Posts Tagged With: pizza

The Pizza Map

Below is what I consider a map of some of the best pizza in NYC.  I will update the map from time to time without notice, and at the moment I dont have time to edit the individual listings with the proper explanations.  So its a good idea to read about the place before you go, or at the very least to make sure its still open.  While you can bet that something like Joe’s will be open a year from now, a place like Bruno pizza may not.  But I will try to update the map as I often as I can

Many of these like the Hell’s Kitchen plays will look familiar (Maybe other than Corner Slice which I had 3 hours ago perhaps for the 10th time).  But some of these like Brunetti and Tramonti are fairly recent discoveries.  Brunetti makes a gorgeous Neapolitan and one of the best clam pies I’ve had in NYC.  I already discussed Martina, and older faves like Pasquale Jones and Roberta’s.  In Chelsea I’m only including Gotham Pizza, a surprisingly delicious slice for a chain (they add bread crumbs to the crust for extra crunch), while places like Co. essentially priced themselves out

Needless to say to produce this map, I had a lot of pizza in the past few months.  But I also included two powerhouses (Lucali and Keste) that I’ve never actually tried as of this writing.  Since I’ve been frequenting Keste’s half sister Don Antonio, Keste is the just about the last thing I want to eat when I find myself stranded in West Village.  And Lucali’s legendary waits dont bode well with my legendary waits allergies, but you may get better luck.  Many consider Lucali the best pizza in NYC

Also in Brooklyn, you got the pie with the best view in Fiornino, and arguably one of the best slices in NYC in Best PizzaRoberta’s is tough to get to, which is why I added the “mini Roberta” in Urbanspace Vanderbuilt.   I didnt add any of the Brooklyn legends like Totonnos and Di Fara for various reasons.  The only long timer pie on the list is John’s on Bleeker which dishes out a truly excellent NY style.  There are also some Manhattan newcomers just about to open that I’m keeping my eyes on like Sorbillo and Joe and Pats of the famous Joe and Pats on Staten Island.  I will update the map as soon as they open and pass the Ziggy inspection

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Categories: New York City | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Martina is a Game Changer

IMG_6848Its a girl!  Marta, the NoMad Roman powerhouse, and a staple of the Z-List, gave birth to 10 inch, 2 lb, Martina.  Proud papa Nick Anderer resumes the quest for a full Roman invasion of NYC.  While he has plenty of Roman competition these days, Anderer is clearly the main man when it comes to the Roman stuff with his M&M’s (Maiailino, Marta, Martina).  All part of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality group, and the person that gave us Shake Shack.

Sometimes I write about a place that makes me pause and ask myself if I really want to spread the word on this one.  Its called PTCS, Pure Thai Cookhouse Syndrome.  When I was working in Hell’s Kitchen, in order to eat at Pure, we had to sneak out at exactly 12.5 minutes before noon, in order to get a table.  Four times a year I would have unannounced drills, just to make sure everyone is on their game.  Sharing is Caring is something my parents never taught me really.  It was more like Sharing or I’m Coming Over with a Belt.  I’m sharing alright, but this is the one place I will frequent often by all looks and tastes, so I would like to be able to come whenever I feel like.

But Martina is far removed from the tourist zones of Times Square, High Line and Little Fake Italy.  Its all part of the joys of eating in East Village where 90% of the tourists are at Mcsorleys, 5% are trying to locate Mcsorleys, while the rest are lost trying to figure out under Guinness influence how to get back to Times Square from Mcsorleys.  Another advantage to Martina that you dont see much these days is that they open at 11 am.  Even if you add the 6 hours to accommodate for the time difference, similar pizzerie in Rome are still closed (Most open at 8)IMG_6698

So why is baby Marta a Game Changer?  Because we dont really have anything like it in the pizza capital.  Every week or so it seems we have a new $17 Neapolitan or NY or Detroit style opening but there’s really nothing out there like Martina.  The pies are just about the same size as a Neapolitan but they are flatter all around and much cheaper ($7-$12).  Anderer essentially created a new category.  The idea was to make a more affordable version of Marta in a fast-casual environment.  Yes, I said “fast-casual”, like the big boys

Since Martina opened a month ago, I’ve essentially become their Mashgiach (Kosher inspector).  I go every now and then to check the progress, while eating some of the best new pizza in town.  In the efficient gas oven at Martina the crust loses some of the Marta crispiness but its not such a bad thing.  The thin crust retains a pleasant chew that feels more balanced.  Anderer created a pizza lineup that include Roman classics like Quattro Formaggi with tomato sauce and arugula (most NY Quattro Formaggi are white), and a Capriocciosa (artichokes, ham, mushrooms, black olives, mozzarella & egg).  Both of which he learned from his extensive Roman training.  It also includes playful combinations like Brussels Sprouts Cacio e Pepe, and a Diavola with pickled hot peppers.  It might be the lightest, most perfectly sized individual pie in NYC today, especially once you factor in the price

And if you are a Marta fan, you’ll be glad to see Suppli and meatballs on the menu among other starters and salads.  And not to mention a proper finisher like the Fior di Latte ice cream with your choice of chocolate-amaro sauce, candied hazelnuts, olive oil, and sea salt. Ready, set, Go!

