An example in a different context: should anyone besides professional joke tellers be allowed to write movie reviews of comedies? For all I know, A.O. Scott is hysterical to those who know him, but who do you trust more to tell you what's funny, him or Tina Fey?
Still, A.O.'s review of Get Him to the Greek might be useful for the intense and unsmiling - just like my review of 2 Amys is probably appropriate for the pizza apathetic.
The place makes a valliant effort to convert ye who yawns in the face of cheesy flat bread. Led by owner/chef Peter Pastan (Obelisk), the kitchen kneads up Neapolitan pizza in accordance with the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). That is, an Italian quality assurance label that demands dough with soft-grain flour, fresh yeast, water, and sea salt. The DOC also curbs toppings to Italian plum tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil or dried oregano. All these rules might sound too limiting, but they deliver a crisp and flavorful bread, which, in the case of the Margherita, sets up a good contrast for creamy, ample mounds of mozzarella and (DOC infraction?) plump capers.
The Margherita (DOC pizze)
Crispy underside of the DOC
Named after the wives of Pastan and former co-owner Tim Giamette, 2 Amys doesn't just rest on its Italian bona fides. The restaurant seeks out locally farmed ingredients, offers fruit-forward wines that go well with pizza, and boasts a menu of small plates that give you a break from all that dough-chewing. Is any other pizza joint in America capable of encoring a slice of puttanesca with head cheese (tangy and delicate) and venison jerky (way more moist than Macho Man's beef and spice)?
Plus, whereas the less savvy might have tried to fit a stuffy restaurant for squares into a round Vongole, Pastan smartly made his place an unassuming family-style parlor. Pizza's informal, blue collar fate was sealed by the potty-mouthed pie slingers in Mystic Pizza. Anywhere else, the pearled uppercrust wouldn't stand for a serenade of screaming children, but at Amys, tomato-stained toddlers gone wild are just "part of the scene."
You want to like 2 Amys, and the above dishes will have you grunting "Pizza Pizza!" with an occasional "offal!"
Unfortunately, given the rigorous Controllata on the amount of ingredients, there are only three DOC pizzas on the menu. The other "pizzes" disappoint. Take the 2 Amys: the two toppings, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, fall flat; I think I require at least four or five Amys. The Calabrese has six, but for all the tomato, onion, anchovy, mozzarella, parsley, and olives, it really should be tastier. Although most of the pizze fizzle, one noteable exception is the Vongole, which combines juicy cockles and hot pepper.
The 2 Amys
I've yet to go to 2 Amys with any pizza lovers. I can say, though, for the pizza liker, the place is fun and memorable, but so is trying to get to 21 while devouring a slice of clam pizza at cross-town Comet Ping Pong.