1415 South Congress Street, Austin TX 78704; map); 512-444-7437; homeslicepizza.com
Pizza Style: New York–style
Oven Type: Gas
The Skinny:A faithful recreation of an NYC slice topped with Texas hospitality
Related: Home Slice Pizza Does the Real R&D »
There is a restaurant in New York City called Hill Country, which is patterned after the barbecue meat markets that surround Austin, Texas. The barbecue at Hill Country is a close approximation of what you can get in Texas, essentially mimicking the menu at Kreuz Market in Lockhart to the point of importing their sausages.
Truth be told, it is not quite in the same league as barbecue in the Lone Star State, but for a homesick Texan it will offer a slice of home.
Similarly, Home Slice Pizza in Austin will offer a homesick New Yorker a taste of home in the form of pizza.
Home Slice is located in bohemian Austin within sight of the capitol building.
Home Slice has been such a success since opening in 2005 that they had to add a separate take-out and slice department up the street from the original.
Home Slice claims to serve authentic New York pizza. However, there is one major deficiency in replicating the New York experience in its totality: The workers there are far too courteous and friendly. But, fortunately, the pizza makes up for that.
The ovens are the familiar gas-fueled variety that any New Yorker will be familiar with. I suppose I could have wished for coal—I can't imagine that with all the barbecuing going on in Austin that there would be the same environmental regulations we have in New York—but I suppose that at this point the gas oven has become quintessential.
The pizza that emerges from those ovens is faithful to the dimensions and construction of a standard NYC street slice.
The crust is mostly laudable. Its sins are those of omission rather than commission. It isn't soggy or too crunchy. The mottled burnishing on the bottom is indicative of a crisp crust, yet it still has some softness, offering a pleasing textural contrast. What it ultimately lacks vis-à-vis the finest examples of the breed in New York is an airiness in the end crust and a general suppleness. By comparison it is just a tad too flat.
The mild, slightly sweet sauce is perfect for the milky, low-moisture mozzarella that blankets the pie. The cheese is perfectly blistered, not burned but rather reaching the color of mahogany, and it melts and stretches perfectly. The slice is balanced in almost every important parameter, although the toppings can fall a bit short of the crust's edge.
While the basic pie is more than up to the task of fulfilling the wanton appetites of the pizza lover, the familiar toppings are also available. But either plain or topped, Home Slice succeeds in offering a faithful example of New York pizza.
Related Intel on Home Slice
Home Slice Does the Real R&D, 1/15/2010
"...Every year in September, this Lone Star State pizzeria closes and takes its staff up to the Big Apple to commune with the style of pie it's trying to emulate. Even if you think New York-style pizza is bunk, you've got to admire the moxie on display here...."