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Quick, who makes New York City's best slice? Joe's on Carmine in Greenwich Village? DiFara in Midwood, Brooklyn, at $5 per slice? It's a tricky question. Everybody in New York City swears by their place, and well, most of them don't know what they're talking about. For being known as a great pizza city, the state of the slice isn't what it you'd think it is, especially today, when the city is in the grip of the Neapolitan craze and $.99-cardboard drunk food. Hell, you'd almost prefer to see D.C.'s jumbo slice take hold. But there is hope, and it's the form of South Brooklyn Pizza in the East Village.
A slice at South Brooklyn takes time (on average, about five to 10 minutes), but it's worth the wait, so much more than the cardboard being served at Artichoke nearby. At South Brooklyn, pizza is layered with sauce that's neither too sweet nor acidic, topped with layers of thin, ovoid mozzarella slices, and dotted with Fontina cubes.
The conventional gas oven gives the upskirt a slight char, and the pie is finished with a generous drizzle of olive oil, basil, and grated Pecorino. The thin crust cracks, but carries the cheese and sauce all the way up the slice, tangy bite after bite. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.
Click for more of the Most Memorable Meals of 2011.
Brooklyn Style Pizza
Pizza is the second most popular meal in the world. This meal is so famous and versatile that there are a lot of varieties and types of pizza. Many people around the world love and eat pizza, and most people eat it weekly.
It is no surprise that pizza, which originated in Italy, has undergone many changes and varieties. Some places have some uniqueness attributed to a specific type of pizza. This is the same with Brooklyn style pizza.
This uniqueness might be based on the type of crust, thickness, thinness, or the type of sauce or the toppings. This article will focus on Brooklyn pizza’s unique characteristics and what sets it apart from other pizzas types.
You are on a quest to find the finest pizza. Although Brooklyn has some famous names on this, it is about the best pizza in New York City. In essence, it translates to the top pizza in the entire world.
For dominos to make a Brooklyn style pizza, you expect something similar to what you would get in NYC. Right? This much is not up or debate. While I have had tons of tasty pizza, NYC has many fantastic styles.
- L&B Spumoni Gardens, tomato pie Sicilian squares
- The DiFara world-class square and rounds
- Totonno’sclassic old school thin, rigid pie.
- Roberta’s cutting edge Neapolitans.
- Grandma pie at Lenny’s
Those are some of the best NYC pizza. Therefore, which is “Brooklyn style pizza?” Well, you can hardly settle on one. They all represent Brooklyn’s classic pizza world. Or it’s just a Domino’s Brooklyn “moniker” — a marketing tag for new pizza? And nothing more!
A Complete Guide to New York City Pizza Styles
Although New York City has long had a clearly defined and ubiquitous style of pizza, the city's appetite for the dish knows no bounds. While New Yorkers can certainly be parochial and protective of their home slice, they can also be open and accepting of different pizza points of view. Here is a look at the predominant forms of pizza found in New York City with information about how they developed over the years, and a glimpse at some of the more eclectic and disparate variations on the theme.
Neapolitan-American Pizza: The Original NY Pie
The story of pizza in America begins in New York City in 1905 with Gennaro Lombardi, who began selling pizza out of his grocery store on Spring Street for the princely sum of a nickel per pie. The recipe had likely been handed down through the generations of the Lombardi family and adapted using local ingredients and cooking methods resulting in a form of pizza inspired, but distinct, from the original pizza of Naples. Pizza had unquestionably existed in America prior to 1905, but it did so in the domestic environment of the kitchens of Italian immigrants. Lombardi scaled this up to meet commercial demands.
The result was the most elemental form of NY pizza, often called Neapolitan-American, that shares much in common with the original Neapolitan type: a thin crust, a judicious covering of tomato sauce, and a smattering of fresh mozzarella cheese. But they differ in cooking technique, size, and texture. In Naples, the pies are cooked with wood and the center of the pizza tends to be soft and amorphous. Neapolitan pies are intended for one person and a knife and fork is required. The original NY pies were larger, averaging a 14"-16" diameter, and were cooked in coal fired ovens until crisp from edge to edge.
Lombardi's thrived in Little Italy, feeding legions of factory workers and immigrants longing for a taste of home. It was so popular that Lombardi soon dispensed with the groceries entirely and started selling pizza exclusively. Numerous employees struck out on their own, fanning out across the city and spreading the distinctive style of pizza.
In 1924, Lombardi's employee Anthony "Totonno" Pero opened Totonno's in Coney Island. Five years later, John Sasso, also an employee of Lombardi's, opened John's Pizza on Bleecker Street. 1933 saw Pasquale "Patsy" Lanceri, reputed to have been a Lombardi's employee, open Patsy's in Harlem. Lombardi's, John's, Totonno's, and Patsy's are all still around today and represent cornerstones of the original NY style of pizza. (Lombardi's closed in 1984 and reopened a decade later in a different space on the same block.)
