Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Last Word on New York Pizza

So, a group of us decided that it would be fun to finalize once and for all what the best pizza is in New York (using the opinions of the thousands that have gone before us as input - allowing our answer to be the absolute and final word on the subject). Having shouldered this mantle of responsibility, we're going about it in a very structured way (S compiled an incredibly impressive fact-base on the subject which he then transformed into an easy to use matrix - no one could accuse of us taking our responsibility lightly). There will be no room for dissention on our decision.

As with all things of great import, we decided a dry run would be a good idea. S and I met at Company for a leisurely lunch. We decided that a shared salad would provide a bit of balance to the hedonism of the pizza - but chose the beet salad (which was great), but (with beets generally tasting remarkably like candy) may not have truly balanced the vegetable content of our meal.

We started with a pizza bianca - just a simple crust flavored with olive oil, rosemary and salt. It was light and crispy, but still with enough to the crust that it wasn't like eating air. It was a nice beginning (though we realized later that the 'ricotta' dip option would have been a good idea).

For the main event, we selected the margarita and the popeye. Following in the tradition of some of the best food reviewers, we will be ordering a margarita everywhere we go. Then, depending on the people with us/the size of the pie/etc. we will chose other topping options.

The margarita was fine. The crust was not quite as good as the bianca - slightly chewy/damp in places; the sauce was nice, but not overly distinctive; the cheese was good.

The popeye was amazing. I eyed it a bit askance when it arrived as it looked less like a spinach pizza than a pizza crust that someone had upended a salad on. However, I am nothing if not determined and I stepped up to the plate (metaphorically speaking of course) and took a bite. It was the most amazing balance of green and decadence I've had (maybe ever, but definitely recently). The crust was perfect (the whole way through both pieces), the spinach was fresh and perfect with some parts a little crisp from baking and some a little more raw, and the whole thing was tied together with a rich mixture of olive oil, cheese and garlic (maybe other stuff, but that was the major). Both S and I agreed that this was a great pizza (we even recommended it to the couple next to us, who seemed oddly discomfited to be addressed by strangers at a communal table). With one (dry run) pizzeria down, we had a pizza to beat. And having tried both pizzas, but with a little more room, both S and I had a second slice of the popeye, letting our second slices of the margarita go to waste.

We did also have dessert (the chocolate thing), but in retrospect, I might have preferred a second popeye.


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