Di Fara (New York City)

On Avenue J in the burrough of Brooklyn there lives a pizza wizard. He’s a man of small stature, his movements deliberate, his face speckled with age. Those who have seen him do not forget. He is Domenico. Maestro di pizza.

Going to Di Fara has become quite a cult experience. Those unaware of the setup and popularity are often thrown by the wait time for a pizza. Every once in a while he throws out some slices, but for the most part this is a 45-minute to two-hour test of patience for a $32 pie.

Domenico, who imported his craft from just outside Naples many years ago, makes every pizza. With a small stepping stool, he monitors them in one of four ovens, occasionally overcooking one. His family members bring him ingredients and take orders, but he doesn’t let them make the pizza. One assumes they know the recipes by now, but it’s his product and it comes from his hand only.

He grows his own basil. Then he cuts some on top of the pizza when it leaves the oven. His sauce is balanced, his crust a near perfect blend of crunchy goodness and flexibility. Every pizza is finished with some fresh parmigiano-reggiano and a drizzle of olive oil. Other New York style pizzas might want to consider finishing pizzas like this, because it adds great depth and a perfect saltiness.

Di Fara may very well be the best New York-style pizza in the country. Although for whatever reason – time constrictions in this case – I keep missing the revered square pie. I even had a pizza with toppings on this venture, and those were stupendously sweet and lovely. For now, the round pizza can stand up to any New York style pie I’ve ever had.

4 out of 4 paws

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