fact, make its own mozz, that must be better than the bevy of cheese-product type things that roll off Sysco trucks across the land?  And, likewise on the sauce...

Just because it is made in a restaurant's own kitchen does not guarantee good quality or taste, at all.   Sysco doesn't make anything, they are just a distributor and while it is fashionable and all but mandatory to goof on them, they sell Paula Lambert mozzarella which can't be any worse than commodity stalwarts BelGioioso or Sorrento "“which many use.

Wiseguys alleges "house made fresh mozzarella" in addition to offering the grande variety. "Making" mozzarella is mundane and rather easy if you buy the curd, which most do. Making  it from raw milk is another matter entirely and, like other cheeses, dry cured meats and products where time, environment, and experience are integral variables of success, are best left to those who do it regularly and know the dance moves.  Perhaps Wiseguys has St. Uguzon on the payroll.

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Hello!

Let me try to clarify couple of things about our pizzeria so we don't get the wrong information.

Some highlights:

We make our own fresh mozzarella from Grande Cheese Curd and we use it on Margherita Pizza and on several other pizzas. Then we got regular Grande Pizza Cheese which is used on regular pies.

We cook our own Marinara sauce from freshly packed canned tomatoes.

We import Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy

We import our Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy.

We use the most expensive Natural Pizza Cheese except Buffalo Mozzarella which can't be used in NY style pizza joints.

We make our own dough using specilly filtered water to match NY quality tap water.

Jonathan writes:

"And after I ordered and ate and judged, I had the privilege of watching their delivery come in and was equally disappointed by the extremely low quality tomato product (see full red tomato sauce) and flour and cheeses that were being carted in."

Pizza Sauce: What makes you think we use extremely low quality tomato product? Stanislaus tomato products known as the best quality and the most popular Tomato products in the pizza industry and in this Country.

Are you comparing San Marzano tomatos from Italy which are commonly used in Neapolitan Pizza Joint and its required by VPN association with some other strict requirements.

Let me also say this no famous pizza places in America makes their own sauce from fresh tomato including Di-Fara. Maybe it used to be that way because good quality canned tomato was not available 100 years ago? Anyway freshly canned tomato sauce gives better taste then fresh tomato. Has anyone tried to make a pizza from fresh tomato instead of canned tomato? Taste and see.

However each pizzeria adds their own spices to their pizza sauce.

Flour we are using General Mills and it is the best quality flour for making NY Style Pizza.

NY Style Pizza joints never uses 00 flour if that's why you meant by low quality flour .

The 00 Flour is used for Neapolitan Style pizzas and its more expensive

Cheese: Grande is the most expensive pizza cheese you can buy in this country and it's widely used in famous Pizza joints in America. I think you are comparing Buffalo Mozzarella, which is used for Neapolitan Style pizzerias not in NY Style pizza places. Buffalo Mozzarella is very soupy but tasty cheese and mostly imported from Italy.

As a pizza guy and a guy who has lived in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, I have to agree to disagree.

Sorry but just because you lived in NY doesn't make you a Pizza snob. Maybe you were raised with bad pizza and you got used to it. There are more bad pizza slice joint in NY then the good ones. Not every pizza joint in NY is great.

I got three different slices and thought them all to be mediocre at best. It reminded me of mediocre NY slice joints, not good Or great NY slice joints.

I think you got your slices on the cold side where it was not heated properly so I am sorry for that. I strongly suggest you give us a 2nd chance and I am confident you will change your mind 100%

And the photo above, might have some dark on the bottom from the deck of the oven, but it has absolutely no char or yeasty goodness in the lip of the pie.

The Char like Leopard spots will be on Neapolitan style Pizzas because of 00 flour and Wood fired oven but not on NY Style. NY Style will be very lightly charred.

As for killer slices in New York, I often inhabited Bleecker Street (especially their Sicilian) when I worked at the Spotted Pig, and La Pino Forchetta in Park Slope when I worked and lived in BK. Also DiFara if you just take it for what it is...a slice joint, not pizza nirvana.

I have been to all those pizza places at least 3 times except L.P.F. Di Fara Sicilian one of the better ones but you got to wait 1 hour to get a slice after paying $5.00 and smelling like a pizza cook and chance of completly burned pizza. But yes it's definelty worth it.

As for DC...I'm stumped. If have to compare Alberto's or jumbo slice with wise guys when sober or drunk to evaluate.

Ohh you are not serious.

