Posted by: Jeffsayyes | April 20, 2011

Mid Island to South Shore Staten Island Exploratory Pizza Tour – Gino’s, Nonna’s, Villa Monte, Valducci’s

Here’s another lost diary from the Pizza Tour Explorations

We took a caravan to explore Staten Island. I had dreams of an overnight expedition, camping out in the random badlands of SI, but it wasn’t an adventure to be had this time. I’m trying to get into the uncovered pizza areas of this borough, which basically means past Joe & Pats, Goodfellas, Denino’s and Sal’s. I know Tottenville must have some exceedingly passionate food, but as of today, it’s still eluding me (Gentile’s is closed).

From our first moments at the first stop, Nonna’s, I knew it would be hard to beat. This is a pie that seems like it can only be found on Staten Island. And everything under the glass seemed like another layer of amazing slices.

Nonna’s, 27 Brower Ct
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Nonna’s has consistently excellent slices across the board. Every slice was doable and probably top-tier. Overall, one of my favorite pizzerias in the city.
They advertise is as an Old Fashioned Pizzeria, and though I cannot attest to what pizza was like in the 40s, this is definitely something that is not found in any new pizza shop. The regular slice has a smoky crust, sweet sauce and generously cheesy. One highlight was the bruschetta slice. Usually a thick slice like this is hardened and dry, but this was outstanding from its chopped tomatoes and onions on top, to the melted mozzarella trickling into its buttery crust.

Also of note is it’s rotating oven. I have only seen these in Staten Island and Staten Island offspring (Rubirosa). Every pie I’ve had from one has been awesome. Nonna’s has got to be on your list of exploration. And if you live nearby, you are an isolated but lucky dude.

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Valducci’s, 4369 Amboy Road
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The Under New Management sign is never promising.
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The square slice was flavorful, with the sweet sauce lending itself to the cheese. And the regular slice looked nice, especially from the view of the bottom crust, but unfortunately was better in the pictures than in the mouth. Goodbye Valducci’s.
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Ciro, 862 Huguenot Avenue
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Great looking end crust – I was looking forward to it from the beginning of my slice. Smooth sauce, cheesy, saucy. It’s almost a perfect pie. We’re in the same style as Totonno’s here, with more precision – it seems like there’s a science to it.
Factoid: From the brother of Joe & Pat’s.

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Gino’s Villa Monte, 2811 Richmond Avenue
The pan pizza is where it’s at. Unfortunately for them/me, the 5-Boro Pizza Tour is only concerned with the regular slice. We do it this way because the premium slices are too easy and likable. I’ve rarely had a margherita slice that was terrible. Most are great – and that’s the problem. The reason why there is such a need for exploration of a slice is because not every slice is good. They can’t doctor their pies to create the illusion of something excellent. With this tour, we go the basest pizza. I’ve had a ton of crap pizza, and that’s fine, it’s the perils of truth.

But let’s give that pan pizza it’s due. In particular the chicken slice. No sauce, the fat from the cheese soaks into the dough. All of the pan pies that day were irresistible to order and appreciated by all. I peeked a look at the regular slice and thought our time would best be spent enjoying ourselves with a guaranteed great slice, and not concern them with future possibilities.

They have stuffed pies too. Check this out: Roman Pie (potato, sausage, pepperoni, onions & cheese). This thing was packed with spud. I didn’t get it, but I imagine it to be similar to the pizza skins at Pizzeria Uno.

It’s a small Island. There’s been some drama between the pizza shops of Gino’s Villa Monte, Villa Monte and Via Ponte. I’m still ironing out the gossip, but you can see the similarities in name.

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Links:
Slice – Is chicken an appropriate pizza topping?
2 short yelp reviews of Nonna’s


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