Walking into any place that can boast of having won national recognition for its pizza, it’s hard to not sample some. The brick-oven pizzas are made with their signature semolina dough, fresh mozzarella cheese, and homemade sauce as a start.
But with the menu offered at Goodfella’s Bayonne, which opened its doors at 1007 Broadway recently, it is just as difficult to keep from sampling the variety of other offerings.
So we sampled both.
Fortunately, Goodfella’s offers several sizes of pies, including individual pies that allowed us to order two types and still have room – almost – to sample appetizers and a main dish.
The Bayonne Goodfella’s is one of three restaurants under the same ownership, with the other two located on Staten Island and Little Italy in Manhattan.
In competition in Las Vegas in 2007 and 2009, the pizza won the distinction of being the World’s Best, and in the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas in 2010, Goodfella’s was recognized as the best pizza on the East Coast.
People’s taste in pizza, of course, is very subjective, but it is hard not to argue that the pizza we sampled on this Saturday night in February was distinctive. It was unique both in its topping -- the cheese is put on first and then the tomato sauce -- and its crust, which is baked in a wood fired brick oven. Part of the secret to the pizza’s success is the semolina flour used to make the crust.
A solid menu
The Bayonne Goodfella’s has two sections, a front that caters to pickup and delivery, and a rear restaurant with room enough to handle several dozen sit-down guests comfortably. There’s also a large TV screen for them to keep up on the latest sports or program. The guests include a range of ages from families with young kids, working men in for a quick pie and several senior citizens lingering over a meal of linguini. Each guest is greeted with a basket of warm bread, made from the same dough as the pizza crust.
The menu offers a surprisingly broad choice of dishes, from appetizers that range in price from about $5.49 for bruschetta to $13.99 for a sampler platter for two. Other selections include hot antipasto for two, baked clams, mussels, Buffalo wings, chicken fingers, stuffed mushrooms and more.
There is an equally broad choice of salads that range from $4.95 for the house salad to $11.99 for antipasto for two.
Side dishes include sautéed spinach, meatballs or sausage, garlic mashed potatoes, soups, and wraps ranging from $3.49 to $7.49. Beverages include soda, various bottled waters, and Snapple.
Goodfella’s also offers a children’s menu that ranges from $3.99 to $4.99.
Hero sandwiches, which range from $7.99 to $8.99, are served on Italian hero bread with a side of waffle fries.
Entrees and pizza
Dinner pasta dishes are extremely reasonable, ranging from $10.99 for spaghetti and meatballs to $14.99 for penne broccoli and sausage. Dishes included lasagna, rigatoni, baked ziti, linguini with baby claims, ravioli spinach & sausage and other choices.
Dinner entrees run from $13.99 for eggplant parmigiana to $22.99 for brick oven steak dinners. Most of the items on the entrée menu run between $14.99 to $16.99 and offer some of the classics in Italian cuisine such as veal parmigiana and chicken francese and several very attractive seafood dishes.
The pizza menu is as diverse, offering Old World Style and Traditional NYC wood fried brick oven pizzas. Old World style offers a large eight-slice pie for $13.99, a square six-slice at $11.50 and an individual four-slice pie for $6.50. With NYC style, a large pie is $11.99, square pie, $9.99;and an individual pie, $5.99. Specialty pies run $17.99, $13.50, and $8.95.
The award winning pies include the pizza alla vodka, the Sally Pie, and Smokin Goodfella’s. But there are a number of other choices including Mushroom Madness, white pizza, vegetable delight, chicken parmigiana and others.
Goodfella’s also a number of discount coupons on its takeout menu, which customers should look over closely for special prices.
Getting a taste
On this occasion, we sampled two appetizers – homemade mozzarella and fried ravioli, a linguini and clam entrée, and two individual pies, one regular and a vegetarian delight.
The breaded mozzarella was deep-fried, with a crispy crust giving way to melted cheese inside, lightly spiced with parsley and crushed cheese. It was done well, but not greasy, and had a rich flavor.
The fried ravioli had a similar breading but a distinctly different taste that went extremely well with the marinara red sauce.
The helpings were substantial so that four people might be well fed on what we ordered.
The linguini and clam sauce comes in red or white, but the white is more popular, and with good reason. It had remarkably rich flavor, especially the clams. They were very fresh and sweet, flavored with a touch of basil and a significant amount of garlic, but not overwhelming.
The two types of pizza we ordered were very different from each other. The traditional pizza – which in this case puts the cheese on first, then the sauce – was light and crispy with a tangy taste, especially from the sauce, which has a reach punch.
The vegetable topped pizza, although made with the same basics, is a full meal in itself, heavier due to the number and variety of vegetables, and more substantial.
The amounts in each dish made it impossible to finish everything we ordered, yet each item left its own distinct impression – favorable, yet not overdone. Most of the customers we saw on this Saturday night left carrying doggie bags.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.