Mr Jonathan I think you are really confused about style of pizzas and what product used in each style.

Street NY Style (Joes, Bleecker, Di Fara, Supreme Pizza..etc)

Neapolitan Style( 2Amys, Pupatella Motorino, Paul Gees, Keste..etc)

or original none-slice NY style places like Grimaldi's, Totonno's, L ombardi"¦ where they use grandfathered coal ovens.

I think your taste buds shifted from NY Style to Neapolitan style and you forget about what is NY Style.

I have been researching tasting famous pizza places all over America and I have tasted all the great Pizza places in NYC and I can truly say if my pizzeria was in NY I could be easily on top 5.

At last for you to say we are using low quality products is not true and does not justify.

Thanks

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OK.  I'm going to WiseGuy soon now!  As always, great to see a new business participating here so thank you, "wiseguy NY Pizza."  And, welcome to donrockwell.com. Really great to have you here.

No doubt Chef Copeland will reply for himself but, as a huge fan of neapolitan pizza (but with experience and fondness for NY style as well), I know Ghibellina's pie is one of my favorites in the region.  Looking forward to trying wiseguy and suspect someone there knows a thing or two about pizza too.  It's all good in my book.  ^_^ 

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I'm from St. Louis--to say that NY Pizza and the obsession with it bewilders me is the understatement of the year. But Mr. BLB is a NYer and I have done more detours through various parts of Manhattan in search of that perfect slice for him than any nice girl from the midwest should...

I know I've mentioned that Wiseguy is afew blocks from his office but I don't know if he's tried it. I will have to nudge him to go.

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CanY   

Few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Tony Erol through a mutual friend. At the time I was trying to open my own eatery and I wanted his advice. As far as independent restaurant owners goes, Tony Erol is one of my role models. And even though I`m not even close to being a pizza or NY pizza connoisseur, I judge my experiences by delicious-o-meter, and everything I had the pleasure of tasting from Wiseguy's scores high for me. 

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DaveO   

For some reason Wiseguy Pizza had fallen off my radar screen, so was happy to learn that they had located to Arlington, making it a must visit, for this pizza lover.  Of note a week or two before I had stopped at Rosslyn's new quick-serve version of Pizza, SpinFire Pizza slightly up the hill.

Wiseguy has enormous slices.  Really large.  Two slices of margherita pizza and a fountain soda came at about $10 and change....right around the price of a "specialty" pizza at SpinFire with its own fountain soda.   Size wise two slices of Wiseguy are not materially different in total size from a personal sized pizza at SpinFire.

Now I'm a fan of NY style Italian food, and a big fan of pizza slices.  I bring up SpinFire, if only because I didn't determine an enormous difference between the two places.  The crusts were similar as were the base sauces.

Dang dang dang.  I'll have to go back again and again to try and determine which is better.  Life is tough!!!!!!  :D

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lion   

Definitely NY pizza is very different from Neapolitan. Love both.

Will have to check out this place. Grandma pie looks interesting.

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Hey Jonathan,

You haven't responded yet that must be because of Mother's day weekend business.

Today me and my wife had a dinner at Ghibellina  for the first time and now I feel your pain. I think you are just mad because you are not getting the recognition you deserve for serving great Neapolitan Pizza.  And the strange thing is somewhat I was ready to criticize your pizza but I end up loving it.

It was really good not much different than best I had in NY, CA and in Napoli and it wasn't soupy as some of them..

But let's not mix NY Pizza with Neapolitan Pizza, they are different pizza and each style has its own characteristics and charisma and can't be compared. I love them both when it's good.

With that said ring-edge was little too thick which made bottom crust to be little thinner. But still dough was perfectly proofed/fermented so edge was not doughy at all.  Also dough stretching issue could happen to any pizzeria so I am not deducting any point for that.

  However I still want to see a better quality grated cheese especially when you are talking about quality. You are using Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano and yet Parmigiano Reggiano is better quality and more expensive and will be perfect match for your Neapolitan Pizza.  It will just make it better.  We use Parmigiano Reggiano all over in our Pizzeria.

Also I did not like the oil you served on your table. It did not taste like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, It tasted like Soybean Oil.  I am sure you are using E.V.O.O on your Pizza why not use the same oil on tables.

Little note: The calamari/fish appetizer wasn't great.

The  question is; if you are serving a great Neapolitan Pizza, perhaps one of the best in the area then why are you not getting the recognition you deserve?