[The coal oven at Grimaldi's]
Others followed suit serving this particular form of pizza. Arturo's on Houston Street opened in 1957 and remains a largely unblemished example of the breed, not having caught on with the tourists who these days flood nearby Lombardi's and John's. Lanceri's nephew Patsy Grimaldi opened Grimaldi's in Brooklyn in 1990. He had hoped to open in Manhattan, but by this time there was a ban on the use of the coal fired ovens that produce the intense heat and characteristically sooty crust of the Neapolitan-American style. He was forced to look for a grandfathered space in Brooklyn, which is the only way to use a coal oven within city limits these days. Luzzo's in the East Village was lucky enough to find such a space when it opened in 2005, inspiring what the owners dubbed "coal oven Neapolitan," an amalgam of Neapolitan and Neapolitan-American styles.
[A gas powered pizza oven]
The ban on coal ovens fundamentally changed the nature of pizza in NYC by forcing pizzerias to use other methods, of which gas ovens proved by far the most popular. This led to a democratization of the pizzeria by virtue of the lower costs associated with using prefabricated gas ovens, which by the post WWII years had become comparatively affordable vis-à-vis building a dedicated brick structure. But the postwar years also saw pizza breaking out of its "ethnic" designation, as returning GI's sought to satisfy the taste they had acquired for Italian pizza while liberating Europe. Soon, pizzerias where opening in neighborhoods all over the city, not just Italian American ones.
NY Style Pizza
The most common and now quintessential form of NY pizza has thus become the type that is cooked in gas ovens rather than the Neapolitan-American type cooked with coal. NY style pizza is sold either as whole pies or by the "slice" — a triangular wedge cut from a whole pizza. Typically, an 18" NY pizza yields eight slices. With the exception of Patsy's, none of the original coal oven pizzerias sell pizza by the slice. The availability of slices of pizza fundamentally changed the nature of pizza in NYC, liberating it from the restaurant and substantially lowering the financial barrier of entry. NY style is virtually defined by the low cost of entry, the immediacy of service, and the portability of the product.
The NY style pizzas tend to have far more cheese than Neapolitan-American coal oven pies. The cheese typically covers the entire pie, with sauce only poking out along the circumference. A low moisture mozzarella is used rather than fresh mozzarella, which is not well suited to the lower temperature and longer cooking times of the gas ovens. Gas fired pizza lacks the sooty exterior that is a hallmark of coal fired ovens, but it still has plenty of crunch and snap to go along with the pliancy and springiness of the dough.
[Dom DeMarco, Di Fara]
In their purest form, NYC pizzerias will sell only pizza. Of course, many shops long ago added hero sandwiches and pasta dishes to their existing pizza menus, and later still wraps and even juices. These types of establishments might not have the culinary bona fides of the dedicated pizza joints, but they certainly serve a valuable function in many neighborhoods and any independent, locally owned NY pizzeria stands as a bulwark against a fast food joint or national chain store.
At its best, of course, a local pizzeria transcends the neighborhood and becomes a destination for diners. There is perhaps no greater example of this than Di Fara in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. It is run by Dom DeMarco who is as close to sainted as a pizzaiolo can be, and he has been slinging pies since 1961. But there are numerous others classic NYC style pizzerias that are worth a trip such a Joe's in Greenwich Village, Joe & Pat's on Staten Island, Lou & Ernie's in the Bronx, Rose & Joe's in Queens, and Sal & Carmine's on the Upper West Side, to name but a few.
[A sicilian slice from Joe's Pizza]
In addition to the classic round pizza, most every pizzeria also sells Sicilian style pies and slices. Characterized by a rectangular shape due to being pan cooked, with a crust that is generally over an inch thick, this style of pizza originated in the bakeries, not the pizzerias, of Sicily, where it is sold as Sfinciuni. In Sicily, Sfinciuni is topped with a tomato sauce spiked with anchovies and onions under a canopy of breadcrumbs rather than the tomato sauce and cheese we see in NYC. That latter recipe is the result of the American melting pot effect of throwing Neapolitans and Sicilians together into lower Manhattan. You can find a version of Sfinciuni sold at Prince Street Pizza as the Broadway Breadcrumb and also at Famous Ben's as the Palermo slice. Some of NYC's most storied pizzerias specialize in square slices like L & B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn and Rizzo's in Astoria, Queens.
