Posted by: Jeffsayyes | April 19, 2011

Hylan Tour of Pizza – Staten Island – Not John John’s, Il Pomodoro, Nunzio’s, Domenico’s, LaRocca’s

This is a recovered manuscript from last year’s pizza tour explorations. Some of the descriptions are raw, but maybe that’s not so bad to read it like that.

Hylan Blvd is the Pizza Capital of the world, forget Old Forge. On one stretch of 1.3 miles, you can visit Trattoria Romano, Goodfellas, Salvatore of Soho, The Square, and Nunzio’s. Bleeker Street might just be beat. Hylan is long and there are many more pizzerias along the boulevard, even the ones I went to on this exploration were either on it or just off it too.

Il Pomodoro – 895 Huguenot Ave
I wanted to go to John John’s pizza, because I heard hints of greatness (maybe it was this on Urbanspoon). It’s 3/4 of the way down the island, so to get off to an early start, I took the train to the ferry, then the SIR (free transfer if you enter 2 hours from your entrance into the subway system) to Huegenot.

SIR (2)

It turns out John John’s is gone, replaced with a pizzeria holding up a huge sign that reads BEST CRUST. These signs are usually tells of just a couple of levels above mediocrity, if any. I knew it wouldn’t be the best, but I figured it was something worth checking out, so I went in.

il pomodoro (12)

il pomodoro (7)

il pomodoro (3)

il pomodoro (10)

While Il Pomodoro certainly suffer the drawbacks from chaining themselves (3 locations in Staten Island, 3 in Jersey), it’s still a great slice – Staten Island style. This pizza gives reason to scoff at every other borough. It represents well.

notes:
airy crust, not dense.
all the specialty pies looked great.
busy place, there must be a school nearby b/c it was buzzing with teenagers.
floppy. cheese tastes like a mall slice.
floured. extremely thin. sweet sauce
dollops like fresh mozzarella, but I bet it’s not. Is it more like an imitation? plenty of sauce.
why am I so averse to multiple locations? I just think an owner should always be present. that’s all. If I had a business, I wouldn’t trust anyone not blood to run it.

Nunzio’s – 2155 Hylan Blvd
This pizza is….. AWESOME!

Everything about this pie is remarkable in the neighborhood slice sense, especially their bright sauce and thick, gooey, slightly sour, non-uniform cheese. Even the thin, floured crust is notable. The counter is small and fun – making it nearly impossible not to be involved in conversation. It used to be open air to the outside, but the Department of Health doesn’t play that way anymore. Bring crowds to the restaurant through the back.

nunzios (15)

nunzios (12)

nunzios (14)

nunzios (6)

nunzios (9)

Domenico’s – 3295-3 Amboy Rd
This old-fashioned style pizza – Nonna’s, Il Pomodoro, Domenico’s… They don’t do it like this in the other boroughs. If any did early last year, they would have made the tour (check out the new Rubirosa courtesy SE).

domenicos (2)

Every slice looks great here, but my basis is the regular slice. Grande cheese is the standard; which is a reliable way to show the public you make a good pie. Thick sauce and decades of char on the bottom. The end crust crumbles apart in your mouth, releasing the oven smoke to your throat. That’s the best part of the slice, even taking attention away from the cheese.

It’s a polished place – pretty, respectable, with men behind the counter. I always think it’s so interesting how, for some pizzerias, grown men are the workers – not punk kids. Pretty cool to be able to pay a grown man’s salary.

Most NYers don’t know it, but Staten island is the fasting growing county in the US. If you walk around the Island, you’ll notice new construction everywhere. People are flocking here. Do you think it’s the crust?

domenicos (6)

domenicos (9)

domenicos (8)

domenicos (11)

LaRocca’s Italian Ices and Pizzeria – 489 Midland Avenue
LaRocca’s is definitely a remarkable stop. If you are going to try 16 pizzerias on Staten Island, this should be one of them.

la roccas (3)

It’s an irregular set-up. As you enter, one side is for Italian ices and the other is for pizza. It feels like they are just working with what they got.

The Sicilian slice is the standout. Excellent dough. You can taste the grain in each bite. It’s not gelatinous like L&B, but still a favorite amongst the squares – not comparable to anything in NYC. Their menu attributes this to a “special blend of eight-grain, bromate-free flour, whole wheat flour, white flour and oat bran.” I don’t know how they figured this out, but it works.

Coming in here feels like camp. It’s clearly a converted house, and nothing is perfect. Everyone seems out of place and temporary. You can eat outside on the benches at the camp next-door (go figure) or in the dining room.

la roccas (7)

la roccas (8)

la roccas (10)

It’s an ultimate homestyle slice.

On the menu, it says, “we don’t charge tax – we collect it” — what the hell does this mean??

staten island ferry (19)

Nunzio’s, Domenico’s, and La Rocca’s are all on the Real Pizza of New York iPhone app. It’s my guide to the realest, illest pizza in NYC. Staten Island is awesome and I want more of it this summer.

Links:
Staten Island Pizza Tour 2010 (Sal of Soho, Trattoria Romano, Nunzio’s)
SI Pizza Tour Bonus Round (Nonna’s)
Staten Island Railway (SIR)


Responses

  1. The pics look good. The pizza does look delicious. By using fresh ingredients you can never go wrong. Good Job – Ken.

  2. I cannot wait to get back to SI for more good pizza in good weather.

  3. As a native SI’er who now lives in NJ (via Miami and Delaware), I think I may have to visit a few of these places!!

    “we don’t charge tax – we collect it” – I think they mean they collect the tax from you, then give it to the state. Most people (esp long ago) might think when you pay tax, you are giving it to the proprietors, and they benefit – so maybe they were getting lots of complaints about the high tax, and felt they wanted to defend themselves.


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