Is the classic New York pizza slice being pushed aside by gourmet pies? That’s what Newsweek reports in a recent article. New York Magazine disagrees, and so do I.
As proof, I give you the humble slice that can be had from Rose’s Pizza, a narrow, bustling joint located along the cavernous Long Island Railroad concourse deep in the bowels of Penn Station. No, don’t stop at Domino’s Pizza. Keep going past K-Mart until you’ve almost reached the A train entrance. Rose’s is on the right.
At rush hour, this very basic pizza pit stop is mobbed. For a few bucks, you get a nice slice sporting a crisp crust that’s topped with a buttery and slightly tangy combo of cheese and sauce.
On a recent Friday, while I was waiting for my train to Greenport on the east end of Long Island, I joined the line at the counter. Genteel it isn’t. There are lots of loud-mouthed commuters who think nothing of pushing ahead of you in line.
So grab a beer, chill out and order the plain slice. There are also versions topped with all manner of veggies and meats. But for me, a New York slice is best eaten unadorned, just like the pizza gods meant it to be.
Tell me about your favorite slice joints!
The Bronx: Arthur Avenue Pizza
Midtown and Murray Hill: Pizza and Sandwiches
Penn Station: Make Tracks to Tracks Raw Bar & Grill
Who would think that two iconic New York dishes–pizza and lox and eggs–would be made better in New Jersey?
The Times today recounts how the owners of Ray’s Real Pizza migrated to the Garden State to set up shop. They were a mainstay in West Midtown, serving ordinary diners and celebrities alike. All who tasted this pie sang its praises.
Then the rent went up. So the brothers Russo, Joe and Marco, decamped to Hazlet, NJ, a hamlet right off the Garden State Parkway and a short drive from Jersey Shore communities like Atlantic Highlands and Sea Bright.
It sounds like the quality of this pizza may justify a special trip to our fair neighbor across the Hudson.
Best Lox and Eggs
Meanwhile, skip Barney Greengrass and head straight for the West Avenue Grill in Jenkintown, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Full disclosure: the place is owned by my husband’s cousins.
Still, even without this family connection, I’ll be back for the exceptional lox and eggs. Unlike many attempts at this dish which render it dry and tasteless, the West Avenue Grill’s lox and eggs are rich and full of flavor. Together with a serving of fruit and a bagle, it becomes a magnificent brunch.
West Avenue Grill also serves a full menu of sandwiches, salads and egg dishes. Nothing on the lunch menu is more than $10. Dinner is also served.
Ray’s Real Pizza
West Avenue Grill
718 West Ave.
Saturday we headed for Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. It’s a tidy Italian enclave that’s bursting with pork stores, meat markets, cheese emporiums, and, of course, restaurants and pizza places. As the Food Section says, Arthur Ave is “the hot spot for Italian staples like fresh mozzarella, deli meats, and fresh fish.“
It was lunchtime so pizza seemed like a good choice. We stepped inside Zero Otto Nove. Packed with students from nearby Fordham University, this full-service eatery is decorated like a theme park version of Italy. A pizza oven is stationed in a small enclosed space fully visible from the dining room.
Our pizza with arugula and cherry tomatoes was topped with first-rate mozzarella, as was a pie studded with broccoli rabe and sausage. But the blanket of arugula smothered the topping. That might have been OK– but only if I had ordered a pizza salad. Even more disappointing was the crust. It was downright spongy.
The best part of the meal was the bread basket, which contained a truly sensational loaf of Italian bread, crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside. We plowed through slice after slice, dipping each one in a dish of excellent olive oil.
Zero Otto Nove
2357 Arthur Ave.
718 220 1027
Umami is the fifth taste, and everyone is talking about it. Did you know that pizza wouldn’t be pizza without the pizazz that comes from umami?
Read my Q & A on Huffington Post with chef and flavor expert, Renee Marton.
For me, summer is the least appetizing time to eat pizza. Like today, for example. It’s 100 degrees. Who wants to down all that heavy crust, gooey cheese, and tangy sauce? But if you’re a pizza-any-time-kind-of-eater, than this NY Magazine roundup on some new pizza places in Brooklyn is for you:
Pizza, New-Brooklyn Style
(Photo: Noah Kalina)
As Brooklyn’s long and storied pizza tradition continues to attract new practitioners of the doughy art, the question arises in the mind of the Underground Gourmet: What is Brooklyn-style pizza? Is it the lumpen and glistening slice, as perfected by Di Fara? The tender Neapolitanish pie at Totonno’s? The cheese-under-sauce slab of L&B? There is no easy answer, as Domino’s discovered a year and a half ago, when its attempt to channel the borough’s crust-loving culinary spirit was met with the kind of loathing and contempt usually reserved for serial killers and dogfight impresarios.
Read on about:
South Brooklyn Pizza
Toby’s Public House