Inevitably, the culture of small local pizza parlors succumbed to the expansionist impulse and someone decided to branch out and open a second location and then a third and so on. The most famous chain is probably Ray's, although here we are talking about several competing entities and a story which has a tangled and confusing history. The truly excellent original and now defunct Ray's, which was located on 59 Prince Street and dated back to 1959, spawned a slew of imitators such as Ray Bari, Original Ray's, Famous Original Ray's and World Famous Ray's. It got to the point where there was practically "a Ray's on every corner," as the old adage went, and the whole affair devolved into self parody as they tried to top each other with lawsuits and publicity stunts and by adding more cheese and thicker crusts to their recipes.
Aside from the various Ray's, there are a number of local chains such as Bravo, Famous Famiglia, and Abitino's that sell pizza by the pie and slice. They represent the middle ground of NYC pizza — workaday pies that offer solid value for money, if not the most inspired expressions of the art.
Patsy's is probably the most storied name associated with a chain, but you should know that it is the result of a licensing deal and that the pizza sold at the East Harlem original is quite different from the various Patsy's outposts that dot the city. The most recent chain to expand significantly is Artichoke Basille's, which introduced the artichoke slice from the founders' native Staten Island to the denizens of Manhattan with great success.
[Valducci's Pizza truck]
Not surprisingly, pizza is well represented when it comes to food trucks in New York City. One can find everything from a $1 slice all the way up to a fancy Neapolitan pie. Pizza trucks actually anticipated the current food truck fad by several years. Midtown regular Jiannetto's got rolling in 1998, and Valducci's claims to have been in operation since 1999. Both pizza trucks can still be found on city streets. The Neapolitan Express pizza truck will soon open a brick and mortar location.
The $1 Slice
[A $1 slice from Krust Pizza]
The $1 slice has had an undeniable impact on the budget dining scene in NYC, especially in recent years. It has certainly eclipsed the beleaguered hot dog as the indigenous budget street food of choice. The era when a hamburger could be found at such a low price outside of a fast food chain is long gone and Halal street carts have become the dominant form of street food actually sold on the street.
The slice purist will scoff at the quality of the pizza at the $1 joints, which is inexorably compromised by virtue of their price point. Qualitative issues aside, the pizza sold at these $1 slice joints is still in the NY style. And sometimes it is hard to argue with the free market. The fact is that a kid with a $1 to spend on food is choosing between $1 slice and a dollar menu at a fast food joint, not necessarily the neighborhood pizzeria offering a top notch slice for $3.
Of course in some cases the $1 slice has forced higher priced competitors to lower their prices in order to compete. Take Vinny Vincenz on First Avenue for example. Before Artichoke opened around the corner, it was the darling of food bloggers and pizza lovers in the area. The overnight success of Artichoke and then the opening of a Two Bros. pizzeria next door and a Percy's Pizza across the street, both offering $1 slices, forced Vinny Vincenz to follow suit. Even the local Papa John's franchise situated down First Avenue now offers $1 slices.
[A bar pie from Lee's Tavern]
Characterized by a thin, crisp crust and most often cooked in gas ovens in the back kitchens of bars, this type of pizza is not especially prolific in the city, at least compared to the slice joints. It is similar in form and substance to Midwestern pizza (see below) and it's more popular in other states. Lee's Tavern on Staten Island, which dates back to 1940, serves a notable bar pie.
[A Neapolitan pie being made]
The most significant trend in New York City pizza in recent years has been the proliferation of the Neapolitan style. While the notion of ascribing "authenticity" to food is a tenuous one at best, there is ostensibly a standard that can be met in terms of Neapolitan pizza. The Verace Pizza Napoletana Association (VPN) is an Italian organization that certifies restaurants based on the employment of wood fired ovens and the use of a list of standardized ingredients of Neapolitan origin, such as 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella.
The first VPN certified establishment in NYC was La Pizza Fresca, which opened 20 years ago and is still going strong. Additionally Ribalta, Via Tribunali, and Naples 45 all hold VPN certification. But there are arguably higher expressions of the form beyond these restaurants. Una Pizza Napoletana, which has since relocated to San Francisco, really raised the stakes in terms of attention to detail, and some would say militancy, in recreating the original pizza of Naples using an imported oven and ingredients. Many Neapolitan pizzerias followed suit, most notably Motorino, Keste, and Don Antonio by Starita.
[Pizza al taglio]
When discussing Roman pizza, we are really talking about two distinct forms — the vanishingly thin pies generally cooked in wood fired ovens and served in sit down restaurants, and the pizza al metro (pizza by the meter) also known as pizza al taglio (pizza by the cut), which is sold both in bakeries and dedicated shops in the Italian capital.
The former is perhaps best represented by Gruppo, Posto, and Vezzo, which comprise a mini-chain of pizzerias that offer very thin, crisp crusts. They are similar structurally to Roman pizza although many of the toppings these pizzerias sell are distinctly American, such as ham and pineapple. The pizza al metro is well represented around town, most notably at Sullivan Street Bakery, which serves versions of pizza bianca (a hand stretched bread) and pizza pomodoro that would be the envy of most any Roman baker.
