Some will tell you it’s down to the minerals in the water. Others will say it’s just the high-gluten flour used in the dough. Whatever the reason, as far as New York pizza goes, it’s all in the crust. It has to be crisp, but bendy. And it’s nothing like Italian pizza - it’s meant to be served as a slice and you should be able to fold it in half. Think John Travolta in opening scene of Saturday Night Fever.
New York’s love affair with pizza began in 1905 in a grocery store on Spring Street. Gennaro Lombardi managed to cook up a way to use his day-old bread — he slapped a bit of cheese and tomato sauce on it and sold it cheaply to his customers. It was an instant hit and Lombardi eventually stopped selling groceries altogether and dealt solely in pizza. In the years that followed, pizza places – selling by the slice and by the pie – sprouted in every corner of the city. And if there’s one thing New Yorkers love more than pizza, it’s arguing about where to find the best slice.
A favorite with the after-hours crowd that demands high quality ingredients in their post-PBR carb loading. Rumor has it Keith Richards loves it here. To the delight of its customers, one of Artichoke’s best-selling pizzas combines mozzarella, pecorino and parmigiano cheeses, and – to the horror of Sicilians – calls it their Sicilian. Go to the East Village location after the dive bars have turfed out their clientele for good people watching alongside your slice.
For the original New York pizzeria, the undisputed destination is Lombardi’s. Now no longer a grocery store, it’s a couple of doors down from its original location in NoLita. Along with the bar they’ve now installed, Grimaldi’s selection has branched out in new directions, too. Topped with Connecticut-sourced clams, their clam pie has injected some much praised innovation into their century-old menu.
For the purists – at the least the New York ones - pizza needs to be served by the slice. Koronet has been filling the bellies of Columbia students with their gigantic 15 inch slices in their staple Upper West Side joint for years.
In an unassuming corner of Crown Heights, Barboncino is onto a winning formula: pizza for brunch. On weekends, you can get a Bloody Mary or Mimosa thrown in with your pizza order. The simple margarita enjoyed sat at a table in the back, overlooking the garden, is the perfect way to spend a lazy, Brooklyn Sunday.
Nothing says success in the New York restaurant scene more than a line spilling out onto the street. No matter the weather, getting into Grimaldi’s in no mean feat. You can’t make a reservation and the pizza is only served by the pie, but if you’re patient, once inside you won’t be disappointed with their coal-fired fare.
Good things in come in small packages. That’s certainly the case at Little Luzzo’s in the Upper East Side, where you can find a simple but delicious square slice, and one that comes with the recommendation of a local Italian resident.
(Lexington and 96th St.)
Only in New York could you find a pizza for $1000. At Nino’s Bellissima Pizza, you can seriously splash the cash on their pizza topped with two of the most decadent types of caviar and lobster slices. Upper crust, indeed.Google+