Martina
198 E 11th (3rd ave), East Village

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Categories: East Village, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Best Pizza in Hell (Revisited)

Its the first and last pizza week here on EWZ, and that time of the month – W42nd st monthly launch.  And by pure coincidence or not, this month issue lists the best pizza in Hell’s Kitchen.  Long time readers will notice one major drop/add on the list.  Although the major drop (John’s) is still fairly popular with visitors, and the addition is pretty far out there.  So pick up a free copy of the W42st, to check out what this dysfunctional family is up to these days.

Pizza List

Prior lists

 

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pizza and the City

Quick, what is the pizza capital of the world?  Hint:  Its NYC

So lets spend a few moments breaking it down.  Chicago does a good Deep Dish and then some.  Boston, San Diego, LA has are making all sorts of great pizzas, and so is New Haven which spoiled clam pies for me forever.  And then there’s Naples and Rome that are really the two powerhouses outside of the country that can compete with NYC pound for pound.  These are all fantastic pizza cities.  But none of them comes close to the size and depth of the NYC pizza scene.

Yelp lists 11,000 establishments selling pizza in NYC which granted is a little high.  And it only allows checking 999 results at a time, so I cant really see how many of these are actually pizza places.  And according to the Health Dep’t there are around 1600 establishments with the word pizza or pizzeria in the name.  So there you have it. We have exactly 1600 to 11,000 pizza places in NYC!  Ok, so we dont really know.  But the number is very high.  In many neighborhoods you can’t walk a block without a pizza, bagel, Chinese takeout, and therefore a Pharmacy.

And with the numbers comes the competition.  I’ve witnessed it increase dramatically during the last few years with the advance of Roman, Neapolitan, Detroit, and even NY style all over town.  Experienced Italian Pizzaioli continue to flock the city, while local talents like Nick Anderer and Emily Hyland increase the assault.  Our healthy pizza culture hasnt changed much, but we do have a lot more interesting options nowadays.

And these days those options go far beyond the institutions like Di Fara, which many consider the best pizza in city.  So as I wrote elsewhere…

Think of Difara as the High Sparrow.  The High Septon of The Faith of the 7 pizzas (Grimaldi’s, Lombardi’s, Totonno’s, Di Fara, L&B, Patsy’s, John’s of Bleecker).  But since it was crowned as the high Septon of The Faith, the 7 pizzas became 700, and many of them are now more powerful and better looking than the High Sparrow.  If you are a believer and part of The Faith, you already know who some of them are.  But if you are an outsider, you only know the High Sparrow and your mission in life is to meet him.  But to meet him you need to take what they call “The Subway” for a long ride and wait your turn among other non believers, which may take 1-3 hours sometimes.  And when you finally meet him, the entire experience may depend on one thing.  Whether the High Sparrow is having a good hair day.  Its essentially like a job interview.

So for those readers or GOT fans that are still with us, yes, we are grateful for all those institutions that deliver quality pizza for all those decades.  But today we have a lot of other options, some of which a little bit more interesting.  Other than John’s, these guys are somewhat painful to get to, and there’s a very good chance there’s a better option near your hotel.  So for the next week or so, I’ll be working on a map of some of the best pizza in NYC, along with other articles, starting with an updates list of the best of Hell’s Kitchen.  A pizza week on EWZ if you will.  And if you are not into pizza, you are an enemy of America!