[The bayou beast from Two Boots Pizza]
Cajun pizza is actually a New York City creation courtesy of the Two Boots chain, which started off in the East Village in 1987 as a full service establishment. The conceit of the restaurant was that it was a fusion of the cuisines of Louisiana and Italy, but what emerged was something uniquely New York. By combining cornmeal crust, a spicy tomato sauce, and unexpected toppings (crayfish anyone?), Two Boots built a chain that now spans the nation but still retains some of the quirkiness of the East Village original.
If there is a style that sits in direct antithesis to the NYC street slice, it is assuredly the deep dish pizza that originated in Chicago. There is of course a famous rivalry between the two forms that often explodes into the popular zeitgeist, on talk shows and across the Internet. Many New Yorkers do not even consider the Chicago form to be pizza at all, dismissing it as a casserole. It has not made significant inroads in New York City. This is true even when factoring in Pizzeria Uno, the Chicago deep dish chain (now called Uno Grill and headquartered in Boston), which has been operating in NYC for a few decades. The now defunct Big Nick's on the Upper West Side sold a version that wouldn't convince anyone to switch allegiances and you sporadically see them pop up on random menus at restaurants like L'asso, with Emmett's being the most recent entrant.
Distinct from Chicago deep dish, much of the pizza sold in the Midwest, including in Chicago, is actually quite thin with a crisp crust and a blanket of cheese and sauce. It is generally cut into squares, rather than wedges, which is referred to as a "tavern cut" or "party cut." Nicoletta in the East Village is one of the few example of the style, although the pizza is cut into wedges as is the local custom in NYC. The now shuttered Pulino's on the Bowery was notable in that it served a tavern style cut pizza.
St Louis Style Pizza
This form differs from other Midwestern style pizza because it most often uses Provel, a processed cheese made of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone that was created in St. Louis decades ago. Speedy Romeo in Brooklyn serves just such a pie.
Grilled pizza was invented at Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1980. There have been some limited explorations of the form in NYC. The late Vincent Scotto sold a version at the now shuttered Gonzo in Greenwich Village and before that at Fresco by Scotto, which continues to offer it on the menu. Coals, a dedicated grilled pizza restaurant, had an outpost in the Bronx that is now shuttered, but another location is still open in Westchester.
California / Flatbread / "Chef" Pizza
California style pizza was invented in 1980 by the late Ed LaDou, and it was popularized by Wolfgang Puck. The form is essentially the extension of the California cuisine ethos of using fresh, seasonal, and local produce into the realm of pizza. Suddenly words like "seasonality" and "local" and even "low fat" entered the pizza lexicon. The form found mass appeal with the California Pizza Kitchen chain, that currently operates two locations in NYC. But the notion of applying market ingredients and culinary technique found higher expression in the kitchens of NYC where places like the now defunct Zoe and the still-going-strong Mercer Kitchen started selling this type of pizza in the 1990s. More recently we have seen an explosion of so called flatbreads on menus across town.
New Brooklyn Pizza
For lack of a better term, this category describes a particular aesthetic that is not characterized by any one pizza style as much as a dedication to inventiveness and using top quality, and often local, ingredients. The most obvious contributors to the form are Franny's and Lucali, later joined by Roberta's, and later still Paulie Gee's. One could also include less lofty operations such as Best Pizza, Pete Zaaz and Williamsburg Pizza to the roster.
National Pizza Chains
Despite a wealth of vastly superior indigenous alternatives, chain pizzerias still exist in NYC. Pizza Hut, Dominos and Papa John's all have numerous locations throughout the boroughs, although commendably Staten Island, arguably the most suburban of the city's boroughs, has the least number of chains. While there are indeed distinctions between the pizza sold at the various chains they can be conveniently lumped together as a single style because they exist as much as a result of market research and analysis as through any great love of craft.
As we have shown, New York City has a rich pizza culture, one that is unparalleled in terms of diversity of form and proliferation of pizzerias. Pizza may have started in Naples but NYC may just be the epicenter of the art. There are, however, a few types of pizza that you won't find in NYC:
The longest continuously operating pizzeria in America is Papa's in Trenton, NJ which has been open since 1912. (Although Lombardi's preceded it by several years, it closed for a decade in the 1980's ceding the title to Papa's.) A "tomato pie" is for all intents and purposes a round pizza although one in which the cheese goes down first and is then topped by the sauce. While you find this practice in NYC, notably at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn and any place serving a Grandma slice, there is no establishment selling a round version of a Trenton tomato pie.
