It's all well and good to know where the best pizza in the city is—if you've got the time to travel there—but what if you need a decent slice right now? Slice'rs know that every street-corner slice in NYC is not created equal, so we decided to explore the possibilities literally block by block.
A tourist standing at the corner of 38th and 8th after hopping off at Penn Station or the Port Authority might think they've stumbled upon some sort of pizza mecca: I mean, c'mon—there's four slice joints on one corner?
Sad truth: they're all pretty bad, and they prey on two types of people—tourists, and late night drinkers. I must admit I've stumbled into the 2 Bros. on that corner several times as part of the second category, but I'm resolving not to let myself do it again. Did you know New York Pizza Suprema (our review here) is a mere 6 blocks south at 413 8th Avenue, and is one of the best slicerias in the city? Do yourself a favor, and make the walk.
But if you absolutely must eat on this corner, here's my advice:
The Best Of The Worst: 2 Bros. ($1)
2 Bros. is the best of the dollar-pizza chains around the city, and as far as pizza goes, it's not the worst and as Adam put it, you're probably better off getting a slice than a dirty water dog (I actually disagree with him there).
Their sauce is fresh but overly herbal, their cheese is tossed with a bit of garlic powder, and the crust is stretched in oil and baked on a screen, so don't expect any typical New York-style pizza flavor. If you can, ask them for a well-done slice, you'll be better off.
2 Bros. Pizza
557 8th Avenue (map)
The Most "NY" In Appearance: Village 38 ($2.25)
Village 38 deli's window bears one of the warning signs that you're about to receive bad pizza: the words "Brick Oven." While it may sound like a nice concept, in New York, it's almost always a sign of a joint that's paying more attention to marketing than product. Such is the case here. The slice is pretty typical NY in style, with decent tasting greasy cheese and an ok sauce. The problem is with the crust, which is totally insubstantial. It's crisp alright, but there's absolutely no chewiness or pull to it—the crust practically melts in your mouth. Good for an M&M, not for a slice.
575 8th Avenue (map) 212-244-7800;
Only If The Line at 2 Bros. is Too Long: Roll and Go ($1)
A 2 Bros. clone stuck onto the back of a deli; they make very similar pies. Good news: their sauce is fresher and less loaded down with herbs and such. Bad news: they routinely underbake them, leading to anemic crust and cheese that's barely melted.
I see all this potential. And I see squandering.
Roll and Go
570 8th Avenue (map) 212-398-4646
Avoid!: Blue Rose ($2)
It might look decent, but there's nothing good to say about pizza that tastes like it was most likely no good even when it was made fresh—last week. Bland cheese, no sauce flavor to speak of, and a crust with the stale, reheated crunch of pizza that's been sitting in the glass display case for a few days too long leaves little room for redemptive qualities.
Blue Rose Deli
552 8th Avenue (map) 212-302-2301