Category Archives: Pizza Reviews

The only thing worse than bad pizza is no pizza

half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese

NYC Pizza Review: Bella Vita Again

Bella Vita has become our go-to New York style thin crust pizza spot. It’s got that chewy-soft foldable crust and enough grease but not to the point of dripping out the back of the fold onto the plate.

And yes, I reviewed it here once before. But something disappointing happened this week that makes me need to review it again.

We ordered delivery per the usual: one cheese pizza and one half pep/half mush.

But when it came, they weren’t regular cheese pizzas. Instead of standard shredded mozzarella, it was melted fresh buffalo mozzarella. Hmmmmm.

half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese

Looking back, we didn’t order anything differently than we had in the past.

But look at this pizza from last time!! Totally different cheese:

Bella Vita cheese pizza
Bella Vita cheese pizza

It still tasted great. And if I had EXPECTED this, then it would’ve been fine. But since I was NOT expecting the difference in cheese, I was a little sad and mad.

Overreaction? Maybe. Okay, fine. Definitely. But I’m still scratching my head on this.

I guess next time, I’ll know to expect the unexpected.

Oh, and I mean, it’s not like there were any leftovers. ūüėČ

Roman style pizza "al metro" - by the meter

NYC Pizza Review: Merilu in Hell’s Kitchen

As we make our way around the New York City neighborhood pizza joints, the next stop is Merilu Pizza Al Metro on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen.

Merilu specializes in “Roman” style pizza (along with a classic New York thin crust), which has a crispy crust and is more often baked in long rectangles. Another discerning feature sometimes found in the Roman pizza, as in Merilu, is the “Al Metro” which basically means that you are purchasing it “by the meter.” So while the pizza I had delivered was some sort of regulation size, if I were in the restaurant, they would cut off a slab of pizza based on how many meters I wanted to eat. Or something like that….

Anyway, I tried the traditional “cheese” version of the Roman pizza, and Mark got a regular thin crust with jalape√Īos on top.

The traditional New York style pizza was 100% my preference between these two. My Roman style pizza was heavily sauced with kind of sweetish sauce for the lesser amount of cheese present. Now obviously I’m no expert on this style of pizza, so that could be totally typical and the ideal set up for this za. But it wasn’t really to my taste.

So there you have it: not for me, but doesn’t mean it’s not for someone else. And on to the next.

thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco

NYC Pizza Roll…Just In Time

Eater put out it’s third list of the City’s best pizza parlors, just in time for me to repost it!

(Side note: Eater.com was my former employer in Detroit.)

Love the description of pizza being “carpeted” with cheese. Adding it to the lexicon ūüôā

Lots to try, although not a ton here listed in Manhattan so may take me a while to get around. I’ll keep you posted as I do though.

Enjoy the list in the meantime ~ how many of these have you been to?

Pies under glass at Cavallo's

NYC Pizza Review: Cavallo’s

A few Fridays ago, Mark and I went to The PIT Loft (which is the Peoples Improv Theater) to see a sketch comedy show in which our friend was performing. I got out of work, met Mark on the subway platform and we made our way to W. 29th St. with 30 minutes to spare before the 9pm performance.

So what else would we do besides grab a slice of pizza at the nearest hole in the wall pizzeria: Cavallo’s on 7th Ave.

Pies under glass at Cavallo's
Pies under glass at Cavallo’s

It looked promising enough: a narrow restaurant with pies on display, Stella on tap and just enough grime on the walls to remind you that you aren’t in some sterile suburban strip mall.

I got a thin slice of mushroom and Mark got a thick slice of cheese. The mushroom was as it should be: totally and completely covered with sliced button mushrooms. None of these frou-frou mushrooms that don’t belong on New York style pizza, and not an inch of slice to spare.

It definitely didn’t meet the “doesn’t crack when folded” test, but we saw it sitting out under heat lamps, so no surprise that it wasn’t made fresh to order. It did indeed seem like their night was winding down by the diminished number of pies under glass and the lack of sparkle on the remaining slices. But oh well.

Overall, the pizza was serviceable. Good flavor, mega toppings and satiated any growing hunger pangs.

Was it the best pizza ever? No. Would I go back? Probably not. Did it fill a need? Yes.

And on to the next.

Bella Vita cheese pizza

NYC Pizza Review: Bella Vita

In my ongoing quest to try all the pizzas, we ordered delivery from Bella Vita Pizzeria on 58th Street last week. It was recommended to me by my Aunt Laurie, who had tasted it at a recent party. It is what one might consider traditionally classic New York pizza.

