Ever since I moved to Florida from northeast Pennsylvania more than a dozen years ago I’ve been on a quest to find some decent pizza. After all, I hail from an area home to the “Pizza Capital of the World,” Old Forge.
Pizza in Old Forge is life. Main Street is full of pizza shop after pizza shop all selling their version of Old Forge style pizza that’s rectangular in shape, has a semi-thick, baked crust (often times referred to as a shell) and topped with sauce that usually has onions in it and a cheese blend who’s recipe is closely guarded amongst the shop’s owners.
Oh, I miss that stuff and there’s nothing close to it here in south Florida.
While all regions of America have their own style of pizza, one transplant from New Haven, CT., is located in Boca Raton and Coral Springs – Nick’s New Haven Style Pizzeria Bar. Their pizza is referred to as “apizza,” a term coined in New Haven to describe the style they serve – and they serve big pies!
Coal fired ovens, recipes that go back 20 years and cheese referred to as “mootz” go into making a thin crust pizza that comes in many different varieties – from the traditional plain crust pizza that only has sauce, romano cheese and oregnao on it, to one of their signature white clam pies. I’m not daring enough to try clams on a pizza, but I was with some folks who had the white clam with bacon and they said it was “delicious!”
I said their pizzas are big. Let me correct that. Their pizzas are huge. They come out on a big metal tray and are big enough to feed four people. Easily. Well, two if you’re both hungry. Unlike that Old Forge style pizza I talked about earlier, Nick’s crust is thin and foldable with a nice char on it from the coal oven.
While it’s not Old Forge pizza, “apizza” from Nick’s is pretty damn good! But there’s more to the menu than just that. They also have a full menu of Italian classics.
The House Salad is enough for two people to share and is nothing spectacular. But it is a great way to start off the meal and give the illusion that even though you’re going to be eating pizza, there’s a healthy side to your meal as well! I leave off the chick peas, though.
Their Bruschetta is really good as well and is enough for 2 people.
One of my favorites is the Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with a nice balsamic glaze.
Another favorite is the Sausage and Peppers appetizer. Like most of the portions at Nick’s this is enough for a main dish. The sausage is sliced thin, isn’t spicy and would be great on top of some spaghetti. Will have to try it that way next time.
I mentioned Italian classics, here’s one for you – the Chicken Parmigiana. A nice size breaded chicken cutlet topped with mozzarella and Nick’s homemade sauce. Now there was nothing spectacular about this dish, it was pretty run-of-the-mill, but it’s one of those comfort foods that you would expect to be on the menu at an Italian joint. It’s served with a bowl of pasta which was a little light on the sauce but cooked al dente.
The Chicken Puttanesca was a slam dunk for me during our recent visit. Three pieces of sauteed chicken topped with kalamata olives, garlic, capers, cherry tomatoes and a delicious sauce. Will definitely be ordering this one again. Unlike the chicken parm, this was not served with a side of pasta. My plate did not need to be washed when I was done with dinner… it was that good.
With all this food, we did not save room for dessert.
Usually when I have friends in town, or someone looking for good pizza, I send them to Nick’s. They have a full bar that’s both indoors and out, although the cigarette smoke from people sitting outside often ends up inside the restaurant (ugh). It’s a casual spot that’s good for families and is priced reasonably.
Nothing fancy, nothing stripped down either.
Just good, solid pizza and Italian.