Back in January Adam clued us in to the stuffed artichoke slice from Nonna's Lower East Side Pizzeria, also known as the home of the Magic Slice (see picture below). They make it not by shoving sliced artichoke onto a pie like they do at say, Artichoke Basille's (not our favorite slice in the city), but by placing a whole stuffed artichoke on top of a slice of grandma-style pie covered in cheese and creamed spinach. It's a tasty alternative, and a real fill-you-up lunch slice.
I decided to check out the regular pies to see how they stacked up.
Their plain triangular slice ($2.50) superficially resembles a New York slice—big, cheesy, a little greasy—but biting into it reveals a flavor profile more similar to a grandma slice. Rather than a sauce of fresh canned tomatoes, Nonna's uses a slow-simmered rich marinara sauce on their regular pies. The pie man boasted to us that it gets cooked down for over four hours. It's not typical, but it's a surprisingly tasty slice.
As you can see from the undercarriage, there's not too much spotting, but it's nice and crisp nonetheless.
Despite the sign, the mozzarella on that pie certainly didn't taste like fresh handmade mozz—it tasted more like good tangy aged mozzarella. The owner cleared it up for us: the fresh mozzarella is reserved for the grandma slices and the artichoke slices only, so we ordered another grandma slice.
This one was better than the regular triangle slice. The undercarriage comes out ultra crisp, nearly fried in texture, with a nice hearty chew to the crumb. The sauce tastes even richer than it does on the standard slice, but here it seems much more appropriate. I've always felt that grandma pies are sort of like lasagna in pizza form—rich, comforting—and this slice exemplifies that with its rich sauce and thick layer of fresh hand-pulled mozz. This is the one to order.
Nonna's LES Pizzeria
105 Clinton Street, New York NY 10002 (Delancey/Rivington; map)
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.