Since Superstorm Sandy in 2012 the food scene in Rockaway, Queens has experienced a renaissance. Say what you will about hipsters and gentrification, it usually doesn’t have a negative effect on the level of cuisine produced by eateries in the affected neighborhoods.
One of these post-Sandy additions to Rockaway is Whit’s End, a restaurant and pizzeria located at 97-14 Rockaway Beach Blvd – and it is a welcome addition.
The menu changes daily and features local fresh products such as blue fish and little neck clams. Picky eaters should beware because substitutions are strictly forbidden.
Even though Whit’s End is primarily a pizzeria, a major specialty is the smoked blue fish dip. The dip is prepared with locally caught blue fish and the smoking is done in house. If you enjoy a smoky oily flavor profile similar to smoked white fish or smoked salmon complimented with a rich smooth texture, the smoked blue fish dip will most certainly not disappoint.
Whit’s End does not do individual slices. Their pies are four slices and can feed one person, albeit that person will be quite full. A pie and a side like the aforementioned smoked blue fish dip is the perfect amount of food for a pair of diners.
An important aspect of the pizza experience is the dough. Good pizza starts with quality dough, just like a sturdy building requires a strong foundation. While Whit’s End pizza crust isn’t New York style but it is thin, crisp and delicious.
Their menu has at least ten pizzas at all times and all the pies are the same size and made fresh to order.
The salsiccia e vongole pizza has the same flavor profile as the Italian pasta dish that is its namesake. The salsiccia e vongole pie features homemade sausage, fresh local little neck clams and peporcini. The clams are served in their shell so at the risk of stating the obvious, eat the clams and discard the shells before consuming the rest of the pizza.
The Alba pizza is one the vegetarian items on menu but can be enjoyed by carnivores and herbivores alike. The pizza features harvested mushrooms, taleggio cheese, fior di latte cheese, thyme and truffle oil. The earthy mushroom flavor is abundant in every bite. The cheese, herbs, oil and mushrooms all complement each other coming together to make a singular cohesive flavor profile.
Good food with simple ingredients in a humble setting is always a dining pleasure. Whit’s End proves that dinner coats and cloth napkins aren’t necessary to have a delicious and inventive dining experience.
You may go to Rockaway for the beach, but you should stay for the pizza.