According to their website, the owners of Serafina were lost at sea and swore if they ever got rescued, they’d open up an Italian restaurant. Can you imagine Tom Hanks in Cast Away telling Wilson the volleyball that all he wants to do if he is rescued is open up a chain of Red Lobsters?
Whether or not this story is true, it made me laugh. So the guys at Serafina have a sense of humor. But how is their pizza?
I’ve been to Serafina a few times before for brunch or a quick lunch. They’re a small restaurant chain that reminds me a bit of Patsy’s in their uptown locations and rustic decor. I never thought of them as in the running for best NY pizza. It wasn’t until my Italian friend Anthony claimed that they have the most authentic pizza that my interest was piqued. Anthony hasn’t been here long so he has yet to see how great NY pizza can be, but I figured I’d give his suggestion a try.
We chose the Regina Margherita which features Italian bufala mozzarella as opposed to homemade mozzarella or fior di latte mozzarella. All these mozzarella choices! Mama mia!
The pizza arrived with a double shot glass of red pepper flakes. That struck me as very strange. Were they inferring their pizza might need a lot more seasoning? Or was it just for those who like things really hot? I was going to let the pizza speak for itself so I reluctantly downed the shot instead. My friend Adam smartly stuck to water.
The pie tasted almost like butter. The cheese was very milky and buttery, which wasn’t a bad thing, but it left a bit of a filmy feeling in my mouth. The crust was very thin and crispy, not as tender and puffy as I’d expect from a wood burning oven. There wasn’t much of a char on the bottom, but the ends were slightly burnt. The tomato sauce was a bit under seasoned – now I wish I hadn’t drank those pepper flakes.
Overall, the pizza was quite light, even considering the milky richness of the cheese, and not too oily. There were some good flavors, but I found this to be pretty standard wood-oven pizza. I bet it would be absolutely amazing if we were stranded at sea, but since we’re in New York, I expect a little better.
Is Serafina the best pizza in NY? It gets a 6 out of 10 because it’s nothing exciting but better than your average slice joint and does the job for freshly made Italian pies.