August 16, 2004 | Ask Gael
What’s swifter and surer than Prozac?

         Thoroughly bummed out after bailing on a touted but listless place in Queens, the four of us speed toward Manhattan seeking instant comfort. That’s how we get to Patsy’s Pizzeria, the beloved, ancient, way-uptown anchor of the chainlet. Though the place is mildly trendified, with a few modish items like crème brûlée and chocolate soufflé and bright-red aprons all around, the waiters are still impatient and scold you if you change your mind. And the pizza tastes like childhood. A pleasant-enough Caesar, a mountain of freshly fried zucchini, and four beers cheer us up as we wait for the major mood elevator. For the purists, a big, crispy-edged margherita, cheese and tomato perfectly balanced, and a second with anchovy on one side, pepperoni on the other. Our innate optimism has been restored for less than $20 each. Cash, of course. Some customs are not easy to gentrify.

2287–91 First Avenue, near 117th Street 212 534 9783

Cafe Fiorello

Patina Restaurant Group