Daily Slice: Ben's vs. Ben's
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
Today's Daily Slice is a two-fer. Aren't you lucky? I just couldn't visit one Ben without also visiting the other. So here we're putting Famous Ben's Pizza of Soho (Spring Street) head to head with Ben's Pizzeria on West 3rd and MacDougal.
Over the years I've been blabbing on Slice, I've had people recommend one of them consistently over the other. Until yesterday I couldn't remember which one that was. And you know what? I still don't. But I now know which one I like more.
Famous Ben's slice is utterly blanketed with cheese and is stunningly greasy. If you like the kind of New York slice whose oil slithers down your arm as you hoist it to your maw, you might like it. It's hard to describe, but something about this kind of slice always reminds me of a grilled cheese sandwich. And here, there's a sharpness to the cheese that's just off somehow. As far as sauce, I couldn't even taste it, and the crust was pretty uncrisp, even after a reheat. If this is the place people have been suggesting, well, I don't know about you, people.
Famous Ben's Pizza of Soho
177 Spring Street, New York NY 10012 (Broadway/Thompson; map)
Ben's Pizzeria, however, is a serviceable slice. They get the balance among crust, sauce, and cheese pretty close to where it should be. The crust is crisp, thin, foldable. The sauce is about one click too sweet, but it's not overly cloying. There's enough cheese, I think, to please people who are REALLY INTO CHEESE but still not too much that the members of the pizza politboro are going to poo-poo it.
Ben's Pizzeria is good for a quick grab-and-go lunch or to soak up some of the booze if you're out in the neighborhood bar-hopping. I personally prefer Pizza Box just a block away, but as far as Ben's vs. Ben's goes, I need look no more. I've found what I was looking for.
123 MacDougal Street, New York NY 10012 (at West 3rd; map)