[A New England style pizza]
Often called Greek or Diner style because it proliferates in the diners across New England, many of which are owned by Greek immigrants, this style is sort of a reconciliation of the Chicago and NY forms. It is cooked in oiled pans but is not as deep as Chicago pizza such that it can be served in wedges and eaten by hand if necessary. The closest version we know of is sold at the Mamaroneck Diner in Westchester.
One of the most revered forms of American pizza originates in New Haven, CT. The style shares much in common with the Neapolitan-American style. The pies are cooked in coal fired ovens giving them the same charr and they are sold as whole pies rather than by the slice. They differ in that they tend to be more irregularly shaped, more oblong than round, and are drier, with far less cheese. The closest restaurant that serves this type of pizza is Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in Yonkers, NY.
The Best Pizza in New York Discover who makes the best pizza in The Empire State Moto: Excelsior (Ever upward!) We typically offer a selection of around twenty different pizzas. The flash-fried and oven-finished Pizza Fritte are a special focus, and the Montanara, a lightly fried version of the classic Pizza Margherita is our specialty." Lombardi's (The Oldest Pizzeria in the USA) Keste Pizzeria & Vino 271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014 (212) 243-1500 "Incredible pizza by a master pizzaiolo. Roberto is an artist of pizza and a wonderful person. I love his pizza!" His clam pies are shockingly good. On their own, the smoky, porky chunks of pancetta, creamy fior di latte, dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano, and thin slices of garlic on his Brussels Sprouts pies would be shockingly good. The pizzas at Rubirosa are almost identical, with sauce spread almost all the way to the edge and a sauce lightly balanced between tangy and sweet. The pepperoni pieces, no bigger than a nickel, are sliced each day (many pizzerias now buy pre-cut pepperoni, which toughens quickly). " Check out Goodfella's Pizza School. Call: (718) 987-2422 Get A Free Copy of The Pizza Therapy Mini-Book. Just put your first name in the box below,fill out you email address, and click submit: Who Makes The Worlds Best Pizza in New York? "Every pizza lover feels the best pizza is made best in their own home town. West Coast pizza fans are very loyal to their pizza. Mid-west pizza fans are loyal to their own pizza. Don't even get me started about the debate between Chicago Deep Dish pizza vs. New Your Pizza. New Haven pizza fans are fiercely loyal to "Wooster Street" style pizza. Of course other countries feel their pizza is the best. One thing is absolutely certain: I love pizza and you do too! Browse the Pizza Therapy list of "Best Pizza in the World". Submit the name of you own favorite pizzeria. Vote HERE! " NYC's Best Pizza Slices
Pizza might as well be New York City's official dish. A slice represents a quick lunch for busy New Yorkers, who take it to go, hurriedly eating while walking down the street. It's salvation to visitors who need a quick, inexpensive snack between sightseeing stops. It's often said that the best way to start an argument (a friendly one, of course) between two New Yorkers is to ask where to find the best slice. In the interest of furthering that heated discussion, we offer our 16 favorite slices in NYC.Plain slice from Famous Joe's Pizza. Photo: Adam Kuban
Famous Joe's Pizza
7 Carmine St., 212-366-1182, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
150 E. 14th St., 212-388-9474, East Village, Manhattan
Let's start with Famous Joe's Pizza and its plain slice&mdashthe quintessential New York slice. Ultrathin and crisp, yet chewy, it's flexible enough to fold without cracking and making a mess. The perfect slice is all about balance among crust, sauce and cheese. Joe's achieves it, with just the right amount of bright, fresh-tasting tomato sauce and enough cheese to satisfy (but not so much as to overwhelm things).
33 Havemeyer St., 718-599-2210, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The current pizza trend in New York City is the mania for wood-fired pies. That usually means Neapolitan-style pizza, served whole-pie-only and in a sit-down context. But our guide focuses on slices, and Best Pizza offers some of the only wood-fired, by-the-slice pizza in the City. Best marries old-school Brooklyn pizza with serious cooking chops. The head pizza man there, Frank Pinello, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and his new-school approach can be seen (and tasted) on the joint's white slice&mdash"white" because it forgoes tomato sauce. Instead, it's topped with fresh ricotta and a judicious amount of caramelized onion. Along the crust, a dusting of sesame seeds lends an oven-toasted nuttiness that complements the sweetness of the onions. This is a white slice for people who normally don't go for this style.
Louie & Ernie's
1300 Crosby Ave., 718-829-6230, Throgs Neck, The Bronx
The plain slice at Louie & Ernie's is among the best in NYC, loaded with plenty of sharp Parmesan cheese for a tangy bite, but the sausage slice is what you need to get here. The juicy, fennel-studded pork, applied by the fistful, comes from S&D Pork Store, an Italian provisioner located just down the street. You really do need to go native for this one and fold your slice, since the sausage, which is thrown on a plain slice and reheated briefly, tends to fall off otherwise. Think of the slice as a sausage-delivery system&mdasha great one.