Here is my 2 cents;

Because consumer doesn't think you are an authentic Pizzeria.

Based on my dinner experience at Ghibellina it's the wrong place to prove your pizza because the whole setup is like a bar not a Neapolitan style Pizzeria. Yes the whole restaurant is beautiful and I can see they spent good amount of money for renovation but design is not for a pizzeria.

I had pizza almost in all the Neapolitan Pizzeria in the region and why do you think I never visited Ghibelllina until today? Because I had no idea you were serving great Pizza. Every time I pass by from there I am thinking it's a restaurant that focused on selling more alcohol then food.

So if you want the recognition of "Best Neapolitan Pizza" in DC then the restaurant should look like pizzeria and to get some idea I can suggest you to visit few Neapolitan Pizzerias:

In NY; Keste, Motornio, Paulie Gee, Roberta's and Lucali(none traditional Neapolitan)

In CA, I can recommend Pizzaiolo, Pizzeria Mozza

IN AZ. Bianco Pizza

If you want to go oversees in Naples:Napoli I could recommend, Pizzeria Presidente, Da Michele, Pizzeria Trianon

I have been to all those places and it will give you lots of ideas how the Neapolitan Pizzeria should look like. The common thing for all these pizzerias are they all showcasing their oven right in the dine in area and they all serve the best Neapolitan Pizza in my book.

To CanY: I did not know someone  would follow me the way you said it. So thanks for your kind words and good luck.

Owner

Wiseguy

Nuri Erol

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Jonathan   

I apologize for not responding earlier, I actually did not see Tony's first post until this morning.

And Tony, thank you for graciously coming in to Ghibellina and eating dinner. I'm glad you enjoyed our pizza. I am not the owner of Ghibellina, and do think you have nailed it when it comes to our lack of recognition for our pizza. Ghibellina is intended to be a GastroPub with pizza. My enthusiasm, passion and dedication to the craft has made the pizza what it is today.

Also, I do agree with your criticism of the pizza being a bit thin at times. Our pizza is not supposed to be true Neapolitan pizza. I have worked at Neapolitan pizza joints and worked with 900-1000 degree ovens. I wanted our pizza to be a bit crisper on the bottom and more developed flavors in the crust. So I use a mix of flours (one being 00); I do not cook my pizzas in a 900-1000 degree oven, and I cook them ideally for 3-3.5 minutes.

Lastly, I do not consider myself a pizza snob, but more a pizza lover. When I worked at Franny's in Brooklyn, I ate pizza every day. And then on my days off, I ate more pizza. More often then not, it was slice joint NY style pizza. But I also frequented the Lombardi's style places and I also went to the Neapolitan joints sprouting up all over the place. I love pizza. No matter the style. Roman, Naples, Sicilian, NY, NJ (i bet I'd like good deep dish if I tried it).

I too have studied pizza. I am aware of what constitutes Neapolitan versus NY. I am aware of why a deck oven operating at 500 or 600 degrees  can't use buffalo mozzarella or 00 flour. That NY style pizza tends to use oil and sugar in their dough to keep it tender to make up for the long bake time, etc.

My initial criticisms of Wise Guys probably had more to do with expectations, which is not your fault, Tony. Todd Kliman raved about it. And I read it. And I went. What I ate did not live up to the expectations of what a food writer expressed. And this, unfortunately, is what all of us in the restaurant community have to deal with. Sometimes trying to live up to unrealistic expectations.

I owe you a second visit and will be in to try it. I promise.

As for Grana and Pecorino. I love the cheeses. Parmeggiano is great too, the king of cheeses probably. I find them all to be delicious.

As for the olive oil on the pizza: we use http://superolive.com/Frantoia-Italian-Extra-Virgin-Olive-Oil-3-Liter-FREE-SHIP-limited-time-P5101367.aspx

It is one of my absolute favorite olive oils. We do use a different olive oil on the table.

As for tomatoes, I use canned tomatoes as well. I don't know a single pizza joint that uses fresh tomato. We strain our canned tomato, mill it, add back some of its liquid, weigh it and add salt. Any spices go on the pie directly.

I tried true red because a friend of mine in the know told me that a venerable pizza establishment that I respect uses it in their sauce. So I got a sample from my purveyor. Upon trying it, I found it not to my liking at all. More like tomato paste with spices than something bright and blank canvassy (for lack of a better descriptor).

