It was only a matter of time before the Department of Health shuttered the doors of Di Fara. I noted the disgusting conditions a few weeks ago when I had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing what goes on behind the counter. If you’re unfamiliar with Di Fara, it’s often hailed as having the city’s best pizza, and made by the legendary Dom DeMarco.
For similar reasons (inadequate personal cleanliness, evidence of mice, filth flies, dirty kitchen, etc.) they were also closed in 2007. Di Fara responded on Facebook by stating that the closure was due to “personal matters” and there was a glitch in the “paperwork bureaucracy” of the DOH’s grading system. It’s incredibly entertaining to see how devoted and willfully ignorant the fans are.
And yes, I told you so.
Di Fara (site) ★★★☆☆
1424 Ave J
Brooklyn, NY 11230
Scout Mob had a 100% off deal for Pommes Frites, a tiny shack near St. Marks Place that serves up Belgian-style french fries. Since they’re thickly sliced, it’s more similar to a potato wedge in size. You might have guessed from the name that the primary item sold is an order of fries. What attracts people to this one trick pony are the 30 dipping sauces available. Belgians usually enjoy their pommes frites with a variety of sauces other than ketchup. With unconventional options ranging from Wasabi Mayo to Smoked Eggplant, it’s not easy to settle on just one. Fortunately, the samples that you’re allowed are quite generous. Seating is typical of a St. Marks establishment (but turnover is high).
Brunch is easily the most disproportionately priced meal of the day, commanding high prices for food that someone like myself can make at home. I met up with a friend at 7A, an East Village diner, for a late lunch. Outside, there was a large group of the young locals waiting for a table to clear up. Once inside, the crowd triples in density, and you’ll need to be careful not to bump into or stumble over something on your way to a seat. Caritas and I took advantage of the brunch menu, which was available until 6pm. Over the Top 40 tracks pumping through the speakers, I asked for the Roasted Pepper Benedict ($14). The brunch special included coffee and an alcoholic drink. Not a terrible price.
Continuing my weekend of Brooklyn adventuring, I met up with some friends to try the legendary pizza of Domenico DeMarco, better known as the proprietor of Di Fara. Dom started his Midwood pizzeria almost 50 years ago with no expectation of receiving the fame of what is reputed to be NY’s best pizza. Despite his age, he still does the bulk of the pizza-making, with his children playing a supporting role. Di Fara attracts hungry customers from all around the country, so expect a long wait.
Num Pang is a favorite of mine, so it was only a matter of time before I brought my foodie friend Derek along. Num Pang means “bread” or “sandwich” in Cambodian, and is most similar to a Vietnamese banh mi with Cambodian themes. They take it a step further by creatively mixing top-quality, local ingredients to achieve an impressive selection of sandwiches. Apparently I’ve been here often enough for the girl to recognize me, and I’d have chatted with her were it not for the long, but fast-moving, line. Derek and I ordered a Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly ($7.75) and a Hoisin Veal Meatballs ($7.00). I wasn’t leaving without a Blood Orange Lemonade ($2.50), and convinced Derek to grab one too.
I was in the mood for banh mi, hoping Saigon Viet Sandwich Deli would satisfy me. I walk in and order a number 3 for $4.50 (minced pork glazed) and sit in the far corner, where the girl brings me my sandwich.
I stopped by with a friend to these steamed buns. From what I gathered, Pumpkin and Roast Pork were popular, so I got two of each (70 cents ea). Aaron got three of the sesame seed buns, egg custard buns, and egg custard tarts (all less than $4). We quickly realized we ended up with more food than we could possibly eat in one sitting.