East Village: When the pizza place Tonda opened a month ago, the big question was, "Can this place succeed where The E.U failed?" Can a minor makeover of the space, a major overhaul of the theme, and a pizza oven more expensive than some automobiles save one of the unluckiest (and at one time heavily protested) operations on East 4th Street? The jury's still out on this one, but a glance at the early reviews reveals owner Bob Giraldi and Co. better step up their game if they really want to make this work. Then again they could always relaunch it as a banh mi shop.
The Not So Great News: The first Yelper enjoyed the decor but was less than thrilled by the food: "The ambiance is beautiful. It's a second coming of Death & Co. Dark browns and creamy whites, with muted lighting and a chic atmosphere which would be better suited for $14 cocktails rather than $14 pizzas. The waitstaff are commensurately hip and beautiful, as were the first smatterings of punters (excluding yours truly). As for the food, not quite as beautiful. The mark of a good Neapolitan pizza is a crispy charred crust, a flavorful tomato sauce, and a creamy mozzarella. Tonda failed at all three points, presenting a doughy, soggy crust with no discernible char or depth of flavor. The sauce was incredibly watery and under seasoned, and the cheese was rubbery and cheap." [Yelp]
The Ambivalent News: A review on Menupages describes a mediocre performance by Tonda: "I was hoping to find a great LES pizza spot based on the nymag review, but I found the food to be pretty standard. I got the vegetarian pizza, and it was good, but nothing great. We had the rice balls to start, and those were very good. The atmosphere was absolve average - very cute spot, and outdoor dining if there are only two of you. Don't go expecting amazing food - but if you care more about some decent thin pizza and good atmosphere, this spot should satisfy." [Menupages]
The "That's Amore" News: Erin Hershberg of MartiniBoys.com delivers a glowing review of Tonda. She says that "the warm, bricked-in atmosphere, akin to dining in a wine cellar is the perfect spot to enjoy a handmade, heart-warming, slice of Italy and, for that matter, the ideal locale to have a glass of wine" and raves about the food. [Martini Boys]
The OK News: A Chowhounder writes in about her okay experience. She "found the pizzas fine but the crust was lacking in structure. It didn't hold up to the toppings put on, especially if there was tomato sauce... Decent enough char. The margherita pie was very wet. Droopy from the crust ring down, and hard to eat, due to how weak the crust was. Pies were served whole but the knives provided were not really good at cutting through. We shared 3 pies and wanted to split them up and there was a fair amount of sawing going on. Nice tasting crust, though, and I also liked the tomato sauce." [Chowhound]
The 'Wow I'm Disappointed' News: From another Yelper: "Wow was I disappointed with this place! They have a super-fancy pizza oven which is supposed to do wonderful things to pizza. I really didn't expect RUBBERY to be one of them. I went expecting wonderful pizza and got overpriced, totally mediocre pizza, served by a clueless and careless waitstaff. There were 3 of us and we all felt the same way. Not one of us expects to try it again." [Yelp]