First things first: despite using a wood fired oven, 1Forno's pizza is not significantly different in flavor or appearance than what you'd get in a decent slice joint downtown. The pies still take around 7 to 10 minutes to bake through, and they come out a relatively even golden brown, as opposed to charred and crackling like the pizzas at Best. That said, they're still quite tasty. And at $2 for a pretty large Plain Slice, they aren't a bad deal, either.
Plain Slice ($2)
On a good day, Patsy's smaller $1.50 coal-fired slices a few blocks away easily beat 1Forno on flavor. But Patsy's can also be inconsistent, slices charred and crisp one day; floppy and soggy the next.
1Forno's slices aren't too saucy or cheesy, but they're greasy in that pleasing, NY-red-grease kind of way; the kind of greasy that forces you to closely monitor both ends of your folded slice for drip attacks.
Pepperoni Slice ($3)
If you want more grease factor, this slice uses extra wide deli-style pepperoni. It's a nice touch, and a testament to the structural integrity of their crust, which holds up impressively against the onslaught.
That crust's underbelly is the only place where you really see hints of the high temperatures a wood-fired oven is capable of. It gets some really nice spotty browning on it, and for the most part, the texture of the crust is near-ideal. A thin layer of crispness followed by a layer of crumb, with tender-but-moist chew.
The only place that's lacking is around the edges. There's not much rise or color going on there.
I glanced back at the dough balls stored behind the counter pre-stretching. They looked slightly under-rested to me, which may explain the overly tight hole structure.
Garlic Knots (3 for $1)
The strange crumb structure around the edges defines the garlic knots, which looked great but had a strangely fluffy, dry interior with no real chew or stretch at all. We took a bite and set them aside.
Sausage and Pepper Hero ($4.99)
Of the two sandwiches on the menu, you can skip the sausage and pepper hero, which comes filled with mostly saucey peppers and a few slivers of generic sausage that looks like it was boiled yesterday.
Meatball Hero ($4.99)
The meatball hero, on the other hand, is pretty fantastic. Ultra-tender meatballs that are perhaps just a touch over-seasoned are smothered in tomato sauce and cheese, placed on a split hero roll, and then sent into that wood oven to toast. The oven man shoves it right into the back, so it actually comes out with a hint of smoky char.