Joe & Pat's
1758 Victory Blvd., 718-981-0887, Castleton Corners, Staten Island
Sadly, the vodka slice is something even many New Yorkers are unfamiliar with&mdashor just don't order often enough. The tomato sauce on this slice is extra-savory thanks to the use of the namesake spirit in the recipe. It's there to bring out flavors in the tomato that are only soluble in alcohol. A generous amount of Parmesan cheese and pancetta in the mix doesn't hurt, either. It all comes together to create a rich-tasting slice that needs no further topping. (Needless to say, the slice may look meat-free, but vegetarians should skip it.)
L&B Spumoni Gardens
2725 86th St., 718-449-1230, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
No slice guide would be complete without a nod to L&B Spumoni Gardens, which practically defines the perfect Sicilian slice. Whereas a "regular" New York slice is thin and triangular, a Sicilian is thick and rectangular (though often referred to by New Yorkers as a "square slice"). Sicilian pizza also often reverses the cheese-above-sauce arrangement, as at L&B, where the mozzarella is layered directly atop the dough, almost melding with the crust as the pizza bakes. Most people request corner or edge slices for the crispness, but a center slice at L&B is something else entirely&mdashgooey and almost lasagna-like in texture. Grab plenty of napkins.
Rizzo's Fine Pizza
30-13 Steinway St., 718-721-9862, Astoria, Queens
Rizzo's is known throughout the City for its thin-crust Sicilian slice, a beautifully composed tableau with rectangles of creamy, slightly browned and crisp mozzarella floating atop a deep-red pool of tangy, garlic-infused sauce sprinkled with a heap of Parmesan and Romano, sharp and salty. Most Sicilian slices are thick, doughy affairs that are meals unto themselves. But at Rizzo's, a single crisp Sicilian slice will quickly lead to another.
Sal and Carmine
2671 Broadway, 212-663-7651, Upper West Side, Manhattan
Sal and Carmine is another benchmark by which to judge a great New York slice. Like at Famous Joe's, the slice here is a study in understatement. The crust is properly thin, crisp and foldable, with just enough whole-fat mozzarella pulling away from your bite in melty strings. Sal and Carmine uses a hefty amount of Parmesan on the pizza, which adds plenty of flavor and just as much saltiness&mdashsome say too much. If you're salt-averse, you've been warned.
2287 First Ave., 212-534-9783, East Harlem, Manhattan
Coal ovens are a rarity these days. Though used by bakeries throughout NYC at the turn of the 20th century and then later by pizzerias, they've been put out of service by tightening environmental laws and the hassle and expense of fueling them. Pizza aficionados seek out pizzerias that use them because these ovens' high heat create a crust that's unlike what you get from the typical gas oven&mdashlighter, airier and thinner with a patchwork of charred bits that impart a slightly smoky flavor. The Patsy's in East Harlem is one of only two places in NYC where you can order coal-oven pizza by the slice (the other is Sac's Place in Astoria).
200 Park Ave., 212-972-7001, Midtown East, Manhattan
Naples 45 might be rightly known for its certified-authentic Neapolitan pizzas, but its slice counter makes a phenomenal New York&ndashstyle pizza that's perfect for the kind of grab-and-go eating that seems to be the rule in Midtown during lunch hours. Instead of heading for the dining room, always packed with business types, make a right and you'll find Naples to Go, a pizzeria within a pizzeria. The default "New York Margherita" slice is good enough&mdashable to hold its own with some of the storied coal-oven joints in the City&mdashbut the pepperoni slice is something else, almost the platonic ideal of pepperoni pizza. The thick meaty rounds, crisp at the edges, curl up on baking into little cups holding bits of oil. If that's not your thing, soak up the extra grease with some napkins&mdashjust don't miss this slice.
22-55 31st St., 718-728-2920, Astoria, Queens
One of the things that draws people to visit, live or remain in New York City is the sense of the unexpected, the thrill of discovering something amazing in a completely random place. Take the pizza slices at Rosario's Deli in Astoria. By all appearances, Rosario's is a typical Italian deli. Boxes and boxes of imported pastas line an entire wall. A refrigerator case of Italian cheeses and meats greets you as you enter. But locals know that in the back of the store is one of NYC's best pizza slices. It might have something to do with owner Rosario DiMarco's access to great ingredients. Imported Italian tomatoes are cooked down to a concentrated savory sauce, and the mozzarella cheese is freshly made in the deli several times a day.
