When going to pizza places that proclaim to be any sort of East Coast style, I try to bring along one of my many friends who are natives of New York or New Jersey as a judge of authenticity. One of my coworkers, who is always up for lunch, happens to be a native New Yorker, so I suggested cashing in a Groupon and grabbing lunch at Aponte’s.
Aponte’s is in Mason, in an area of Mason I had no idea existed (and I’ve worked here for five years). It’s “downtown” Mason, which I haven’t ventured into except for Wildflower, so it was fun to discover a whole new area of restaurants to try out. It’s easy to find (right across from Domino’s, coincidentally) and you enter in the back. The place is essentially an homage to New York sports: memorabilia from the Yankees, Mets, Giants and other local teams cover the walls and ESPN is on the TV, so it has a bit of a sports bar feel. Don’t be confused, however: the menu is all east coast.
Though there were lunch specials to be had (a personal pizza and a soda for $7, for example), we stuck with splitting a pizza and some garlic knots. All of their dough is homemade, as is their sauce, and they are proud to use 100% whole milk cheese (instead of part-skim mozzarella), as they don’t want to sacrifice flavor. Good for them– so many places use frozen dough or subpar cheese, and it’s nice to be able to get a good, traditional pizza at a good price (I wonder how Domino’s does across the street).
Garlic knots were good– very garlicky, and a generous portion (several were taken home). It was a good way to sample the dough, as traditionally these are made with leftover pizza dough. I’m not sure I’d order them again, as it seems silly for me to fill up on bread before I eat… bread with sauce on it, but they were quite good.
We ordered a pepperoni and onion pizza, and both of us thought it was particularly good– the crust was a little crisp, but still chewy; the sauce was spicy and the toppings flavorful. It’s hard to find true East Coast style pizza in Ohio, the land of people who cut their pizza into squares (like our Detroit brethren) but this is good. It’s not New York fold-it-in-half pizza, but that’s not the style it’s going for. I’d be happy to grab a pie on the way home from work, or maybe even make the trek up on the weekend. It’s good stuff. Even the New Yorker approved (though he said we had to go to Flying Pizza for the real, New York stuff– and that’ll happen soon).