Recently the neighborhood group KWT, that I subscribe to on Facebook had a 90+ (and counting) comment thread about the best pizza in the neighborhood. The discussion about who has and where to get the best pizza has got to be the long running and most heated debate in this country ever... Forget politics, religion, child rearing philosophies - people what to talk about their opinions on pizza. Even my 4 year old daughter weighs in on the debate, I note her favorite below. Some people will even spend their time debating whether or not there is such a thing as "bad pizza" and that all pizza is inherently good. I don't know if I agree with that - if there is a good, there is a bad - it is the law of nature.
So here is my list of the best pizza I am ever eaten... I have tagged some folks who I believe are pizza experts and people who live in various parts of the city and the country because I would like to hear where your favorite pizza is from... It is very important that you give me your favorites- last month when I wrote the note about burgers the crowd suggested that I try Minetta Tavern's burger. Yesterday I did - and it was delicious. I would like you to tell me what pizza I am missing out on! (If I did not tag you, you were missed by accident, I just quickly tagged - please weigh in!)
Best Neighborhood (KWT) Slice: Korner Pizza (Ruby's Pick)
In the KWT group Korner Pizza got slammed for high prices. I totally agree that the price of a slice is ridick. But I think it is the best that the neighborhood has to offer - taste wise. The others in the neighborhood fall short on the dough - too thin or tasteless, the sauce - tasteless, or the cheese - not stringy and tasteless. Korner pizza is also the closest to us, and proximity and ease of acquirement is very very important when it comes to pizza. If I have to travel or wait too long for pizza it defeats the purpose of pizza. I also enjoy their fountain soda. Which is a key accompaniment to any pizza lunch. I will slam them on price for their slice, we usually get a pie cause it is a much better deal.
Best Square: L&B Spumoni Gardens
I heard someone say it is overrated - I immediately wanted to punch this person in the face. If you think this pizza sucks, you are one of those people that is just a hater - you hate just to hate, you are contrary just to be contrary (aka you are an asshole.) Every time I have had L&B I have sat and spoke poetically about the marriage of the sauce (I want to rub it on my face), the cheeses (absolute perfection) and the crust (crispy with just the right amount of grease.) It is the perfect square pie in creation. Bonus: the Spumoni, double bonus: the pumpkin ice cream in the fall. I eat L&B and thank Jesus that I live in Brooklyn. And not to be forgotten, L&B always has a pie (1/2 or full tray) waiting for you. You will be served in under 2 minutes if you want a square pie. That is genius! No wait! That is a hungry girl's dream.
Best Coal Oven: Lombardi's
So it is a tourist trap. So what? The pizza is damn good, and the service is fast. Bonus: their calzone is sick. Derek told me that coal ovens in NYC are illegal, and that the only places that have them were "grandfathered in" after the ordinance was established. And like most things that are outlawed, it is awesome. Something about the coal and their ingredients just makes it damn good. I have been to a couple of the other coal oven pizza joints in the city, and while they are less touristy, I think the product at Lombardi's is great. If you show up right at noon, you don't even have to deal with the crowds.
Best Slice Manhattan, 1998-2002: Famous Ben's Pizza in Soho
It is not very good anymore, but I had to give the place a shot out for the time period when I worked at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners across the street. Best slice for its time, best foundation soda I ever had to got with it. It was the quintessential NYC pizza joint. Antoinette: your Dad made a damn good pizza!
Best Pizza Queens: Singa's
Queens in my motherland. Born and raised. I have since defected to Brooklyn. And I will say that Brooklyn overall has the best pizza of all of the boroughs. But growing up my Mom would take us to Singa's - and it is not traditional, but it is damn good. I think there is something about the small pies that appeal to kids. As a kid I loved it, and my Mom brought Ruby and I there recently and she loved it. It might be more about the nostalgia then the pizza itself, but there will always be a place in my heart for those little pies. It is a franchise now, with locations every where, but as a kid I went to the one in Elmhurst, bring the kids.
Best Fancy Pizza: Franny's
As a Filipino it is in my DNA to believe that if you put an egg on it, it will be 100% better. Franny's has a pizza with an egg on it. This appeals to me. Pizza really should not be fancy, maybe it is more of "flatbread" if it is, but I enjoy what Franny's has to offer. Nice bottle of wine, fancy pizza. I like.
The places I have above, will probably not spark much controversy. I think most folks would agree with my picks. But I think I will get call out for not mentioning Da Fara's and Grimaldi's. Here's why I didn't mention them - they are both a hassle. Pizza should be easy. I shouldn't have to wait 60 minutes on line outside or wait 90 minutes in my car for a hand made pie. They are delicious, I get it. But WAIT is a four letter word for me. And I am not pretty when I am hungry and have to wait. Pizza should be fast. If you disagree, well you have a lot more patience than I do.