>> Friday, May 16, 2008

107-23 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(888) 488-DEES

There is much debate about who makes a better pizza, Nick's, who I'll get to soon enough, or Dee's. They're like Coke and Pepsi. People have their favorites and can argue all day long, but the truth is that they're both fancy pizza places and anyone going there who thinks that they'll get anything remotely similar to something from Famous Original Ray's Originally Famous Pizza by Ray will be proven flat-out wrong. I happen to prefer Dee's to Nick's. Dee's is also an actual restaurant, while Nick's is exclusively pizza.

Dee of Dee's is, according to the plaque on the wall, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Bobby Flay's alma mater. And I happen to feel that the taste of the dishes on the menu bring out this French twist on Italian (really Mediterranean) food. Standard, old-school Italian this is not. Virtually every option you can choose from is different from how Grandma would make it. That said, I'm not Italian and my grandparents can't cook worth a damn, so read this with a grain of kosher salt (my Grandparents weren't Kosher either, by the way, but it is better to cook with).

Dee's fills up often. Often enough, in fact, that if you were the poor sucker who didn't reserve through Open Table earlier in the day, you'll be given one of those tacky chain restaurant blinky-buzzers to let you know that the hostess can seat you.

Bro and I showed up around at 8-something on a crappy, rainy Friday evening. They were pretty full with people arriving behind us and nobody leaving. For appetizers, we tried the Coconut Shrimp, served with a chipotle dipping sauce and the Cigarettea Tapas. The coconut shrimp were very good, but could have been crispier. Still, I can't complain about this comfort food starter, even if does kinda feel TGIFridaysesque. The coconut wasn't overpowering and the sauce accompanied it well. The cigaretta tapas were a trio of fried "spring rolls". One was filled with feta cheese and mozzarella and was absolutely vile. But I paid for it, so I ate it. Next up was filled with Spanish rice and was on the other side of the spectrum. I liked it a lot. Finally was one filled with a long strip of steak, cooked medium. This was the best one and actually worked very well with the rice tapa. Three dipping sauces come with it. There are regular entrees on the menu too, like skirt steak, tuna, kabobs, and so forth, but in all my years eating here, I've never actually ordered them. Maybe someone can comment about what they think.

For entrees we tried the Dee's Fettuccine, a pimped-out version of fettuccine alfredo. They toss in some shrimp, smoked bacon, and add brie to the sauce. Needless to say, since it takes one of the least healthy pasta dishes and makes it even worse for people with heart conditions, it's delicious. I went for one of my old faves, the Cheese Tortellini. I've had this on my short list even since an ex-girlfriend of mine ordered it a few years ago. The cheese tortellini are served in a parmesan sauce with peas and prosciutto. As I said. Normally, I'd love this entree. But for whatever reason, this time, something was wrong. Actually, two somethings. One, the sauce was seriously lacking, like it was being rationed. Two, the tortellini was undercooked. So do I recommend it? Yeah, just not the one I was eating. I've been here a hundred times in the past and I'm likely to be back a hundred more.

This past time, we skipped the pizza. But I can tell you a little sump'n-sump'n about them anyway. Since it's a brick oven place the pizzas are paper thin, and about 12-inches or so large. They're not huge. The crusts are all charred slightly, adding a smokiness to the flavor. The one I order like it's crack is the Chicken Delight, which is the standard Classico pizza (cheese and sauce) with caramelized onions and chicken. I have yet to meet freak who didn't like this. I also happen to like the Wild Mushroom one that replaces the onions and chicken with a random peppering of "exotic" mushrooms. Sadly, I get into a rut and don't really order more than these three. But Dee's has a whole selection of toppings so you can go crazy building your own. Speeds did that once and ended up with something actually very good. I think it had olives, goat cheese, sauce, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and something else. But it sure as hell wasn't your standard pie.

The appetizers average $10 each. The pastas average $15 each. Entrees are in the $20s. Expect to spend about $12-$15 per pizza. Toss on a few more bucks for tax and tip.


Ceresa September 20, 2009 at 9:53 PM  

If you ever decide to venture out of your favorite zone when going to Dee's, I recommend you try my personal favorite (for which I can order no other), the Cheese Fantasy pie with prosciutto.

It is, by definition: mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan - add some prosciutto and it equals heaven!

*Just a suggestion from a fellow Dee's fan!

Jon Parker September 21, 2009 at 11:37 AM  

Sounds good. I may have to try that!

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