Rizzo's Fine Pizza, Astoria
If you didn't already know what to order at Rizzo's Fine Pizza, the delivery boxes stacked high behind the counter and those in the hands of regular customers leaving with take-out tell you: "It's hip to be square."
Yes, the square's the thing at Rizzo's, where they've been making it since 1959. Rizzo's Sicilian-style pies are notably thinner and crisper than most of those you'll find around New York City. This, to me, is a good thing. I find most square slices too bready, too lacking in flavor, and too filling.
At Rizzo's, the Sicilian crusts are about a quarter-inch thick, if that, with a great crunchy-crisp golden-brown layer on the bottom, the result of pan-cooking and some time spent directly on the brick floor of the oven after the pizza is removed from the pan.
What comes out of the oven is a beautifully composed pizza, with rafts of mozzarella floating in a deep-red pool of a tangy, garlicky sauce dusted with Parmesan and Romano, sharp and salty.
The pizza pictured here was destined for my home, but I'd note that Rizzo's square pizzas don't travel well. They revive in the oven beautifully, however. (Just heat to about 400°F and place them on a baking pan until they're just starting to bubble again.)
The square pie gets all the press at Rizzo's, but did you know the pizzeria also offers a round pizza?
Much, much thinner than its Sicilian counterpart, the Neapolitan pizza at Rizzo's has the same sauce and gets the same pan-then-oven-floor baking treatment.
What comes out is an ultrathin-crust pizza that's unlike anything out there. It's not really New York–style, it's not Sicilian-in-the-round — it's just good. The crust is crisp for about a minute, though, so, like the square, you either have to eat it immediately or revive it in the oven at home.