Half Large Pie 16″: Meat Lover’s and Shroomstown ($24)
Let me be honest with you. I was never a fan of thin crust pizza. You’d think that the term “thin crust” would imply crispiness, but most of the places I’ve gone to that serve thin crust are such a let down. It’s only the first bite that has that crunchiness and by the time you get into your third bite, the pizza dough is soft to the point of almost being soggy and the crust- well, you might as well just chew dough made out of rubber.
But Pizza Gruppo, which is the sister restaurant of Posto in nearby Gramercy, is a different story. They’re known for their thin crust and give you an option of 40 toppings to choose from! I didn’t even know there were 40 different toppings to put on pizza!
Okay, so maybe it’s no Pizza Mercato near NYU, where pies just seem to fall out of the sky because they’re just so cheaply priced. I’d say that Pizza Gruppo is a place that you’d go to when you want to enjoy an informal meal with a bunch of people- not for delivery when watching football games. That’s what the 5-5-5 deal at Domino’s is for. But if you want some good pizza with quality ingredients, this is the place to go.
We asked for recommendations and found out that their Shroomstown is their staple pie and for good reason. You know how most mushroom pies that you get sort of just look like they have mushroom but you can’t really taste those mushrooms? Boy, you could taste those mushrooms in this pie. I especially loved the flavor that the shitake mushrooms, and I really appreciated how there were so many varieties of mushrooms. You could taste a little hint of the white truffle oil.
Look how thin that is!
Since we split a large in half, the other side was the meat section. Overflowing with pizza grease, some slices of the pepperoni had to be at least an inch and half in diameter! What I loved most about both sides of the pizza were… the crust! No more chewy, dry, half baked crusts. This was like eating heaven high on marinara sauce and cheese- with a crunch.
Which side of the pizza was better? I vote for the Shroomtown side. Why?
- It was by far the most unique mushroom pie I’ve ever had.
- The shrooms side had a crunchier crust throughout. Hagan speculated that the grease from the meat was more likely to have permeated the pizza dough.
- I felt healthy. Sorta. At least relatively speaking it was!
Halfway through the meal, Hagan came up with an epiphany. Because the crusts are just so delicious, he was trying to figure out a way to make a pizza pie that completely tasted like the pie crust. He came up with making a donut-like pie so that the middle would be cut out. Not sure if that’d work, but any ideas out there?
Shockingly, I was still so full from breakfast (and a tiny excursion I had afterwards with Angela and Si at City Bakery- more on that later) that I only had two slices. I couldn’t even finish the last bite of my second slice so imagine my stomach when it heard “So, would you like the cookie or brownie?” with Hagan replying, “Uh, how about both?”
The cookie was warm and gooey. As Hagan said, when he put his fork through it, you could feel that crunch and then it went “woosh.” It was undercooked in the right parts and man, the only thing that could have made it better was a-la-mode!
The brownie also put up a decent fight. It was dense and gooey. Without ice cream, there was a bit too much chocolateness to handle. The favorite from the table went to the cookie although I really did like the brownie. Get it a-la-mode though (it’s $1.50 more).
Going back to the pizzas, you can always customize your pie since there are 40 toppings and all to choose from. Here is what menupages writes:
All Made With Fresh Ingredients. Our Pies Come With A Base Of Marinara Sauce And Cheese Unless Otherwise Indicated. Also Available With A Base Of Pesto And Cheese Or Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Personal 9″ $6.50/Lg 16″ $13
$1.00/2.00: Toppings fresh basil – capers – fresh garlic – roasted garlic – fresh tomatoes – jalapeño peppers – green bell peppers – sweet red onions – caramelized onions
$1.50/3.00: Anchovies, black olives – broccoli – button mushrooms – extra cheese – grilled baby eggplant – grilled zucchini – roasted red peppers – marinated diced tomatoes – sun-dried tomatoes
$2.00/4.00: Artichoke hearts, fresh arugula – grilled asparagus – spinach – fresh pineapple – fresh mozzarella – fresh ricotta – feta cheese – grilled chicken – hickory smoked bacon – pepperoni – homemade meatballs – homemade sweet italian sausage – homemade hot italian sausage – homemade chicken chipotle
$2.50/5.00: Portobello mushrooms, shitake mushrooms – french goat cheese – andouille sausage – prosciutto di parma
Overall, a bit of an expensive pie, but worth it if you have 3 people to split it with. I actually prefer it to Lombardi’s although I should probably give that clam pie of their’s a try before I decide.
186 Avenue B
New York 10009
(Btwn 11th & 12th St)