My girlfriend and I went to see Shakespeare in the Park production of "Hamlet" the a couple of nights ago in the sweltering heat. An interesting adventure awaited us at the park. More on that in a bit. We had dinner at Arturo's at 106 West Houston Street NY, NY. Phone number 212-677-3820. No website. I had been wanting to try this place for a while as it is one of the few remaining coal-oven, whole pie only (no slices) places left in the city.
Sadly, I was not at all impressed with the food here. The service was great and our guy was right there when we needed him. We started out with a salad to share that had mixed lettuces, olives, tomatoes, carrots and roasted red peppers on it. I splashed some balsamic and olive oil on it and it was okay, but honestly, the lettuces and the vegetables looked a bit tired to me. Not the best salad I've ever had.
We also shared a small pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and roasted red peppers. Now, I don't usually judge my food on looks alone, but when he brought the pizza to our table, my immediate thought was, "I know I'm not going to like this pizza". It was too round, too neat, too uniform in shape. It reminded me of the perfectly round pizzas from the freezer section of the supermarket. The mozzarella (the dairy case variety, not fresh) was lackluster and I thought that the tomato sauce was flat tasting and slightly bitter. The roasted red peppers tasted as though they were pickled and had a somewhat vinegary tang to them that masked their sweetness. Despite all of this, the biggest disappointment was the crust. To give them SOME credit, it was blackened in spots on the bottom and the top and had some nice browned bubbles on top. The texture, however, was that of crispy, chewy cardboard. I had a pizza like this elsewhere before,and I just can't place it, but I didn't like it then and I don't like this one now. I turned down a second slice, an occurrence, that for me, happens as often as the appearance of Halley's Comet!! They do have pastas, seafood and meats on the menu, but I am not in any rush to return.
So....we made it to the Delacorte Theater (outdoors) in Central Park and the production of "Hamlet" was wonderful and going nicely, until we noticed the lightning flashes in the sky, heard the thunder and could see the leaves starting to swirl about the stage. Hamlet was delivering this very powerful speech and in the midst of it, the leaves started to surround him in a deafening maelstrom and he belted it out and gave that speech everything he had, at end of which, the audience gave him a standing ovation! Amazing! The next scene had four actors on a catwalk and they finally had to cancel the show as the winds were really picking up and it became too dangerous and alas, the show mustn't go on. As we walked through the park to the subway we saw huge branches laying about across walkways and benches. The winds were so powerful that they had ripped these things right off of the trees! We had no idea how severe it was until we had left the theater. A very powerful night, indeed!