'Greenwich Village' on Serious Eats
Like many of Artichoke's pies, the meatball slice is big, cheesy, salty, and greasy, but not in a bad way. If oily, rich, and filling while being plenty flavorful is what you're looking for, it'll do you just fine.
The problem with dollar slices is that you almost always get what you pay for. Sometimes not even that. Of those I've eaten around the city, the best I could say about the best of them was that they were cheap — and probably good for after-bar scarfing. But Percy's Pizza, a newish dollar slice joint on Bleecker amid all the bars and jazz clubs, might be the best dollar slice I've had.
Every city needs at least one older-than-old restaurant with a certain kind of cultivated rakishness — hard, straight-back wood booths that don't encourage lingering; graffiti-carved walls that conjure visions of 1950s hooliganism; grumpy signage.
Turns out that the new Greenwich Village pizzeria 900 Degrees has pretty much taken my daydream and made it reality. With two different ovens, this spacious, welcoming restaurant offers visitors four distinct genres of pizza: Neapolitan, Roman, Sicilian, and "tomato pie," in addition to a sort of category-defying menu subsection dubbed "Pizza Americana."
To that end, I'd been wanting to try a couple different things here: a weekly special called The Vesuvio (buffalo mozzarella, stracciatella, prosciutto di Parma, cherry tomatoes, and basil) and the "Ripieno," a calzone stuffed with ricotta, fresh mozzarella, salame, and just a smidge of tomato sauce.
There's a reason why the hot dog line remains long while the line for dollar slices at Greenwich Village Gray's Papaya is nonexistant. The slices there, ladies and gents, are not very good. And, no, there are no hot dog–topped slices at Gray's. Although, if you spend an extra buck fifty, you can improvise, as I did — photographic evidence, after the jump.
The area around Bleecker Street, between Sixth and Seventh, is already so crowded with pizzerias (some excellent) that it doesn't seem like a new one would add much to the neighborhood. But Pizza Roma, the first American outpost of a Barcelona-based chain, serves something quite different: thin-crusted Roman square slices.
Phil's Pizza opened its doors on Varick Street in 1972. If the sepia-tone photos posted on the wall are any indication, not much has changed since. Homemade signs with crossed-out prices layered with decades of grease are strewn about the pizzeria, and the slice is classic.
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.
The undercarriage of my 160-calorie Tuscan slice bore diamond-shaped marks suggesting that it was cooked on a mesh screen, but the wheaty crust wasn't bad tasting or super-dense. It was topped with thinly sliced crimini, shiitake, and button mushrooms (let's be honest: not too many shiitakes). The skim milk mozzarella was improved by the addition of savory feta and a smear of roasted garlic. Though the caramelized onions pushed the slice toward sweetness, they were nearly balanced by the mushrooms, feta, and a savory sprinkle of truffle oil. We're wary of truffle oil at Slice HQ, but this addition wasn't overpowering.
Pizza Roma, as the name implies, serves Roman-style pizza — long, rectangular pies, cooked in pans, whose crusts are thicker, crisper, chewier than their round, wood-fired Neapolitan counterparts.
Am I the only one around these parts who likes a pepperoni-jalapeño slice from time to time? The salty-greasy-spiciness of those round discs just play so well with the pickled heat of the peppers. You might be able to find this combo in any number of New York City slice joints, but for some reason the Famous Ray's on Sixth Avenue and 11th Street just seems like the perfect pizzeria in which to indulge this craving. I'm lobbying for this combo to go mainstream — but given the fact that the major chains are pushing 'peños as a topping, maybe it already has.
The Famous Ray's
465 Sixth Avenue, New York NY 10011 (at 11th Street; map)
Greenwich Village's Pizza Box probably takes the cake (or should I say pie?) for me when it comes to pizzeria names. (With the possible exception of Pizza Booth, just down Bleecker Street.) And thankfully, the slice here lives up to the charming moniker.
The Margherita. [Photographs: Adam Kuban] Italian pizza-maker Giulio Adriani, having been here in the U.S. only three months, opened his pizzeria, Olio e Più two days ago. I grabbed lunch there and snapped these photos yesterday. Enjoy....
[Photograph: Adam Kuban] Nick Sherman. [Photograph: pizzarules.com] Before I draw down the wrath of the formidable type-design community with the headline above, let me just say that I wrote it with love after recognizing in them a certain amount of kinship. Why am I even talking about letter headz? Because where the worlds of pizza geekery and type obsessives intersect you'll find Nick Sherman. Pizza freaks may know Mr. Sherman as the dude behind Pizza Rules! Font freaks likely know him from Woodtyper, his recent overhaul of the design at MyFonts, and his new job with Font Bureau. Anyway,...
[Photograph: Adam Kuban] From an email from Kesté Pizza & Vino: Starting [Monday, March 8] we will be serving gluten-free pizza. We will only serve it on Monday and Tuesday evenings. We will start with our Marinara, Mast'Nicola, and Margherita pies for now.We are using gluten-free Caputo flour.We're using a different oven to bake the pizza and a different workstation so as to avoid any kind of contamination with regular flour, as we will be serving both regular and gluten-free pizzas at the same time. Kesté Pizza & Vino 271 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014 (b/n Jones and...
It was sort of like one of those secret rock shows where your favorite band comes to town and puts the word out via Facebook or Twitter that it's doing a one-night-only gig in an intimate setting. Only here, it was pizza. And the star was Antonio Starita, of Pizzeria Starita in Naples, Italy. Here, a beautiful photo set from his appearance at Kesté Pizza & Vino in New York City.