Any way you slice it....hehehe...pizza is amazing and I love how it elicits great passion in people here and around the world. Some people would crucify me for putting shaved raw fennel on a pizza (see Anthony Mangieri) or having a 2-3 day ferment. But I make the pizza that I want to eat and do not confine myself to any rules. Heck, even the pizza places that supposedly follow the rules (I'm looking at you 2 Amys and Pupatella) don't...they just probably find it a nice marketing strategy.

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DaveO   

Today me and my wife had a dinner at Ghibellina  for the first time and now I feel your pain. I think you are just mad because you are not getting the recognition you deserve for serving great Neapolitan Pizza.  And the strange thing is somewhat I was ready to criticize your pizza but I end up loving it.

Owner

Wiseguy

Nuri Erol

I apologize for not responding earlier, I actually did not see Tony's first post until this morning.

And Tony, thank you for graciously coming in to Ghibellina and eating dinner. I'm glad you enjoyed our pizza. I am not the owner of Ghibellina, and do think you have nailed it when it comes to our lack of recognition for our pizza. Ghibellina is intended to be a GastroPub with pizza. My enthusiasm, passion and dedication to the craft has made the pizza what it is today.

Pizzeria 101  or should I say a PHD in Pizzeria discussions!!!!!

BRAVO!!!!!!!!!

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Jonathan,

No problem at all thanks for responding.

I was mainly disappointed with your feedback regards to you saying; we are using extremely low quality products.
However can you please give me a product name (tomato sauce, flour, cheese) thats better and more expensive than what we are using for NY Style Pizza?  I am just curious.

Also it's okay you did not like my pizza , not everyone likes my pizza which is perfectly normal but I am staying firm on thinking that your taste buds stuck with Neapolitan type of pizza.

You were looking for burned/ leopard spots edges and bottom crust like Neapolitan in NY Pizza but it is not possible in traditional Ny Pizza. Because that slice picture from "JSnake" has every characteristic of NY Style Pizza.  I think you just couldn't differentiate the different characteristic of each styles.

Todd Kliman only expressed his thoughts of our NY Style  Margherita Pizza  like many other Yelp reviewers who shared the same thoughts as him.
I am in this business over 20 years and it's not so abnormal to get some recognition say last 1,5 year for my NY pizzeria that's less than 3 years old.

Also I am not saying  we are  making the perfect Pizza every single time. No one can say that, it's impossible because there are way too many variables, for example: pizza man decides to pulls out the pizza too early, putting less sauce than necessary or putting more cheese than required, oven temperature is not there because pies after pies makes the stone to cool off........

Restauranteurs fallows certain type of styles because of proven success in taste and then some adds their own spin to it. That's what makes it more unique instead of staying strict regulation and standards given by VPN.
So it's not about marketing.

Some pizza hardcores also criticize me for using  chicken on pizza and yet I have 4 pizzas with chicken and we sell them a lot.  Buffalo Pizza being on the top of the list among them.

Pizza is love and it's spreading fast and getting better and better everyday by people who puts their heart and soul to it.

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DaveO   

Any way you slice it....hehehe...pizza is amazing and I love how it elicits great passion in people here and around the world.

Pizza is love and it's spreading fast and getting better and better everyday by people who puts their heart and soul to it.

You guys are great for having the above conversation.  Thanks.

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DaveO   

Since learning of Wiseguy I've had slices of Margherita and then some of the meat oriented pies and the mushroom truffle.  The more I've had the better its been.  Quite authentic to the NY slice style and it thoroughly satisfies a craving.  Good garlic rolls too.   Thanks wiseguy, I've been missing "this" for about 30 years.  ;)

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hopsing   

I finally made it to Wiseguys today.  I was there around 12:30pm and the line was about 6 people ahead of me.  It's a small space so it doesn't take long for the "line to be out the door."  Anyway, the line moved okay fast and the pizza was delicious.  I had my usual childhood meal of 2 cheese slices and a Coke.  And it was Mexican Coke I got or as I like to call it Original Coke.  The crust tastes like real bread.  Outstanding plus the slices were big.  In fact, the pizza guy replaced a skinny slice to give me 2 big slices.  That is what I call customer service!  Many people get it for takeout to eat in their office so I was able to sit at their indoor counter.  Does this mean I will abandon my old faves, Bronx Pizza and Piola.  Nah, I like the variety.  This may be my new carryout pizza pie place to replace Joe's Pizza and Pasta (way inferior).  Too bad they don't deliver.

