the pie

I don’t know how many people I’ve steered towards Lombardi’s but of all of those folks, it’s been the West Coasters who have poo poo’d my idea of New York’s best pizza pie. I’m not exactly sure why. “The pizza at <insert hometown pizzeria here> is much better.” “The pepperoni at <insert chain restaurant here> is bigger.” “They give you more cheese at <insert mega-pizzeria here>.” Not only do I disagree, but bad boy chef, Anthony Bourdain disagrees as well and has stated in his latest book – The Nasty Bits, that Lombardi’s is the best in Manhattan. (Although his favorite is the white clam pie, the thought of which just makes me want to cringe.)

Last night, after spending the day at The Met (where one of my favorite exhibits – The American Wing, is still closed), we were starved. It was pouring, during an unseasonably warm and wet mid-winter day, about 61 degrees but we trudged forth to SoHo. Lombardi’s was packed, as usual, but we resigned ourselves to waiting outside in the rain, while the scents coming from the warmth of the brick oven inside wafted to the now coldness of the sidewalk, torturing all of us poor souls patiently waiting. 25 minutes later, we were sitting down, ready to experience New York’s finest.

We almost finished our (first) glass of chianti when the pizza arrived and it looked and smelled as good as I’ve always remembered. Toasted and thin crusted though slightly thicker around the perimeter just enough to hold the accouterments in, scads of 1” round slices of pepperoni concaved to seemingly emulate the pizza itself, juicy mushrooms playing in bubbling mozzarella as white as cumulus nimbus clouds and slivers of fresh basil for good measure.

I went through my usual Lombardi’s pizza eating routine – I knife off about 1-1/2” of the tip and fork that piece straight into my mouth – love at first bite. I then fold the pizza – tip end to thick end and finish the slice off like an Italian taco. Sure, it’s got a little bit of grease, but it’s damn good grease like you only can get from pepperoni and cheese but yet the crust stays crispy and holds up well.

 

Chicago has their thick crust, San Francisco has their designer pizza, and Los Angeles has their Number Unos, but New York has, hands down, the best of the best.

when the moon hits your eye

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