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Adrienne's Pizzabar: Whatever You Call It, It's Great
54 Stone Street, New York NY 10005 (map); 212-248-3838; adriennespizzabar.com
Getting there: N/R to Whitehall-South Ferry; 2/3 to Wall-William; J/Z to Broad; 4/5 to Bowling Green
Pizza style: "Old-fashioned"
Oven type: Wood Stone gas-fired ovens
The skinny: The pizza style at Adrienne's sort of defies any of the traditional ones we normally talk about — it's just a really great, puffy, thin-crust grandmaesque pie. Not only good for the Financial District, which, let's face it, is not difficult — but great for anywhere. Destination pizza, folks
Price: $17.50 for a plain pie
If you've been reading Slice with any regularity, you know I love to link to the old chestnut that is the Slice Pizza Style Guide (<-- there, I just did it again). The thing is, though, not every pizza falls neatly into a category. That seems to be the case with the "Old Fashioned" pizza at Adrienne's Pizzabar. It's got elements of the grandma pie, of New York–Neapolitan, of pan pizza, even a little Detroit style (though I'm sure Adrienne's Queens-born and -raised partner and head pizzaman Nick Angelis would be surprised to hear that one).
Adrienne's, however, does fit neatly into that category of pizza known as Destination Pizza. Because this rectangular, thin-crust, sort-of grandmaesque pie is worth traveling for. Good thing that its Financial District location puts it within an easy shot of eight different train lines.
Adrienne's is not new. In fact, Slice visited not long after it opened in 2005 and gave it a strong review back then. I'm happy to say that the place is holding up well and that the quality of the pizza has remained consistent. Far too often, it's the other way around.
The pizza at Adrienne's is made from same-day dough that's stretched out and proofed in the pan it'll be cooked in. Depending on the time of day you go, you might get a crisp, light, puffy crust (like the one above, ordered around 5 p.m.) or a pie that's crisp and light but a little more thin — a pie missing some of the rise you see above.
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Either way, these are delicious pizzas. Elements of the New York–Neapolitan style are apparent in the use an uncooked sauce of high-quality Italian canned tomatoes seasoned with just a bit of salt and oregano. The tomatoes here are on the sweeter end of the spectrum, and the oregano adds just the right amount of NYC slice-joint flavor to the pie. The cheese is mostly fresh mozzarella that one of Angelis's business partners makes for all Angelis's restaurants (remember, Angelis is the guy behind Nick's in Forest Hills and on Second Avenue and 94th Street). Mixed in with it is a little whole-milk mozzarella from Grande, regarded as the best commercial-grade regular mozzarella. And there's some Romano and Parm on there, too, which gives it a nice bit of saltiness and pep.
What I love just as much as the confluence of great ingredients, though, is the riot of textures on this pizza. The airy, puffy parts of the dough are crisp yet soft and pillowy. The thinner parts that didn't rise as much are crisper and dense and get a little more oily and almost fried in the pan. The regular "aged" mozzarella in spots chars a bit and takes on that crunchy texture that I love in Detroit-style pan pizzas. And the fresh mozzarella remains creamy throughout.
Totally baller, "Old Fashioned," whatever. It's worth the trip.