Only in New York have I sat in a pizza joint and heard two men discuss the gastronomy of their pie as though it was haute cuisine:
Man 1: Phenomenal. The creaminess of the bufala against the bite of the sauce, it’s not too sweet, you know? The crust, my God, look at this. It’s a religious experience.
Man 2: (nodding) The Gestalt.
Man 1: (sounding humbled) I… I never expected this.
Man 2: (smug) What did I tell you? That’s why I live in New York.
Some of the pizza places in New York are more like shrines than restaurants. Grimaldi’s, famous for its coal-fired brick oven and the patronage of Frank Sinatra, is one.
In Manhattan, I like John’s pizza, the one on Bleecker street or (if necessary) the offshoot in Times Square. Sit down in one of their wooden booths and prepare to be dazzled by the ecstasy-inducing combination of salty, browned cheese, charcoal-dotted crust and tangy sauce.
There are plenty of newer, high-end pizza places. I tend to avoid these in favor of the classics, but I did enjoy the stunning, smoky montanara pizza at Don Antonio, which is run by two Neapolitans with pizza sauce in their blood
The bottom line: it’s worth visiting New York just for the pizza. Oh, and Per Se is good, too.
Oh my gosh, it’s 5:30 am and I’m hungry for PIZZA. I’ll think of it as a ‘New York State of Mind’.
Pizza is like champagne. It’s always a good time for it. The LSH loves it cold for breakfast 🙂
robert okaji said:
Yep. Can’t make this at home.
Sylvie G said:
I think I’ll have pizza tonight 🙂
It’s always good!
Since I left New York, I miss New York Pizza more than anything, and almost anybody, else. I have had pizza at John’s and other notable and unknown great places that make brick oven pizza – which I think is authentic, delicious and much like the pizza I had in Italy.
But none of those pizzas is representative of ” a slice.” “A Slice” is not as elite as a brick oven pizza, which can only be bought ( usually) as a whole pie, though they come in individual sizes sometimes. ” A Slice is what you get at a “pizza place,” (pizzeria), and you can get one slice if that’s all you want. Kids stop in for a slice on their way home from school, probably daily. The pizzas with various toppings are usually displayed in a case, and at the time you order at the counter, there may or may not be a fresh pie right out of the oven It’s possible that you’ll get a re- warmed slice ( which has its own special deliciousness). Some places have plain pies, (cheese and sauce) and you can request a topping, which is added and the slice thrown in the oven. Some pizza places offer a thin crust Margherita with fresh mozzarella – and charge more for it than for a regular slice.
“A Slice” from a pie right out of the oven can burn the roof of your mouth because the cheese on top is so damned hot. It’s recommended to drain or blot the piping hot red oil before folding and/or eating. (But be careful, because you can lose the tip cheese along the way. It often slips off onto the plate along with the oil.) Blotting with a napkin is safe, but I find it distasteful, so I’m a dripper, and I’m not a folder, until I get half-way through the slice. I don’t like the places ( all named some kind of Ray or Rays) that give you too much cheese. I’ve once or twice choked on it. There needs to be the right balance between cheese and sauce. The sauce can’t be too sweet ( A real problem on pizzas in Mexico).The sauce should have a “bite,” as you quoted. The crust on a slice varies from place to place, and even within the same place sometimes. When it’s perfect, It’s less crispy than brick oven, but it should not be too thick or bready, like a Sicilian pie and there should be some burnt blisters on the crust.
Next time you’re in New York,if you’re in the same neighborhood as Jean Georges, check out City Pie on West 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway.
Anyway, the title of your post drove me nuts, but the pizzas are not what I consider New York Pizza.
For reference: http://freshnyc.com/blog/best-cheap-one-dollar-pizza-nyc
Yeah, this kind of thin-crust pizza is very hard to find where I live, yet so abundant in New York. Here the sauce is always too sweet, the crust too thick and doughy. You couldn’t fold it if you tried. The experience reminds me of being a kid and going to this one restaurant in the mall that had a storefront on one end and sit-down on the other. We’d get it by the slice for fifty cents, in a paper napkin. But it was a different style of pizza, with a thick, fluffy, crispy crust. They said it was Sicilian. I’ve never had anything like it since.
Now theoretically, if it’s not in a wood oven, one ought to be able to make something like this at home. Theoretically : )
Ah, a devoted NY pizza lover waxing lyrical on the joys of the slice! It’s true, I have a huge bias in favor of sit-down establishments and I hate to eat standing up or on the run. Therefore I haven’t investigated “the slice,” which is, as you say, the most elemental of NY pizza experiences. But your description is irresistible 🙂
One can sit down at a Pizza place. It’s a different experience though -. restaurant dining, waiter/waitress, etc., and the other is sort of like indoor street food. And it’s affordable, though the prices keep going up School kids ( not very long ago) used to be able to can get 2 slices and a soda for about $ 2.25.
I think it’s the difference between living there and visiting. When I’m on vacation, I want table service. But I will make exceptions if I know there is something special to be had. Like L’As du Falafel in Paris, which is just a takeaway window.
I’m sure there is a difference. If one has a few days in a city where there are so many great places to eat, why waste a meal in a joint? But, maybe for a snack next time?
Yes, one can never have enough New York pizza 🙂
Perry, you’ve written pizza poetry! 🙂 and now i want one!
Ooooooh pizza… if only it weren’t so salty… it’s its only flaw.
And its virtue!
In my book, that’s its cheeeeeziness 😉
salt + umami + fat: mmmmm!
Lisa @ cheergerm said:
Am a total thin crust margarita with buffalo mozzarella pizza kinda gal, LM. You are making me salivate.
Yep, I am a Neapolitan style pizza lover too. For my money it’s the best, though I will try a deep dish or super thick crust pizza once in a while. I don’t prefer the in-between, with a thickish, doughy crust. But who am I kidding, I never turn down a piece of pizza.
You’re making me want pizza… and I’ve just had breakfast!
It’s good any time of day 🙂
yum! it’s extra thin and crispy for me 🙂 i still remember the 1 pizza i had in the States with aubergines! Amazing and never found one like it since 🙂
I have seen them used at Rome, with the aubergine in thin slices (also zucchini flowers, which are wonderful). And the food service at my university makes a vegan pizza with marinated chunks of aubergine. It’s tasty, but the crust isn’t thin.
Oh yes…best ever Pizza’s in NYC
Thanks! I agree!