 

Categories: New York City | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

NYC Slice Myths

best-pizza

Best Pizza

’twas the day before National Taco Day.  I was craving pizza, and decided to stop by at my trusted friends at Sacco in Hell’s Kitchen for a slice.  And while sitting there all lonesome, various thoughts came to mind.  “This is still a pretty darn good slice”, “What if I would start riding scooters”, “how come no one is here”, “Where would I park my scooter here”.  Only in my head I say things like “pretty darn”.  The slice is a typical NYC slice done right.  Thin, cooked just enough, with the proper cheese/tomato sauce mix and oregano.  And the crust has just the right amount of char and crunch.  I then expressed my feelings to the owner yet again, and we had a nice chat about other notable slices in NYC and what I call the Peter Luger affect.

sacco

Sacco

sacco-fold

Sacco

The Peter Luger Affect – The notion that once you make it, you make it forever.  Once you are crowned by all media as “The Best”, no matter how many steakhouses, burgers or pizza joints open since the crowning, you are never to be questioned, challenged, or replaced at the top.  Only if the king dies (closes) and doesnt produce a heir, a potential royal shift might occur.  With pizza, unlike steak, its not exactly clear who wears the crown.  But there are a few celebratory “Bests” that come up in just about every conversation, qualified for Peter Luger like glory.

One such place is Joe’s which has three locations including one on Carmine street where I grab a slice from time to time.  During my little talk with Mr Sacco (I dont know the gentleman’s real name so lets just call him that.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I call him that), I decided to pay a visit to Joe’s for a more proper comparison between the two.  Sacco, busy enough to remain open for a while, just outside of the tourist route, but totally empty at times.  Joe’s, consistently mentioned as the top or one of the top slices in NYC, and always packed with tourists and locals.  While the flavor was still there, the Joe’s slice was smaller and quite droopy this time to fully enjoy.  To be fair, I’ve had better slices at Joe’s, and worst slices at Sacco, but on this day at least, the two made the thesis too easy.  Sacco wins this round.

joes

joes

joes-fold

joes

Just like with Peter Luger, people from all over the world flock to Di Fara in Midwood, deep inside Brooklyn.  Once inside, it actually feels more like a pilgrimage than flocking.  You see tourists embracing their bible guidebook before embracing.  The first sight of 81 year old Dom DeMarco making the pies the same was he’s done for the past 50 years, brings people to tears.  The pizza has won numerous accolades from all over the world, including a”Best of the Best” tag from Anthony Bourdain.  However there’s only one tiny, little issue with this most famous pizza.  Coming from Manhattan for this may take half a day.  You may spend from 30 to 45 minutes waiting for a $5 slice (most expensive in NYC as far as I know), and much longer for a pie.  Dom the legend, doesnt let anyone else make them which is part of the appeal.  But that also means your slice may occasionally be overdone, underdone, or a little misshapen like the one on the right below.  “Sophie’s Choice” in the pizza world is when the food enthusiast husband must choose between the bigger and better slice, or smaller misshapen 30% bread slice, while there with his wife.  Obviously I chose the slice on the right, and still get to sleep in my bed.

Di fara

Di fara

A few days after the latest Di Fara episode, I paid a visit to another favorite, Best Pizza in Williamsburg, by Roberta veteran Frank Pinello.  Like Sacco, BP is not particularly well known, and is just a solid neighborhood pizza joint.  I would replace most of mine for this one.  Baked in a wood fired oven, the pies are the perfect marriage of Napoli and NY styles.  The fresh basil on each slice is like their zoro mark-like trademark.  I bike here from time to time, where the reward to pain ratio is much higher than Di Fara.  A few years ago, it beat both Di Fara and another legend, L&B Spumoni Gardens, on one of those Girls gone shopping so I’m free to roam around Brooklyn taste test

New York is a pizza town.  Its in our blood, and everyone has their favorites.  In the outer boroughs you will find a bagel shop, pizzeria, Chinese takeout, and therefore a pharmacy on every block.  And many of the 100’s of pizza out there do it well.  So while by no means, visit our “Bests” if you are in the area, you dont need to venture out too far for a proper slice.

dom-demarco

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Capizzi – Fughetaboutit!

CapizziI figured the best way to express myself this time around would be by sharing the latest clinical results from my team of doctors.  The monthly report is normally 38-50 pages long but here I will just share the “thoughts” pie chart on page 17.  The chart varies from month to month but the big players are more or less constant.  And since my Islanders were ousted last night, I expect Hockey to be replaced by sex, pasta or a combination of sorts very soon.  But as you can see, I do think about pizza often.  I recently had to impose a limit on my pizza intakes and now I’m down to just twice a month.  So when I have a bad one on occasion, I do get cranky a little.  I need to make it count.

meta-chartAnd so to make it count I either go to Don Antonio or Capizzi these days.  Sure a slice or three from Sacco, or Merilu, or a combination of the two (my current preferred method) does the trick.  While Don Antonio is one of the best in the Neapolitan business.  But there’s something magical going on at Capizzi, which is just about my favorite pizza in NYC at the moment.

