Ever since Kesté opened in the West Village, it's become the pizza destination of that corridor of Bleecker Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. But long before Kesté, there was John's Pizzeria, one of the city's old-school coal-oven giants, around, as the awning will tell you, since 1929. And while it's rarely talked about anymore, it still puts out a darn good pie.
In all honesty, the sauce is a little sweet and somehow tinny; the mozzarella isn't particularly flavorful. But the lumpy sausage is fennely and juicy, the cheese perfectly proportioned, and the crust has the great crackle-chew of New York-Neapolitan pies—it's thin, of course, and feels a little too firm as you grab and fold a slice, but once you bite into the end, you'll find a light, bready core under that outside resistance. Even after a reheat a few days later, it doesn't toughen up. Is it the best pizza in New York, or even the best of its kind in New York? I'd say no. But I'd also say it's a pizza that does the New York tradition proud.