By Scott Belding
I like pizza. I live in New York. New York is an unparalleled place to be for pizza enthusiasts. All of these factors enhance my resolve to be a pizza explorer throughout the boroughs during my time at SIPA. I record these pies for my own benefit and hopefully yours.
In the interest of transparency and the betterment of pizza everywhere, it’s important for you, the reader, to know something about the metrics by which I’m judging these pies.
First, I review a classic margherita slice, or regular cheese if that’s unavailable. This provides a common standard between pizza places (I will make exceptions for establishments with particularly well-known, trademark styles).
Second, price matters a bit. A good slice that costs one dollar will get a higher score than an equally good $3 slice. Why? Because savings are delicious.
Third, I’m looking at the cheese, sauce, and crust, since that’s what pizza’s made of. It also matters how those three components interact, which is why you’ll often see me refer to the “ratio.” A great sauce doesn’t take you very far if it’s ladled onto the pizza past the point where you can taste anything else, so the relative proportions matter.
Finally, though it rarely impacts the score, ambience is a factor I pay attention to because a good pizza experience is, in the end, what we’re all about.
table service, whole pizzas only
Long and omnipresent line to enter. The pizza is made very well – the crust is chewy and thin and well-textured, the sauce is punchy and fresh, the mozzarella is chewy and flavorful. The whole experience is balanced in a way that’s subtly excellent instead of richly satisfying, which is not always what the customer craves in pizza. Great atmosphere and proximity to the Brooklyn Bridge, but maybe not worth the wait if timeliness is at all a priority.
Prince Street NoLIta
>$3 slices, 11PM/4AM weekends
Very tasty cheese, and good sauce, but difficult to taste both at the same time. Too much crust. [What they’re famous for, however, is the square pepperoni, and that has a wonderfully crisp and chewy crust, spicy pepperoni, and (not enough) delicious cheese].
Strokos Morningside Heights
SIPA’s pie of choice is thick, doughy, soft, and cheesy. It’s also usually cold. Why is it always cold? It’s coming from two blocks away. Anyway, Strokos is good enough when it’s warm, and the corn meal adds a little…something to the overall experience, but this is pizza best enjoyed hot, fresh, and hungry. Even then it’ll only be OK.