And it didn’t disappoint!

We ordered a standard large cheese pizza as that really is the best way to compare apples to apples across all the pizza places.

NYC-style thin crust cheese pizza
NYC-style thin crust cheese pizza

When it came, the light color on the cheese and crust had me worried that perhaps it was slightly undercooked. But indeed it was not.

It definitely hit the spot in terms of what I look for in that comforting thin crust za of growing up: HUGE slices (I still ate 4 – oops), chewy crust that is easily foldable (and doesn’t crack per my dad’s instruction), lots of cheese and sauce, and pre-spiced with oregano – although that doesn’t preclude adding my own “toppings” of oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper.

Bella Vita cheese pizza
Bella Vita cheese pizza

Thanks for the rec A.L., and look forward to ordering from here again ūüôā

thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco

NYC Pizza Review: Sacco

I’m finally reviewing a NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA!!! Yay! It’s about time, right?

A few weeks ago we ordered delivery from Sacco Pizza on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen for our (fairly regular) practice of Thursday night pizza.

Not only is the pizza a true New York thin crust, but it is seriously thin. Like almost paper-thin.

thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco
thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco

Overall, I would try this pizza again. Likely I would grab a slice on site like Brian Williams often does at lunchtime. It issssss on my way home from yoga soooooo…..

The thin crust cheese pizza we ordered had that classic NYC pizza flavor – the right ratio of sauce to mozzarella, which is to say not an overwhelming amount of either. Is there a pizza perfume? Or pizza air freshener? Because that’s what this pizza is – the quintessential pizza aroma.

Can we invent that please? Oh no, it already exists. And shockingly has 3 stars on Amazon. Or maybe not shockingly. I would probably buy it.

Back to the ‘za: the outer crust itself was like a stiff roll ~ not crusty, not really chewy.¬†And it wasn’t greasy which was nice to not have to use a hundred napkins.

My only contention would be that it was slightly overdone and slightly cold, which made me wonder if they brought us a pie that was already made and sitting under the heat lamps for a while. Which is why I would go in next time and order counter-side.

All in all, a probable return visit is in order.

pizza margherita

NYC Pizza Review: Lil’ Frankie’s

With the advent of iPhone restaurant ordering apps, it doesn’t matter anymore if a particular restaurant delivers or delivers to your area because you can just place your order through this third party and they’ll pick up your food from pretty much any restaurant and delivery it to your door.

Now the problem arise when you choose to order from a pizzeria on the opposite side of New York City during rush hour on a weeknight. Not only does it take forever for your delicious pizza to arrive, but inevitably your pizza is cold.

Not to say that it’s not¬†worth doing this, because obviously if the pizza is amazing, then it is. And the situation can easily be rectified by planning ahead so that you’re not ordering at 7pm, getting your cold pizza at 8:30pm, and by factoring in some oven-lovin’ time for the ‘za prior to consumption.

So last week, we downloaded one of these ordering apps and conjured up some classic Neopolitan [sic] wood-fired pizzas from Lil’ Frankie’s¬†in the East Village.

I, of course, ordered my standard go-to pizza margherita and I got Mark a pizza salame piccante.

Even though they arrived cold, after some reheating, they were both thoroughly demolished. Obvi.

As you know, I really enjoy wood-fired pizza, and this was no exception with the chewy outer crust that you really have to rip hard with your jaw, super thin middle and perfectly portioned dollops of mozzarella and sprigs of basil. I also was pleasantly surprised by the very European touch of a black olive placed in the center of the pie.

I was, however, slightly confused by the image on the box….

Lil' Frankie's pizza box
Lil’ Frankie’s pizza box…What exactly is happening in this picture and should we all be baking pizza in the nude?

We will return. Perhaps in person.

burrata with leeks and chilies

NYC Pizza Review: Louie and Chan

Don’t worry! I haven’t stopped eating NYC pizza, I’ve just forgotten to write about it recently. But I’m back. And here we go.

Louie and Chan¬†is a cool seasonally-inspired restaurant in Chinatown. And while the menu isn’t Chinese, there are Asian influences throughout the heavily Italian-flavored menu.

The decor was dark and cozy with a definite au current speakeasy-ish vibe in the deep red walls, dark wooden bar, vintage blown glass diner lighting and long banquettes. Apparently there is a DJed lounge beneath, serving up Chinese-inspired cocktails, but we unfortunately did not venture down below.

What was unexpected was that the menu headings were listed in Italian (i.e. Le Paste) and that wood-fired pizzas were heavily featured. Needless to say, I was delighted.

