You probably know that I’m comprehensive about great New York pizza. Everyone who owns my Real Pizza app deserves the best! I only had about 8 bookmarks left for Staten Island, so on my personal day off from work, I tried to knock as many out as possible.
One of my best pizza-finding techniques is that I’m gullible. I went too far this time though, because it looks like the review which turned me on to my first stop was a 5-star yelp barely about the pizza. I got a little trigger happy on the bookmark feature.
Angie’s Pizza (1377 Bay Street) was just about regular, with a bit of character because it’s old. It was basically a waste of stomach space for me. There was something positive from the trip, however — I posted a picture of the sign on my friend Angie’s Facebook wall….
I rode down the boardwalk, where it was nice to realize all the wharfs off the beach. I then briefly checked in with my sentimental and everlasting favorite, Salvatore of Soho, before heading to my 2nd bookmark, Pronto Pizzeria (337 New Dorp Ln).
Just to get it off my chest, it’s a mini-chain. There are four locations, all which have the signs and layout formula pretty much down pat. Although staffed by a good percentage of teenagers (which probably bring in more traffic), it wasn’t a bad slice at all: good cheese, crust and grease. But again, it wasn’t worth the stomach space with what I knew were some heavy hitters to come…
From here, I had to cross to the other half of the island, with the task of riding a bicycle through Latourette Park which is basically impossible. This makes it 2 years in a row that I had to give up my pride and get off my bike to walk it up the hill. The incline must hit 45 degrees at some points. I probably should have taken a picture. well, here’s a ascii drawing: /
The 3rd stop was Soho Pizza Factory (77 Richmond Hill Rd), and I was already losing hunger from the riding, heat, and eaten slices. Here, I got the Sicilian, which last year Sal promised me was going to destroy every other one currently on the market. It pretty much did… It was fluffy, yet structurally intact, and the sauce on top of the cheese hit on all the right cylinders. I wanted to try the scfincione slice, the vodka slice, and the margherita, but I could only damn the prior 2 slices and my near future because I had at least 2 more places to go to with already limited stomach real estate.
Sharkey’s Square (1475 Richmond Ave) was next on the list. I visited the first location when the opened over a year ago and loved it. This location opened not long after, and it appears that they are now putting together a little empire. Also, on Forest Avenue, they just opened the “Square” Sandwich Shop – with more Square alterations to come. Pretty cool.
The Square’s slice isn’t for everyone. I’d say it’s even more polarizing than L&B’s. The sauce is way tart, but I dig it because it’s different. Just like at the original, they use these gnarly looking big black bakers ovens. I love that.
At the beginning of the day, I was looking forward to Soho Factory and Sharkey’s Square the most, with this 5th slice place as sort of an also-ran on the itinerary. In the end, it was a surprising winner.
At first glance, La Piazza (1445 Richmond Ave) can get pretty exciting. They have the biggest selection of specialty slices I have ever scene, and possibly the best looking too. Fried calamari, vodka slices, and even the whole wheat pizza looked good. At this point in the day, I was at a point where if I had any more tomato sauce I was gonna throw up, so I had a chicken francese slice… and it was awesome. The chicken weren’t lame slices, they seemed like pulled chunks, battered and created like one of the island’s great Franceses, fighting back the pizza fat with lemon juice. This heavy slice was a meal, substituting pasta with a tasteful oily pizza crust.
They had these beautiful, bulbous looking pepperoni rolls as well.
And check out the pizza folk art inside, totally weird. I love that.
The last place on my list, a possible hit, was Nucci’s Restaurant (616 Forest Ave). It was a proper sit-down place where a pie would end up costing $15, plus there was no way I could fit it safely in my stomach. I had to say goodbye.
Along the way, I saw lots of pizzerias potentially housing a great slice; Places with aged walls, aged clientele, and wafting smells of oregano. It’s a little sad for me, to leave them be, and approach a reality where there are only so many slices I approach. It’s becoming acceptable to consider the fact that I’ll never taste a better slice than those at Di Fara’s or Sal of Soho. And just as I see lots of cute cat-faced Italian girls behind the pizza counters, I know that I can’t kiss them all. And I can’t try every slice. I think I’m good with that.