New York is the birthplace of pizza, and most of the pizza joints in the five boroughs are shit. You’re literally up to your asshole in dumpy spots that serve slop on cardboard. If you think having an Italian running the joint makes a difference, let me clear things up for you…it doesn’t. In fact it can make things worse, because every Sicilian left in this town thinks that they are an authority on Italian food.
In fact I would say it’s simular with my black friends. They are always so unimpressed with soul food restaurants, they all talk shit about em, and it’s always better at home. Italians from New York are very simular, very opinionated, usually unimpressed, and to be honest, I don’t care to cook for them.
Most of the best pizza in this town is not served by slice. In fact I’d say you could break pizza down into separate categories. Pizza by the slice is one thing, and it can be a bit of a freak show. I remember when I first met Aylin, I had helped her with stuff around the house and she at one point wanted to show me gratitude by getting us some food. When I asked what she had in mind she asked if I liked taco pizza or philly cheese-steak pizza. I just laughed, thinking that she couldn’t be serious, but she was. I thought for certain this had to be a shop run by Mexicans, but no…it was a nice Sicilian woman named Anna.
Falefel pizza, chicken ceasar salad pizza, nutella and marshmellow pizza, I mean seriously, this whole place is out of order. But they do a good sicilian slice.. and when I was starving for something heartier than that, I would get a lasagne slice. A friend onced explained that this was what made the pizza the perfect snack, is that it was just an avenue for almost any cuisine. I felt this to be a bit much, but fuck it.
Not only that but now you have this place called Two Bros pizza, and it’s a dollar a slice. Thats right..A dollar, and you know what…it’s actually decent. NOT AMAZING, but for a dollar a slice, it is what it is: modern New York pizza by the slice.
The second category would be “modern italian pizza”. Saraghina, Robertas, Luzzos, all of whom do single sized pies which two people can split with modern italian ingredients like capocollo, prosciutto, bufala. Saraghina is a personal fav because they have a good octopus and squid appetizers.
These places are good for dates, or to bring family, with attention usually paid to fresh. So much so that they will run out of items, which makes me trust it more.
If I go to a restaurant which serves a variety of food and they never run out of stock, then I can only assume that something is rotting somewhere. But if they have a smaller menu, and things are made for that day, then you know they aren’t moving bulk, they are crafting food.
Then you got “old New York” Pizza: Grimaldis, Di Faras, Totonos, De Ninos, Lombardis, and The L&B right next to the Spumoni Gardens. People either love or hate Di Faras. I mean it’s just one guy making the pizza there, where you will wait an hour for a pie, and he will do slices for $5 a pop. There is also South Brooklyn Pizza in the east village, where once again $5 slices, but one day I honestly thought I had one of the best slices years there. It was topped off with capers and fontina cheese, with fresh romano cheese on the counter, However I came back a week later with friends and it was just ok. He does have Manhattan Special coffee soda on draft, I thought that was kinda cool.
Totonos was opened back in 1929 by a guy who worked at Lombardis then later went and opened his own spot all the way out in Coney Island. Not too long after me and my mom last ate there it caught on fire, still not sure if they reopened that location but they did open a spot in the upper east side that I heard was just ok. I went to the L&B and it seemed to be all about that upside down sicilian slice. It wasn’t bad but that place can’t possibly be under original management because I noticed that everyone behind the counter was Arabic, which is fine seeing how Arabs more than likely invented the concept of pizza.
I first heard about Grimaldis from Kay. Something about a plane crash in Europe or somewhere outside the country which people were drinking water from their socks. After being rescued one of the survivors was asked what he was gonna do first when he got back to New York, he said go to Patsys. Apparently he meant the Patsys underneath the Brooklyn Bridge that wound up changing their name to Grimaldis. Grimaldis is now run by Russians and there is always a line out the door. I don’t do lines and at this place you don’t have to. I just order to go, and take it to a bench by the water and eat with a truly breathtaking view of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan . Nine years ago I thought it was alright but in the past few years it has gotten better, right around the same time they started expanding. Now there is one right by where I grew up in Houston Texas.
Then you have Lombardis, deemed the oldest pizza place in America. I have been going there nine years now, and have had the same guy waiting on me for 8 of those years. His name is Yani, he is in my phone, I never wait, and he has my order memorized: Extra pepperoni, garlic and ricotta with the crust burned. The place never lets me down
Me and Farhad used to eat there all the time. In fact, if either one us asked the other if they wanted to eat at Lombardis, what it really meant was, do you want to go to Lombardis, swallow some pills at the table, and chase it with a pizza. I honestly cannot tell you how many times I walked out of there loaded, only to stroll on down to Thompkins Square Park and throw up in a trash can. Jesus I must have puked in every corner of that park at one time or another. Have you seen that park lately, have you taken a look? Now it’s all baby strollers and dog shit.