Maximo Pino Moves Into the Neighborhood
The floors of Maximo Pino (13th Street and Sixth Avenue) glisten under its fluorescent lights. A cleaning lady periodically wipes everything down, leaving the glass spotless. It is the first in what is expected to be a chain of restaurants throughout New York City.
Maximo Pino, a native of Italy, runs the self-titled restaurant himself. The menus are a scattered mix of English and Italian. Though gelato is the highlight of their business, they also sell coffee, espresso, paninis, salads, and Neapolitan-style personal pizzas.
While the selection is good, the restaurant's prices are, at times, ludicrous. Coffee and mochas start at $1.80 and $2.75 for a small, not including tax. It costs $4.90 for a small gelato and $6.10 for a large. Pizza, however, is most expensive, with a basic margherita pizza costing $10.80 for a thin-crust pie that can barely feed two people with its dismal size. The toppings, with unique flavors ranging from red beets to buffalo mozzarella, are what carry the pizzas. There is also a "make your own pizza" option that starts at $6.70.
Coffee, both black and of the latte variety, has a smooth, earthy taste. The pastries, to accompany your cup of joe, are delicious and imported from Pino’s family bakery in Italy.
The gelato, while expensive, is quite good. What differentiates gelato from ice cream is that ice cream is made out of 18 percent butter fat while gelato only contains 4 percent, with the rest made up of cream. This gives it a richer, creamier flavor and texture, which I have yet to experience in conventional ice cream. There is no artificial flavoring in Maximo Pino’s products. Their chocolate gelato gets its flavor from chocolate, their popcorn gelato is in fact made with popcorn, and their mango sorbet is simply mango, water, sugar and ice.
Though pricy, the quality of Maximo Pino’s coffee and gelato are worth making the trip across the street from Fogelman Library. They provide free WiFi and comfy couches as well, making the ambitious restaurant a great place to study and converse.