328 E. 14th St., 212-228-2004, East Village, Manhattan
114 Tenth Ave., 212-792-9200, Chelsea, Manhattan
111 MacDougal St., 646-278-6100, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Artichoke Basille's is best known for its artichoke slice, a creamy blend of sautéed artichoke hearts, garlic and spinach that's almost like a party dip on a pizza. It has fans among legions of late-night barhoppers who line up out the door for a quick meal before heading home. But the Sicilian slice here might be even better. Cooked in large rectangular pans, the crust is oily and crisp and almost fried in places. It's topped with three cheeses: fresh mozzarella, regular mozzarella and a scattering of good-quality Pecorino Romano. Add to that a post-bake handful of basil and a pour of olive oil, and you've got an enormously satisfying slice.
1910 Hylan Blvd., 718-979-4700, Grant City, Staten Island
A relative newcomer in Staten Island, where the borough's legendary pizzerias date back decades, Sharkey's Square opened in the summer of 2010, drawing immediate comparisons to L&B Spumoni Gardens. The slices here are a little denser but still layer the cheese right on top of the dough, which itself is a bit sweet. The sauce is rich and garlic-laden and also leans to the sweet side. It's a slice that should keep Sicilian fans on the Staten Island side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Famous Frank's Original Pizza
2823 Middletown Road, 718-892-8202, Country Club, The Bronx
The grandma slice (also known as a "nonna slice") is a Long Island invention that has made some inroads into New York City in the last decade. Essentially a thin-crust Sicilian, it's also defined by its thick, cooked-down, garlicky sauce&mdashand often by the fact that said sauce goes on last, in visually pleasing diagonal stripes. Frank's nails all the hallmarks in a thoroughly old-school NYC setting.
Di Fara Pizza
1424 Avenue J, 718-258-1367, Midwood, Brooklyn
There is almost no pizzeria in NYC these days more polarizing than Di Fara. Known for its hours-long waits and high prices ($5 for a regular slice), it has as many detractors as rabid fans. It's a must-visit pizzeria, though&mdashif only to say you've been. The slice to get here is the semi-dried cherry tomato pizza, a recent addition (relatively speaking, that is&mdashthe place has been around since 1964) to the pizzeria's menu. The partially dried tomatoes offer juicy hits of concentrated flavor, like summer distilled into a bite. In fact, the semi-dried cherry tomato pizza has become so popular that according to Di Fara manager Margaret Mieles, it has eclipsed the pizzeria's artichoke slice as its number one specialty slice.
Prince Street Pizza
27 Prince St., 212-966-4100, NoLITa, Manhattan
These days Prince Street Pizza is a bit of an anomaly in NoLITa&mdasha workaday slice shop nestled among tony boutiques and sit-down cafés. But Prince Street serves no ordinary slice, and it has the celebrity clientele to prove it (as witnessed by the gallery of framed photos that line the walls). The regular round pizzas here would be standouts anywhere else, but the thicker square pies and the slices that come from them are phenomenal and are the thing to get. Carnivores should absolutely steer toward the Spicy Spring, piled with crisp pepperoni, cupped to cradle pools of pepperoni oil. The Prince Perfection lives up to its name&mdasha spot-on square slice topped first with mozzarella and then a tangy sauce atop the cheese (also known as an "upside-down" slice).
265 Union Ave., 718-596-6584, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Pizza aficionados and old-time New Yorkers often lament that the City&rsquos slices have been going downhill for years. That sentiment might be a bit of nostalgia speaking, but if you believe it, then you would do well to get to Williamsburg Pizza. Along with Best (see above), Williamsburg Pizza is carrying the torch for the kind of simple but magical slices New York City is known for. The regular round and the grandma slices are equally good&mdashbut the Tartufo (mozzarella, wild mushrooms, rosemary, truffle oil), grandma style, is fantastic.
Goodbye, South Brooklyn Pizza: There’s One Less Drunk Pizza Option in the East Village
Let’s have a moment of silence for South Brooklyn Pizza on 1st Avenue in the East Village, which as EV Grieve reported this morning, has closed up shop. Signs posted on the window state the building has been taken into possession by the landlord. Earlier this week, the pizzeria closed with a message from its owners that it would be reopening in another location somewhere in the East Village.
When it comes to drunk pizza in the East Village, there are plenty of options — probably too many — including the old stand-by of Stromboli Pizza at St. Marks and 1st Avenue, but the slices at South Brooklyn were a step above and its hours were timed so that anybody strolling down 1st Avenue (let’s say that hypothetically they were coming off the L at 14th Street after a night of drinking craft beer in Williamsburg), could end their evening with a prosciutto or pancetta-topped slice from South Brooklyn. The pizzeria also operated an adjacent bar.
The South Brooklyn group still has spots in Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, North Slope and Cobble Hill.
