It’s a bummer when you return to a restaurant you once had strong feelings for only to realize it kind of sucks now. That’s what happened on our most recent visit to an old Infatuation favorite, ápizz. What used to be one of Manhattan’s ultimate hidden gems and best date night restaurants has turned into a shell of its former self. Over the course of the past decade, absolutely nothing has changed at ápizz. The menu is exactly the same as it was when we first started eating here in 2007, which would be fine if the food was still great, but that’s sadly not the case. The skate dish is still the best thing on the menu, and there are a couple good pastas, but overall, the food isn’t exciting anymore.
Secretly tucked away on Eldridge Street amongst nothing but residential buildings, you have to know ápizz was there to find it, and the cozy room you find inside has always been the holy grail of the restaurant. “An X-factor exists within the walls of ápizz that can take an average night and turn it into the start of something memorable, perhaps even legendary.” That’s a quote from my original review (with 8.3 rating) from 2009. Well, that room hasn’t been updated at all, and it now feels worn and outdated. One thing that has changed? The amount of people eating here. What used to be a tough table is now an empty, desolate place.
Great restaurants evolve over time, continually reinventing themselves or consistently putting out incredible food. That’s the only way to stay in the game of a constantly changing, incredibly competitive landscape. ápizz hasn’t done that. The 2015 version of apizz feels exhaustively tired.
ápizz had a great run. They went hard for over a decade and will always hold a special place in our stomachs. Breaking up with someone you once loved is never easy, but sometimes, it’s what needs to be done. Sorry ápizz, it pains us to do this, but it’s time for us to move on.
Salads & Pizzas
The menu is laid out in a fashion which makes it hard to have a balanced meal. Pastas aren only available as big entrées, when they'd make more sense as a smaller mid-meal option. The appetizer section is pretty much just boring salads, and mediocre pizzas. The ápizz Rocket with arugula and prosciutto is fine, but there's nothing much to see here.
The best dish on the appetizer menu is the mushroom polenta. Order it.
Gnocchi with Short Rib
What used to be an amazing bowl of pasta is now a mushy mess that might as well have been oatmeal with some shredded beef on top. No texture, no flavor, too much sauce. This one is embarrassing.
Ravioli con Zucca
Giant ravioli filled with ricotta and marscarpone cheese, smothered in caramelized butternut squash and brown butter sauce. Yup, this one is still pretty damn good.
Lasagna with Wild Boar
We used to come here specifically to eat this dish. That’s not the case anymore. What used to be a structured, nicely layered pasta castle of flavor is no more of a mushy hill of melting snow. The meat pasta dish game here really fell off.
Wood Roasted Whole Branzino
Had this on our most recent trip, and it was loaded with bones, over-salted and a over-lemoned. Not good.
The oven-baked skate comes served in a pan, swimming in a combo of white wine, lemon, capers, and breadcrumbs, and is accompanied by a fort of crispy potato slices. This is about as tasty as skate can get. It’s not as next level as it once was, but this dish would still be our entree of choice at ápizz.