Artichoke Basille’s – Revisited – Multiple Locations, NYC

by PizzaSnobo on October 6, 2011

Artichoke has been called the best pizza in New York City – which by some measuring sticks means the best pizza in the world. PizzaSnobo loves it too, as we said in our original pizza review. But Artichoke has always had its detractors and now that the restaurant has expanded to two more locations, could they be losing a step?

The original 14th Street location still gets the crowds, however, in our experience, the same cannot be said of the Chelsea and MacDougal Street locations. The Chelsea joint has plenty of seating, along with a separate section for pizza-by-the-slice that is reminiscent of the original. The first time we came here we had the Sicilian, and for the first time we were disappointed with an Artichoke slice. All the high quality ingredients were there, but the crust was like biting into a piece of over-oiled focaccia bread. No softness, just the oil and flour crumbling into our mouths.

The next couple of Artichoke trips was to the MacDougal Street location. The Sicilian here also had too much of an oily crunch, but the regular slice still had it right. Yet the secret of Artichoke’s artisan pizza does not seem to have penetrated to tourists in Greenwich Village. More people seem to be going to sub-par Ben’s, just a few doors away. Maybe it’s because of Artichoke’s more expensive slice. But that’s not a factor in the East Village.

When we did go back to 14th Street, seeing all those people on line was like a breath of fresh air. We had our tried and true regular slice and while the crust is not for everyone, this time there was a new problem. All those hunks of parmesan cheese mixed in with rich red sauce were overpowered by a pile of basil. Basil that wasn’t even cooked in. More like a fistful was dropped on top of the pizza a minute before it was to come out of the oven.

We ended up removing most of the basil and were happy campers once more. We’ll certainly keep coming back to the various Artichokes (and even order the signature dish), we just hope all the locations stay on top of their game at all times.

Department of Health Restaurant rating A

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