Reaching in to the Slice mailbag, we've got ...
I know the "classic New York slice" is out of vogue. There are number of reasons for this, including what I believe to be the primary one: The margins on making decent pizza slices are terrible and no new pizza places, especially in Manhattan, have an easy time even paying the rent, let alone other expenses. So everyone new looks for new haute cuisine gimmicks, be they coal- or wood-firing, weight or quality of ingredients.
Meanwhile, the slice, which New York used to own—and in my teenage years in the '90s was widely available and enjoyable—has suffered tremendously. Most joints serve up grease on flavorless bread.
So I write today to give a shout out to Cafe Daniello's on Second Avenue between 56th and 57th streets because they have the best 'normal' slice in Midtown East.
Like many of your readers, I've sampled slices from a wide radius surrounding my office at 56th and Park and have found them to be lacking.
I'm not into the cornmeal crusts, pies cooked in the pans (basically steaming the crust), or über-generic wood-fired personal-size pies (which usually look better than they taste).
While I'm not saying you should drop what you're doing to check it out, I think other people in the 'hood should at least walk over for two slices and a soda for $5.45, tax included. And if you find yourself in the area...
Thanks for the tip. I went today for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised. The slices at Daniello's were very thin, crisp, and well-balanced. These aren't life-changing slices, but they were very good. I'd go a bit out of my way if I worked in Midtown to get these. The cheese was applied judiciously and was plenty oozy without getting too out of hand. And the sauce had a nice spiciness to it, thanks to what seemed to be a healthy dose of red pepper flakes.
Thank you for the tip. I am obviously passing this on to the Slice'rs out there who find themselves in the nabe.
One thing I might note, though, is that it's a teensy bitty smidge fancier than a typical slice joint. Maybe it was just that I visited well after the lunch rush, but here's what happened ...
I ordered at the counter, and the guy at the register told me to have a seat and that he'd bring out the slices to me after the reheat. Then the waitress brought me my beverage (in a glass).
At that point I felt like I was getting "service" and felt compelled to tip, thus upping the price of the lunch special.
Canonizer, I ask you: Is this always the protocol at Daniello's?
Cafe Daniello's Pizza [Midtown East]
1072 Second Avenue, New York NY 10022 (56th/57th; map)