97-02 Rockaway Beach Blvd
I must say, I had known much more about the controversies and gossip surrounding this restaurant than I had known about the actual food.. There is the cursing at customers for asking for substitutions, or tap water, or single slices, or asking to use the bathroom,then there is the pot growing, the getting kicked out of National Parks, the breaking into his old space to steal back his pizza oven stories but, what did I know about his food.. I think someone had mentioned that he makes really good pizza. And really, i just thought like most, it was just a pizza place..
Well, it's much more than that.. Perhaps it was a pizza place in other locations but, this is a beautiful space.. There is a huge backyard with tons of picnic tables and loud awesome music.. It's homey and friendly with that tough blue collar edge that still very much exists in the Rockaways.. And BYOB ta boot!
We started with their clams: I guess I should mention, all the food is family style.. All the food is like 18 to 20 dollars.. Everyone at all the tables were sharing large plates of food.. I actually love this format, loved their plates, it makes for a lot more enjoyable and communal experience.. Food is dropped unceremoniously, as are stacks of plates and utensils. The clams were in a broth, garlicky, wine, paprika, butter. The little pieces of homemade pizza crust bread, were delicious.
We were a group of 5, two of them being three year olds.. We ordered a plain pizza without basil, our waitress looked scared.. I qualified our request with us understanding that this is frowned about.. Please tell the cook it's for 3 year olds and we could happily pick it off if it's an issue.. I was waiting for the pie to come out covered in basil salad.. To our surprise they acquiesced.
Large plate of pasta with blue crab, corn,tarragon.. Delicious., sweet, oceany, lots of tarragon and butter.. a little spice from peppers. In no way was this dish trying to go for a subtle balance.
"Big Ass Shrimp" oooooo more naughty language: Kind of similar in taste to the clams, I wish we were warned about repetition but, quality of shrimp were great.. More pizza toast bread, more garlic and peppers and wine and seafood... Lovely, none the less.
Finally ended with some pizza.. It was spicy salami.. While the pizza is cooked very well, the sauce is perhaps a bit more sweet than I would prefer.. The table agreed it was sweeter than we would seek out but, it was delicious.. And there are lots of other things on the menu that make me want to return..
They have a burger that they are so excited about, the use the F word to describe it.. And there are spicy calamari served over pasta that most of the restaurant ordered.. The sauce looked a bit too loose for me but, how does one know without trying it.. And they have an 80 dollar steak they roast in a wood burning oven.. Also, know what an avid fisherman Whit is, he must have some really beautiful fish steaks or whole roasdted fish from time to time..
All in all, this place is a gem.. It's a beach town spot, with some of the best food I have had by a beach, it's byob, it's interesting and family style and ,more exciting than most of the places I have been to recently.. Service could be slightly better but, i feel like it's part of the act..