My senior year of high school, I went to Paris for the first time. My expectations were high; I’d romanticized Paris in my head for years. And when I got there, I was disappointed. Same thing happened in Dublin. I had these dreams of what each place would be like — I’d find my true love on the banks of the Seine, I’d drink a pint in a cozy wool sweater surrounded by the green hills of the Emerald Isle — dreams that reality could never match. What am I trying to say? That having excessively high expectations can lead to disappointment.
Over the years, there is one thing that I’ve learned to have zero expectations of: anything purporting to be “NY pizza” outside of New York. In general, I try to avoid any establishment making such a claim at all costs. Last night, I threw all caution to the wind and visited Lenny’s NY Pizza Co’s location in Ormond-by-the-Sea. What lured me in you ask? Well, just do a quick image search for their garlic knots. It’s ok. I’ll wait.
Oh, you don’t want to open another tab? Ok, well, I’ll just leave this right here.
Do you see that parm? The parm in the olive oil? Zomg. Now, these are not your traditional strips of dough tied in a knot and then slathered with garlic. No, no my friends. Dare I say it, these are better. The edges are crispy and the insides are pillowy soft. And as you tear into them there are so many surfaces to dip into that cheese/oil/garlicky goodness. (I like that you add a k when writing garlicky, mostly because I really wanted to lick the plate.)
I don’t know what Lenny’s is like on a week night; we went on a Saturday at about 7:30pm and they were SLAMMED. Like the estimated delivery time was two hours. Our server was running all over the place. There was a back up for the oven, but every minute we waited was worth it. Also, giving ourselves a buffer between those garlic knots and the rest of the food was a-ok by me.
After watching the most gigantic pizza boxes I’ve every seen go out the door (24″ is their extra large!), out came the night’s special: a ziti bolognese (pork, veal, and beef in that sauce) and an eggplant stromboli. According to our server, that bolognese simmered for more than four hours. The meat was incredibly tender and the flavor of the sauce was spot on.
Now, let’s talk stromboli. Lenny’s gets a 12/10 because they peeled their eggplant. This, to me, is the defining characteristic of people who know their way around such an Italian staple. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, have some eggplant parm with and without the skin. There’s a world of difference.
So, eggplant: A+. The dough was perfectly crispy and gorgeously thin. And the cheese. Once my blogger skills get better, I’ll go back and boomerang the heck out of that cheese pull. I’m thinking of the leftovers in the fridge right now and I’m basically that drooly face emoji.
No, we didn’t have pizza. I told you already, I have trust issues. But, through this showing, Lenny’s has gained my trust. Next time, we’ll get a slice…or maybe a whole pie. And yes, there will be a next time because Lenny’s second location is only seven minutes away from our new apartment. And, I owe you a cheese pull.