South Brooklyn’s next-door neighbor, Kim’s Video, is also closing very soon. (A sales clerk at Kim’s says the two have businesses have different landlords.)
The owners of South Brooklyn write that customers should check its Facebook page for updates on a new location in the East Village, but nothing’s been announced yet.
Domino’s is such a great place to order your pizza as they are fast and their pizzas are great compared to other pizza chains. They might not be the best but they are up there.
The Brooklyn-style pizza from Domino’s is a great type of pizza if you want the vibe of having an authentic slice. It has a thin and very crispy crust that you will surely enjoy.
This pizza also has a great combination of toppings that you can choose from. So contact the nearest Domino’s outlet from you and order the amazing Brooklyn-style pizza.
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South Brooklyn Slice, East Village Style - Recipes
My search for the best pizza in New York continues….
For a long time, anything south of Atlantic Avenue was simply known as South Brooklyn (or Red Hook). It was essentially its own town. This was long before the trendy names of Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, and Boerum Hill came in to play. It was all just South Brooklyn.
So it’s with some serious pride that South Brooklyn Pizza takes its name. The interesting thing is there are now South Brooklyn Pizza shops in lower Manhattan. Are they selling a brand new style that is specific to South Brooklyn?
Perhaps they are. Just like DiFara (which is located even further south), they sell a very expensive slice topped with a generous amount of fresh basil. But unlike DiFara, this pizza isn’t worth the price.
That’s not to say it’s not tasty. The crackly thin crust had a nice char and the ingredients definitely tasted fresh – a bright, tangy tomato sauce, some sharp dots of cheese, and herbal basil slices. I wanted the cheese to be melted a little more in spots instead of some semi-firm shavings. But the flavors and textures still worked well.
Somehow I managed to get two slices for the price of one. I wonder if this happened because the guy saw me taking photos and wanted to make sure they got a good review. He said it was because the first slice was rather small. I agree. $4 for one of these small, thin slices is ludicrous (after all, this is not DiFara). I didn’t really want the second slice since I had more eating to do, but the generosity and good pizza made it worth it. I hope they do that for every customer, not just the ones yielding a camera. Maybe it’s just the South Brooklyn way.
Is South Brooklyn Pizza the best pizza in NY? It’s a nice, thin crunchy slice with surprisingly fresh ingredients, but its high price is not justified – not even in South Brooklyn. 7 out of 10.
South Brooklyn Pizza
Romaine lettuce, onions, cherry tomatoes and formaggio croutons.
Fresh Mozzarella Salad
Fresh mozzarella, plum tomatoes, olive oil, basil, oregano and Italian parsley.
South Brooklyn Pomodoro Salad
Cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, onions, basil, Italian parsley and fresh mozzarella.
Pizza by the Slice
Slice of Margherita
Slice of Sicilian
Slice of Grandma
Slice of Bianca
Slice of Carne
Slice of Verde
Slice of Primavera
12" Margherita Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, homemade sauce, basil, formaggio and parmigiana.
12" Grandma Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, homemade pizza, basil, formaggio and thin crust.
12" Sicilian Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, sicilian sauce, basil, formaggio and on thick crust.
12" Pomodori Pizza
Basil, Italian parsley, fresh tomatoes and marinara sauce.
12" Caprese Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, basil and pesto sauce.
12" Bianca Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, ricotta cheese, parmigiana cheese, formaggio cheese and basil.
12" Primavera Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, mixed fresh vegetables, basil, olive oil and parmigiana.
12" Carne Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, supretta, sausage, prosciutto and parmigiana.
12" Verde Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, peppers, spinach, broccoli, basil and tomato sauce.
20" Margherita Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, homemade sauce, basil, formaggio and parmigiana.
20" Grandma Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, homemade pizza sauce, basil and formaggio on thin crust.
20" Sicilian Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, sicilian sauce, basil and formaggio on a thin crust.
20" Pomodori Pizza
Basil, Italian parsley, fresh tomatoes and marinara sauce.
20" Caprese Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, basil and pesto.
20" Bianca Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, ricotta cheese, parmigiana, formaggio, cheese and basil.
20" Primavera Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, mixed fresh vegetables, basil, olive oil and parmigiana.
20" Carne Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, supratta, sausage, prosciutto and parmigiana.
20" Verde Pizza
Fresh mozzarella, peppers, spinach, broccoli, basil and tomato sauce.
Homemade meatball over marinara sauce with melted fresh mozzarella and basil.
Sausage and Pepper
Italian sausage, mixed onions, peppers and a touch of tomato sauce.
Grilled Chicken Parm
Italian grilled chicken over lettuce with fresh mozzarella.
South Brooklyn Style Antipasto
Lettuce, plum tomatoes, onions, pepper, black olives, formaggio cheese, green olives, sopressata, chorizo, fontina cheese, fresh mozzarella and basil.