ARIANA'S

>> Friday, June 19, 2009

UPDATE 3/12/12; Ariana's has CLOSED.
ARIANA'S
70-32 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 263-3094/3928


Ariana's is one of approximately 650 places to buy a slice of pizza in Forest Hills. Neither upscale like Nick's or Dee's, nor borderline fast food like A&J or the now-defunct Sorisi, nor attached to a regular full-scale restaurant like Portofino, Ariana's sits somewhere in the middle. The pizza it serves are of the standard red-sauce variety, but they have an actual menu full of things that people actually order. Usually, the extra stuff on a pizzeria menu is designed to make the proprietor feel like he's sharing grandma'a special pasta with the world even though it tastes like microwaved slop and there's probably a good reason that grandma isn't with us anymore. I wondered if that would be the case here.



I started my tasting of Ariana with a standard Plain Slice of pizza, since that's what 90% of the time people order. And it was damn good. The sauce was tangy and sweet, the crust thin and crisp, but not burned or soggy. I followed up my plain slice with a White Slice with Tomato. This was just okay. Well, better than okay, but not great. The problem I have with white slices is that they're too dry for my taste, but if you're into them, go nuts. Later on, I returned for a Mushroom Slice. Pretty good, too, but not the best I've ever had. Finally, I went for a Chicken Roll. I love chicken rolls and Ariana's wasn't bad, but there was no marinara sauce in the roll. Instead, it was served in a little cup to dip it in. Maybe you like that, but I'm not a fan. Specifically, I tend to eat pizza joint food on the go between point A and point B. And that renders dipping difficult at best. Still, Ariana offers up about a dozen varieties of pizza ready to be tossed in their oven at a moment's notice, most of which look mighty good.



Intending to sample some of Ariana's restaurant food, I returned. I tried two things (sorry, no pics), both of which were red sauce pasta dishes, both of which cost somewhere in the vicinity of $10. First, the Stuffed Shells. I won't lie and say that they were fantastically amazing, but they were pretty good, especially considering that I do not like stuffed shells (then why order it, you ask. I guess I like living on the edge.). Do I think that Ariana made these from scratch versus bought them and heated them up? Um... don't know, but at the time, I didn't much care. My second dinner there was with the Gnocchi Ariana, potato gnocchi in a red sauce. Now I love Gnocchi, and when it's done right, it's like eating perfection. I was not, in this case, eating perfection. Ariana's claims that it's in their special pasta sauce, but this tasted like any other marinara. The gnocchi were tough when they should be tender, bland where they should have taste. They were clearly frozen at some point before I got to them. I'm sure that people are rolling their eyes saying "what do you expect ordering entrees at t pizza place?" But that's sort of the point. If Ariana's fashions itself as a restaurant, which they do, then I expect more. This was mediocre and I don't think even worth the otherwise inexpensive price of ten dollars.



In conclusion, Ariana's pizza = great; Ariana's entrees (the pasta ones, anyway) = not so great.

Dinners should run you between $10 and $16 per plate. Tax and tip extra. Pizzas are the way to go though and expect to shell out $15 and $20 for a large pie depending on toppings.

1 comments:

Scott Strang July 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM  

It's Pizza to die for. Absolutely the best I've ever tasted.

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