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Pizza reviews in the Portland area.

Daily Slice: Straight From New York Pizza, Portland, Oregon

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[Photographs: Jim Bonomo]

Straight From New York is technically straight from Salem, Oregon, where the nano-chain has been thriving for the past 15 years. Still, both food and the décor give this slice joint a Big Apple aura. A hefty variety of pies are on display, waiting to be divvied up into sizeable slices. The no-frills approach to a hearty utility slice is a welcome attribute of this Sunnyside neighborhood pizzeria.

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In such a hipster 'hood, it's always a safe bet to order the veggie slice. The discerning meat-free population demands quality in this arena, and SFNY strives to provide it. Their vegetarian slice ($3.50) comes with a pesto base, a plentiful helping of mozzarella cheese, and a dazzling array of cooked and uncooked veggies: mushrooms, red peppers, green peppers, black olives, artichokes, and red onions. The seasoning is excellent; the bright, salty pesto makes for a necessary dressing for the leagues of veggies atop the slice.

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The crust is the highlight of the Straight From New York's pizza. It's crunchy exterior is reminiscent of buttered toast. Plenty chewy in denser spots and surprisingly airy and brittle in others, the encrust speaks to the Oregonian's perception of New York pizza. The undercarriage is thin, yet crisp, and supple enough to support the weight of a veritable dinner salad.

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Before stripping veggies (L), After stripping veggies (R).

The excessive vegetables on this pizza sort of resembles a bizarre pizza/Subway sandwich collision. Halfway through the slice, I realized that it would be better without some of the more 'hot salad'-type ingredients, and stripped it down to the cooked veggies only (mushroom, artichoke & onion). It was much more satisfying once the sweetness of the peppers weren't there to interfere with the sweet basil-based sauce. Overall, Straight From New York manages to one-up the other local 'from New York' establishment in both atmosphere and slice quality.

Straight From New York
3330 SE Belmont Street, Portland, Oregon 97214 (map)
971-279-5970; sfnypizza.com

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