The pizza at Capizzi is as solid as it gets.  It’s the Pat of the NY Pizza scene.  Sometimes it looks more Neapolitan, sometimes more NYC like.  Its somewhere in between really, and always delicious.  I would even say it gets better with age.  The ingredients are fresh, some ingredients like the sausages are made in house.  The dough is first rate, and the pie comes out of that wood burning oven (built by Joe the owner) with a thin crisp bottom, and the perfect char.  The ingredients on top speak for themselves.  In Italian!

Taste/Pain Ratio  is something I talk about sometimes.  The formula that measures the level of taste to the level of enjoyment or suffering one must endure for it.  Like women’s shoes.  Your sexy new heels will not look very sexy if you are in pain and cant walk straight.  You may think you are sexy, but you are not.  Grimaldi’s may dish out a decent pie, but it demands quite an effort to get there and stand on line, resulting in a low Taste/Pain ratio.  Tourists do the pilgrimage to the legendary Di Fara in Brooklyn, spending half a day door-to-bite, convincing themselves that its worth it, while not realizing that there’s around 20 places that would suit them just fine in Manhattan.

Capizzi may very well have the highest Taste/Pain Ratio in NYC.  There’s never any sort of wait.  Yo get a comfortable table and personal service each and every time (both aspects may be lacking sometimes in Don Antonio and the busier Tavola across the street.  Busier than Capizzi that is).  Capizzi is old school Brooklyn without the rich history of a Lombardi’s, and the sexiness of a Don antonio, hence not very touristy.  Joe Calcagno’s has been making those pies since he was a child in Brooklyn, helping papa.  Capizzi (a small town in Sicily where grandma came from) is one of several current Joe holdings including a popular restaurant/pizzeria in Staten Island.  Its where I go for my pizza fix

Capizzi
547 9th Ave

Capizzi Out Capizzi in

 

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Take Your Daughters to Roberta’s Day

IMG_1598I, Ziggy U, because Google will not allow accounts without a last name a la Cher, hearts Roberta’s pizza.  I’ve been eating Roberta’s pizza for the past two years.  I’ve been stung by its Bee Sting, and started riots when they stopped offering it at Madison Square Eats.  I’ve been touting its pizza and recommended Roberta’s to total strangers asking for pizza and even non pizza stuff (Can you recommend a good shoe lace store in Bushwick that wont break the bank).  I’ve gone to the annual Roberta’s festival in its back yard once where they give away the pies for free.  I’ve done it all.  Except for one tiny little detail…  Eat at Roberta’s.  Up until yesterday I’ve never eaten inside Roberta’s.  I’ve gone close a few time.  Remember the Zizi Limona post last year?  I didn’t feel it was fair to Zizi to mention that we were actually on our way to Roberta’s that day, but the wait for a table was over an hour.

IMG_1602That’s the norm at Roberta’s.  Over one hour waits.  Regulars will be drooling over the pictures here, not so much for the all too familiar food, but the empty tables.  This is Wednesday at 3:30, nap time at hipsterland, and perfect timing before 4-5 where only pizza and Romaine salad are available.  Why are there long waits?  A)  Its extremely popular B)  The pizza is great C)  There’s nothing else whatsoever in the immediate area, but empty lots and graffiti filled structures.  Its also pretty freakin far.  We somehow, by pure Hanukkah miracle, survived the drive and ensuing meal without the unimaginable:  The youngest’s phone dying.

We started with a salad, which turned out to be $5 more expensive since in true a la carte fashion, the bread and butter is a menu item.  This is a New York trend that I hope reverses soon as I didn’t find much wrong with the concept of receiving the bread and butter for free.  Here, you expect to get something that resembles this, but instead you get something that you normally get for free elsewhere, albeit a nice warm baguette and butter that was a little oversalted.  The Romaine “I cant believe its not Caesar” Salad was as good and fresh as Romaine Salads can get, with candied walnuts, Pecorino and mint.

IMG_1592Ribs or Carbonara? Ribs or Carbonara?  “We are out of the Ribs”.  That settles it me thinks.   The Carbonara arrives looking nothing like traditional Carbonara, and more like some heated yellow mess, was surprisingly quite delicious.  The Guanciale was missing its snap, but the pasta was peppery, eggy and rich.  We attacked this thing with full force.  The pizzas were the same classic Neapolitans we’ve been enjoying for years.  Margherita was perfectly light and airy, and so was the busier secret menu item Bee Sting with the honey and Soppressata.  Try it at a food festival near you, or take the schlep over the bridge and then some

Roberta’s
261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NYIMG_1595IMG_1597 IMG_1600 IMG_1601 IMG_1603 IMG_1605

 

Categories: Brooklyn, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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