Bravo Kosher Pizza
By: Shoshana Blum
Broadway @ 37th Street – (212) 268-4499
Over the summer I worked at a local camp as a counselor. One of my friends who had been working at the camp with me came to my house for Shabbos. Sitting around after Shabbos, we decided we should go out to eat because we wanted to please our food blog audience. Actually, more because we were hungry. Though teenagers may work hard all summer, we don’t get paid much.* So we did what all self-respecting, low-paid employees do, go for pizza. In honor of motzaei Shabbos, we decided to try out, upscale pizza, aka Bravo.
So Esther, my friend Chaya and I took the train to 42nd street. We got out of the subway station, and I couldn’t figure out which direction to walk toward Broadway. Common story for many, but as a native New Yorker, I was admittedly ashamed of myself. We walked a few blocks to 37th, wondering if we would find the restaurant. While walking, we talked about a lot of things because when you put teenage girls together (happy birthday to Esther who is now a teenager) the weirdest topics come up. On our topic list came the numa numa song, shoes, and wondering if it was even possible that while trying out a new restaurant we would NOT run into somebody we knew- probably on a date.
Never mind all that, back to the food. We walk up to the restaurant and see a massive line of Jews and non-Jews (because, of course, we can just tell the difference!?) at 11pm waiting for some really good pizza. The window outside displayed about twenty plus different pie combinations I had never even thought to make. They looked really tempting and fresh, having been prepared soon after Shabbos ended. We spent most of our time there on line, saying things like totssupcool and taking selfies.
After about a twenty minute wait, we were right outside the door when I noticed there were no french-fries on their menu (which dear readers you likely already know, is a pet-peeve of mine). Seriously?! It’s a pizzeria. There has to be fries. I was thinking this as we got pushed through the door. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful ceiling. Copper colored with individual square panels that looked rustic and like I was eating in a café in Italy. Not that I have been to Italy, but you know what I mean, quaint. Not so quaint is Bravo’s counter that runs all the way down the side of the restaurant when you walk in, so there is about a lane and a half of space to walk along side it. This space was taken up by crowds of people ordering their food.
We were standing at the door at the back of the line, and I looked around for a paper menu. The man behind the counter, who looked frazzled and hot from the amount of work and stress that night, came up to us and yelled over the noise, “What can I get you?” I took the hint and guessed there were no menus…oooookaay…if I wanted food, this may be my only chance. Chaya and Esther ordered a baked ziti to share. I, still a little confused about the lack of menu, just pointed to the first slice of pizza I saw and asked the man behind the counter, “Hey, Dude? Is that slice good?” He didn’t even answer–just put the slice on a plate and pushed it down the counter like in an old Western bar scene. The people in line whom we had been talking to for a few minutes started laughing. I guessed I would find out soon enough if it was good or not. We were all laughing really hard at the situation.
When I got to the end of the counter, a woman asked me what I had ordered, and I told her I didn’t know. She figured out I had gotten a stuffed vegetable pizza. The serving of baked ziti was massive. So with our food in hand, we took our seats at the back of the restaurant. The baked ziti was delicious. It was like an Alf redo and baked ziti hybrid. It was great. Not too much
sauce and the flavors were excellent. Honestly, we haven’t tasted such good pasta anywhere this good yet in Manhattan.
The pizza was interesting. It was also a very large portion, and I had to eat it with a knife and fork, which was a first for me since I was two and my mother spoon-fed me pizza (or did I just dream that?). It was a not-so-crusty crust filled with vegetables and cheese. To me, it tasted like regular vegetable pizza–just messier. It was still very good. Unfortunately, it was right about the time that cheese fell out the side of my pizza and landed on me that the lights turned on and the much-enjoyed ambiance died.
We had an interesting time at Bravo Kosher Pizza. I think I would go there over Café Roma on the West Side, …because the train ride and roaming around 42nd street was way more exciting than Amsterdam at 102nd street. On the way home, we stopped for slurpees at 7/11 and got a super sugar rush! We got home and rolled into bed with full bellies.
The next day at work I was sitting in the playground with my adorable campers. One of my co-counselors walked over to me an told me she was on a date the night before, and driving past Bravo Pizza she saw us! We didn’t see her, but it goes to show, it really is impossible to go out on to eat and not see someone you know.
* Now that we have completed our tween years, we might need to change our domain name to kosherTEENS. Stay tuned.