Sal & Carmine's, UWS, Manhattan
Sal's slightly bready crust is crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Therein lies the magic about Sal and Carmine's crust: It never gets hard, no matter how long it's been out of the oven. The sauce is slightly seasoned, and the aged mozzarella they used has just the right touch of salt. They're magical, more workmanlike and less idiosyncratic than Di Fara, but no less artful and satisfying. And you don't need a finely honed pizza aesthetic to know that. One bite is all it takes. That was the way it was when I first started eating them in 1973, and you know what? That's the way it is now. —Ed Levine
2671 Broadway, New York NY 10025 (b/n 101st/102nd; map); 212-663-7651
Best Pizza (White Slice), Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The white pie here is a white pie for people who might not otherwise go for this style of pizza. Best takes a light hand with the ricotta, adding just enough to give a slice some moisture and creamy texture but not too much that it drips all over and makes you feel bloated after eating it. It's topped with a very judicious amount of caramelized onion. Along the rim of the white pie (and the white pie only) is a dusting of sesame seeds whose oven-toasted nuttiness complements the slight sweetness of the onions.
Rosario's Italian Deli, Astoria, Queens
The crust, dusted with a bit of cornmeal, is crisp and chewy; the sauce a concentrated hit of savory tomato flavor (owner Rosario DiMarco cooks it down from a blend of tomatoes); and the cheese is a creamy fresh mozzarella that the store makes in-house. My only complaint is that Rosario's sells by-the-slice only.
"I've got a small oven," Mr. DiMarco says. "Maybe someday I'll get a bigger oven and be able to do take-out, but for now it's just too hectic in here to do whole pies to go."
Ain't that a shame. —Adam Kuban
2255 31st Street, Astoria NY 11105 (near Ditmars; map); 718-728-2920
Louie & Ernie's, Throgs Neck, The Bronx
City officials know a good slice of pizza when they see one: The street in front of Louie and Ernie's has been renamed Ernie Ottuso Square, after one of the owners. A Louie and Ernie's slice is a diminutive triangle of pizza pleasure in which grated cheese and full-cream mozzarella sparingly cover a thin-enough crust. The sausage here is the stuff of dreams. Made by a local Italian deli, it's applied liberally in large chunks. If ordering a sausage slice, ask for a little extra cheese on the reheat — just enough to "glue" the chunks, added after the fact, to the pizza. —Ed Levine and Adam Kuban
1300 Crosby Avenue, Bronx NY 10461 (at Waterbury Ave.; map); 718-829-6230
Joe & Pat's, Castleton Corners, Staten Island
Giuseppe Pappalardo, an owner of Joe & Pat's in Castleton Corners, Staten Island, mastered his craft at three legendary Staten Island slice establishments: Nunzio's, Ciro's, and Tokie's. His slices are distinguished by a superbly thin, crisp crust. "They're easier to digest," he says, "so you can eat a lot of them."
And believe me, I do. —Ed Levine
1758 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island NY 10314 (at Manor Road; map); 718-981-0887
Joe's Pizza, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Joe's may not be the greatest slice you've ever had or ever will have in New York City, but it's up there and is pretty the definition of the New York slice. The crust is thinner than most, taking on some lovely burned spots that add to the flavor. There's a near-perfect balance among crust, sauce, and cheese — and yes, not that much of any, so you'll definitely want two slices at least if you're looking to fill up. The sauce, too, is worth noting for its bright, fresh flavor. It's very lightly seasoned, if at all, and tastes more along the lines of the sauces at the coal-oven pizzerias, which don't get cooked down before going on the pies. —Adam Kuban
L&B Spumoni Gardens' Sicilian Slice, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
The Sicilian slice at L & B is unique, even when compared to slices with a similar architecture—the cheese is placed directly on the dough and the sauce is placed on top of that with a dusting of Pecorino Romano and lashings of olive oil finishing off the pie. But whereas most Sicilian crust at least aspires toward airiness and chewiness, the dough at L & B is dense and fractures rather more abruptly. It is not leaden, there is some give, but it is altogether more brittle, the bottom deeply burnished. —Nick Solares
Di Fara Pizza, Midwood, Brooklyn
What? Like you thought we'd leave Di Fara off this list? Love it or hate it, it's been hyped to the point (guilty as charged!) that you almost have to try this place if you haven't yet. When the pizza's on, it's on, but be warned: Owner Dom DeMarco sometimes burns the crap out of a slice. I'm not going to blab too much more about it, because you can read entirely too much about the place here: All You Need to Know About Di Fara »