Also because, burrata. Have we discussed my obsession with trying allllll the burratas. I somehow cannot pass it up when offered. Which is pretty much always these days.

For those that don’t know, burrata is a non-aged Italian cheese, generally with a tougher mozzarella-type exterior and a softer ricotta-like interior. It’s pretty much a less-dense ball of mozzarella. Healthy. It is delightful when served with large salt crystals, which is de rigueur.

The cheese was delish, however the slab of sourdough it was served upon was a little tooooo slab-ish. Which is to say rather large and overwhelming to slice.

burrata with leeks and chilies
burrata with leeks and chilies

The pizza we had for the table was the Bacio del Diavola which they are known for: a classic¬†Neapolitan wood-fired crust preparation, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta, chilies, ‘nduja (a spicy salami) and honey.

pizza at Louie and Chan
pizza at Louie and Chan

It was divine. Spicy pork and chilies next to the cool cheese and sweet honey. Yes. I would go back for this. And this time I wouldn’t share it.

Pizza. Yum.

NYC Pizza Review: PizzArte

Pizza Reviews are back!!! 

First up: PizzArte in Midtown

You know I’m all about that standard New York thin crust pizza, and we’ll definitely get there, but you know I also enjoy thin, chewy and crispy (not mutually exclusive in a good pizza) Neapolitan style pies.

On New Year’s Day, we were in the mood for a light pizza, not a cheese-heavy/grease-heavy ordeal, so we got delivery from¬†PizzArte.

Lucky for us that they deliver because we will 100% be making this a regular in the dinner rotation!

So I haven’t been to the actual restaurant, but apparently it’s also an art gallery for modern artwork. Maybe I shouldn’t go for fear of coming home with more than just a pizza.

Mark got the Diavola with spicy salame and I got the Pesto with pine nuts and cherry tomatoes.

Both were delicious and as you can see there were crunchy burnt bits, as well as perfectly chewy crust to be had. Olive oil, mozzarella and sauce were all perfectly portioned. My only qualm was that the cherry tomatoes kept rolling off ~ perhaps they could be chopped up more finely to stick to the cheese better?

pizza
pesto and diavola pizza

Next I’m certainly going to have to try the Margherita or perhaps a calzone. I’m so happy to have found this place early on in our New York lives. It might be my all-around favorite pizza place now!

Overall Rating: Outstanding!

Pizaro’s Pizza: Houston TX

A few weeks ago,¬†my mom, aunt and I went to visit my sister in Houston to work on some of her wedding to-dos (um, yes, cake tasting). ¬†Craving some pizza (obviously), I searched online for Houston’s best pizza, and while many came up, we chose Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana (http://www.pizarospizza.com/), for the sheet fact that we would be driving out towards the burbs rather than into the city on a Saturday night.

It’s a wood-fired brick oven fast casual concept, where you stand in line to order, pay and take a number. And very quickly afterwards (the pizzas only take 90 seconds to cook in a 900 degree oven), your piping hot pizza arrives at the table! ¬†BYOB.

photo 1 The oven is that mosaic dome in the back. It was made in Naples and shipped to the US, according to their website. The guy up front is making dough.

photo 2The interior – not anything spesh, very crowded, very kid friendly.

photo 3

photo 1The dough rounds being prepped for pizza!

Okay, let’s start with the negatives. ¬†It was crowded (a given on a Saturday night in the city that is known for eating out). It was cold – since we couldn’t be picky about where we sat, we grabbed the only available table, which happened to be right underneath a very blowy AC unit. Brr. We scarfed that pizza down – it was cold by the last slice.

The good news: the pizza was really tasty!! Crust that wasn’t soggy and not burnt either – perfect chew, with a few good dough bubbles. (My sister claims I always wanted the slices with the bubbles growing up, but that was actually she.) Fresh ingredients, and the perfect size for a personal pizza. ¬†My sister and I split a classic cheese (always a good baseline) and an arugula and parmesan white pizza. ¬†Both were delish and we demolished most of them before my mom and aunt’s pizza even came out to the table.

photo 3 photo 2The cheese pizza was really more of a Margherita minus the basil.  I was a bit put off by seeing the chef squeeze oozy mozzarella out of what looked to be a giant pastry tube, but it did seem to be quite fresh and milky and tasted like homemade mozzarella. Definitely different than the dry pre-shredded part-skim bagged mozz I get at the store.

All in all, a good choice; I would do carry-out next time though to avoid the shiver.