Bye bye Nino's, Hello ...
I guess Nino's is dead. Super bummer. Amore has taken its place and I've been there three times since they opened. The photos pictured here are the ones from my first or second visit but the score and stuff are gonna be based off the third visit. If this doesn't make sense to you, I understand completely. So little makes any sense to me on any given day that I'm generally not sure if I need to shit or change religions.
Scratch that it was just a poop.
As I mentioned, I've been here three times during this review process. I had such a profound pizzasexual love of Nino's that I figured I should give their replacement a fair shake. And I think I have. I say that because the first two visits were fairly rubbish. The people, the service, etc etc were absolutely great. But the pizza was super mediocre. Maybe less than mediocre. It was this thin, floppy, dumb, pan-or-screen-cooked stuff that was bordering on raw on bottom. It was a bummer.
The above picture is not the one I reviewed (the third), it's the first or second. Generally speaking all three have looked pretty good and they're big slices coming in at $2.25. Probably the main flaw of the first two slices was that they weren't cooked enough. Now, a superbly-made pizza, made of the finest ingredients, will not give a shit if it has been cooked to the perfect done-ness. A baller-ass pizza tells you when it's done and if you disagree, it tells you too fuck off to Papa John's elongated rectal cavern carnival.
A mediocre pizza, screen-cooked, under-yeasted and sadly schlopped together is a different story. Such a pizza depends entirely on how well it is cooked, necessarily. All the components are brought together and the only thing left is the heat. You fuck that up and you have a shit pizza. On the other hand if you cook it properly you have a pretty good slice, despite its structural inadequacies (that's what she said).
The third time was the charm at Amore because the slice was pretty fucking tasty. If they cooked their pizzas on-deck and maybe fiddled with their dough formulation slightly, they would be a real god damn serious contender and a worthy successor to the late Nino's. The cheese was good and greasy. The sauce, at least on the last visit, was pretty damn good.
I do, however, think that their takeover of Nino's urbanspoon page is disingenuous to the point of super jerkiness.
3 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Amore on Market - $2.25
2535 Castle Hayne Wilmington, NC 28401
Good pizza in Castle Hayne, what the shit
I've been to this place once before and the slice was alright, kind of mediocre. I decided to go back today because I was driving past it anyway, plus I got this strange card for Xmas called a Frank Card, which allegedly entitled me to a free slice of pizza from Nino's. Well when I got there it turns out you have to buy something to get that free slice. I didn't really give a shit because I was going to get something anyway, but normally I'd take a shit on the floor of such a shyster establishment. Regardless it would be a good deal though - 2 slices for $1.75? That's an even better deal than the shitty buck-slices in NYC.
The pizza was good. Here's a picture:
Let's start with the bad, because that's the most fun. It's got a big old burnt bubble on it! Either they cooked the pie too long to begin with or they cooked the slice too long on reheat. Either way, that's pretty shitty. It didn't bother me a ton, though. It's also a bit more greasy than a lot of places. That's a negative for most people but I'm totally down with a fairly greasy slice. My favorite pies from childhood were always pretty damn greasy. Finally to round out the negatives, this slice is a bit small in my estimation. However, for a buck seventy-five, you can't really complain too much. Come to think of it, it sort of looks like a plain slice of pizza from a Papa John's franchise with substandard Quality Control. And yet it was good!?
The cheese is good, the sauce is good, and the crust, though that rim doesn't look too good in the picture, is probably somewhere in that nebulous realm between good and great. Very thin, yet not floppy. Had a very nice crunch to it and it folded perfectly. The bottom was well cooked, unlike that mutant burn-bubble and the strange rim. I can't really talk shit about the rim because even though it looked a bit overdone, it was more or less what I'd consider the ideal NY texture. It also tasted very good. There was the right amount of salt there and the flour seemed like the high gluten you'd expect from this type of pizza.
The shop itself is pretty nice and quaint. I don't know anything about the history of Nino's but I'm guessing they made pizza in NY before moving down here. Their one fault in this regard, which is excusable when you live in redneck Castle Hayne, is that they're a bit too nice. And they're not even terribly nice by any local standard. It's just that I love pizzerias where the guy handing you your pizza looks as though he's really pissed off that he forgot to spit on your slice.
Thanks for the free slice, guys. It didn't have any effect on your recirc score (which woulda been better if the slice had been cooked less), I swear.