“not total garbage…but not far off either.”
That was how I started a review on the Pizza shop around the corner. I signed up for an account at “yelp” of all places just to write the review.
The Pizza shop is called Verde, and it is located right round the corner from me on Irving and Bleecker. The shop is owned by Charlie Verde. Charlie is a Sicilian who is from Ozone Park. Charlie’s is married to a woman whose father left her a few buildings in Bushwick.
Charlie is pretty much now manages the buildings his wife inherited, and before this place was a restaurant, is was home for his now defunct real estate business. Charlie (like most Italian’s) thinks he’s a authority on Italian Cooking so he decides that he is gonna open a restaurant. Whilst doing construction on the restaurant, he finds a wall in the basement that isn’t supposed to be there. So he removes the wall and discovers an old coal burning oven from 100 years ago. So Charlie fully restores the oven, and you know, its vision of beauty I tell you. It’s so beautiful that it’s almost criminal that all the food that comes out of it is garbage.
Its the most beautiful oven for miles, and the guy manning it, can’t cook. Well thats life for you; filled full of moments of irony just like this restaurant. Interesting decor that I am pretty sure he lifted from Saraghina (Halsey and Lewis).
Now I am not giving my opinion of this place based upon having only eaten there once, nor is it of my low opinion of Charlie. First off Charlie isn’t evil or anything. As for the food, I have eaten at Verde enough times to think that I have given the place a chance. (at least 6). Not only that I brought people I know to Verde, thinking they might not agree with me and actually like the food…I was wrong. I had American Italians, off the boat Italians, Germans, Turks, my Mom (Italian from Brooklyn)…and the feelings were pretty much the same.
The pizza (which should be his signature dish) is not good at all. Crust was not like any I had encountered before, kind of thick and cardboard-ish. The sauce, was very bland. Tomatoes, and paste, thats it.
The prices didn’t make sense for a guy who doesn’t have a landlord seeing how he owns the building. I ordered the caponata 3 or 4 times and every time it came out different. This is a fundamental issue with the restaurant: consistency. Will they have olive oil for the bread? Not always. Will they always have fresh cracked pepper? No. Little things that add up.
All in all, I felt if Charlie spent as much time respecting the craft of cooking, as he did walking around talking shit, they might actually have a line outside.
What they do have is all the new white people in the neighborhood going there keeping it alive. Charlie also owns the building across the street in which the Bodega is in, aka mi casa segundo. After thirty years Charlie offered to renew the lease for only half the store and for more than they pay now. Pretty much a passive eviction in my opinion. They took him to court but they really have no rights in this case, so they are gone in three weeks. Willow weep for me.
Anywho, I looked at the “Verde”Yelp rating the other day, and noticed that 14 reviews had been “filtered”. Yelp explains filtering as a system of trying to keep all reviews accurate. However as a business that gets negative press on Yelp you can pay them to filter it for you. That sounds like extortion, hardly a service a business needs.
My review had been filtered, but there was one that wasn’t:
Hey Verde, FUCK YOU. I live around the corner from you on Bleecker St and at the moment you are throwing a stupid fucking party and blasting off rounds and rounds of fire crackers effectively waking us and our new born over and over again. And despite several noise complaints to our WORTHLESS police dept you are still at it more than ever and it’s nearing midnight. Thanks for your thoughtful consideration of the neighborhood.
This was written by a user named “Jessica C”. My upstairs neighbor moved out a week ago, her name was Jessica Chang. This had to be the same person. Also the Jessica Chang who bitched about the Mexican parties on the weekend, who bitch about my cigarette smoking in my own apartment. The same person who when we had a block party last year, she came outside covering her ears… are you fucking serious? She asked the landlord to have someone talk to the neighbor about the volume of his music.
I checked out her account on Yelp and it was just one star reviews with her bitching about whatever miserable experience she had. This is also the same person who is covered in Tattoos and piercings.
Tattoo’s used to mean something; it meant outlaw, outside the system, rebel, loose, wild and free. For her it was obviously just an outfit, because she was pretty miserable always complaining about the neighborhood.
So here we have two people changing the neighborhood already at odds with each other. The end is near.