Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
Tomato and Basil's sign declares proudly, "Home of the Grandma Pie." I've always found grandma slices to be a three-buck gamble, but this square holds its own. Its crust is hearty and crunchy on the edges but solidly chewy on the bottom, avoiding the pitfalls of being soggy and being overcooked. It's a nice balance for those days we're looking for something with a bit more heft than New York's usual thin crust.
Just as tasty is Tomato and Basil's Margherita ($3). The lower crust-to-topping ratio makes this slice more of a flavor bomb than dear old granny's and brings it more into line with the qualities that make slices like Di Fara's memorable. Chunks of plum tomato and bits of basil are baked into the blanket of cheese, and the whole package receives a dusting of olive oil and Parmesan before finding its place under the sneeze guard.
But the Margherita's crust could use a little refining. Sporting a medium char, its flavor is a bit one-dimensional. The underside of these pies, thin, crisp, and just slightly pliant, are excellent, but their edges border on difficult to chew.
Tomato and Basil's slice isn't exactly a phenomenon—whenever I bite into their pizza, I feel like I'm tasting a less intense, less storied version of Di Fara's plain pie. This, of course, isn't too shabby for a neighborhood slice joint—I'd say Tomato and Basil is putting out a solid, satisfying (if not exceptional) daily slice.
Tomato and Basil
226 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215 (map) 718-596-8855