NY Pizza Company is family-owned, and it's the only restaurant the Pann family owns. It's just the name that makes it sound like a chain. The Panns have done a really nice job of making NY Pizza look like an old-fashioned pizza parlor. Any place with a black-and-white tile floor, emerald-green tablecloths and high-back leatherette booths puts me in a good mood.
Like almost any place, NY Pizza would look and feel better with people in it. It was a rainy night when we visited, and we had the place to ourselves, although we did see people leaving when we came in and coming in when we left. We saw, too, plenty of food being packed up for delivery. In spite of a few upscale flourishes here and there, NY Pizza still feels casual.
There are many, many pizza toppings to choose from, as well as a few slightly unusual specialty pies featuring concoctions like Chinese restaurant-style orange chicken, cheese steak or Thai chicken with cilantro. We tried a plain cheese-and-tomato pizza with anchovies, which were generously given, and the Thai pizza. I liked this one, with its pretty cilantro and tiny broccoli florets. Its sauce was impressively spicy, too.
NY Pizza prepares its own pizza dough, and it does taste fresh, but I like the finished product to be crispier.
The full name of this restaurant is the NY Pizza Company & Italian Bistro, and it's that "bistro" that makes the place different. The bistro specialties are mostly pasta dishes, outfitted with things like blackened salmon, grilled lamb, Cajun chicken and shrimp Alfredo. Most of these specialty pastas come plated with grilled seasonal vegetables, and all of them are accompanied by a house salad and a garlic knot. These specialty pasta options are in addition to the basic "traditional favorites" of pasta with clam sauce, bolognese, marinara and Alfredo. There's also an invitation to "create your own pasta platter" from sauces and such ingredients as mussels, tilapia and mahi mahi.
We tried the blackened salmon, which was served with marinara sauce on the side. The dish contained a good piece of well-cooked salmon, but the vegetables were a little slimy, the way they get in ratatouille. I'm always on the lookout for a good linguine and white clam sauce, and the version here is just OK.
The appetizers we chose were decent, but nothing we'd order again. Mushroom caps stuffed with breadcrumbs and cheese may have just needed more broiling time, but the N.Y.-style rice balls looked and tasted like the mixture you put into stuffed green peppers. Dessert options are limited to rice pudding, Mrs. Pose-style cheesecake and black-bottom cupcakes, and cannoli.
NY PIZZA COMPANY & ITALIAN BISTRO
Where: 10995 Owings Mills Blvd.
Open: 11 a.m.--10 p.m. Monday --Thursday,
11 a.m.--11 p.m. Friday-Saturday,
noon--10 p.m. Sunday
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Amex
Food: ** (2 STARS)
Service: ** 1/2 ( 2 1/2 STARS)
Ambience: ** (2 STARS)