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Josh   

Just a quick note to say that we suffered through mediocre pizza from We The Pizza tonight only because they deliver, and Wise Guy does not.  We are not the only Hill family to do so, and this isn't the first time we've done this.  Wise Guy is really missing out by not having delivery.  With all the outside services (Caviar, Postdates, Door Dash), I can't think of a good reason not to offer the service.

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CanY   

Just a quick note to say that we suffered through mediocre pizza from We The Pizza tonight only because they deliver, and Wise Guy does not.  We are not the only Hill family to do so, and this isn't the first time we've done this.  Wise Guy is really missing out by not having delivery.  With all the outside services (Caviar, Postdates, Door Dash), I can't think of a good reason not to offer the service.

3 out of the last 4 orders I placed using Postmates was for WiseGuy NY Pizza. Recently, I completed a move to Navy Yard area, and too tired to cook WiseGuy came to my rescue with great pizza, meatballs, and garlic knots. Also, I noticed they updated their website and it looks beautiful with great pictures of the menu items.

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Josh   

3 out of the last 4 orders I placed using Postmates was for WiseGuy NY Pizza. Recently, I completed a move to Navy Yard area, and too tired to cook WiseGuy came to my rescue with great pizza, meatballs, and garlic knots. Also, I noticed they updated their website and it looks beautiful with great pictures of the menu items. 

Dammit! I had no idea they were on there now.  I checked the WiseGuy website before ordering tonight in hopes of delivery news, but there is no indication that they deliver or participate in a delivery service.  Thanks CanY.

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DonRocks   

Dammit! I had no idea they were on there now.  I checked the WiseGuy website before ordering tonight in hopes of delivery news, but there is no indication that they deliver or participate in a delivery service.  Thanks CanY.

Do you know what I've noticed about Wiseguy? It's the same thing I've noticed with Flippin': No matter how I try to reheat it the next day, I cannot make it good. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've tried 1) oven directly on rack. 2) oven on baking sheet (I don't have a stone), and 3) microwave. All three times ... not good.

I wonder if this is simply pizza designed to be eaten then-and-there.

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Dammit! I had no idea they were on there now.  I checked the WiseGuy website before ordering tonight in hopes of delivery news, but there is no indication that they deliver or participate in a delivery service.  Thanks CanY.

I don't believe the postmates service works like this. It doesn't depend on restaurants participating in it. They will basically deliver from anyone.

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JSnake   

Do you know what I've noticed about Wiseguy? It's the same thing I've noticed with Flippin': No matter how I try to reheat it the next day, I cannot make it good. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've tried 1) oven directly on rack. 2) oven on baking sheet (I don't have a stone), and 3) microwave. All three times ... not good.

I wonder if this is simply pizza designed to be eaten then-and-there.

I preheat a skillet on medium for a few minutes, throw a slice on there, COVER THE SKILLET and let it cook for about 6 minutes. Yes this means reheating your pie one slice at a time but it's really the best way I've found. Sometimes the slices come out of the skillet even better than when they were made fresh.

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DonRocks   

I preheat a skillet on medium for a few minutes, throw a slice on there, COVER THE SKILLET and let it cook for about 6 minutes. Yes this means reheating your pie one slice at a time but it's really the best way I've found. Sometimes the slices come out of the skillet even better than when they were made fresh.

Wow, okay! I was honestly worried that the ghost of Jonathan might be coming back to haunt us; I have found no quality pizza that could not be reheated the next day into something at least decent, and was honestly worried about WiseGuy. I'm happy to hear this!

Thank you, JSnake!

Rocks

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Josh   

I started a dummy order on Postmates, and to get a pie delivered 1.1 miles to my house would cost an additional $7.75.  :o   Does the delivery fee fluctuate according to time?

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Pat   

I don't know about the Postmates system, but you could write Doordash and ask them to add Wiseguy as one of their restaurants.  I'm not sure if their regular delivery charge is $5 or $6, but it's lower than what you're quoting.

They say:  Email dc@doordash.com with the subject: "Merchant Recommendation"

(And Doordash is adding new restaurants frequently, so it's possibly already in the pipeline.  It can't hurt to ask, though.  They're now delivering from DCity Smokehouse, even though it wasn't one of their listed restaurants less than a week ago.)

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JSnake   

I just noticed that Wiseguy's redesigned website has an excerpt of my review in this thread posted on their front page under the press section. I'm flattered. Wonder if I can use that to get some free pizza (kidding ;))

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