So on our recent trip to Brooklyn, we assigned ourselves the task to discover the truth about New York pizza. We started by setting our sights on two pizzerias considered by many sources to be among the best: Lucali’s and Grimaldi’s.
Both pizzas were excellent. And yes, it turns out that our own Bridges Brick Oven pizza is definitely in the same category as these: the fresh mozzarella, the thin crust slightly charred in spots from the brick oven, the toppings that move past the usual pepperoni or sausage. But none of these is the pizza of my memory, the pizza I always associated with “New York style”: thin crust with a puffy edge, topped with shredded mozzarella (and rarely anything else, certainly not artichokes or broccoli or chicken), and floppy enough to fold in half. And when you held it vertically from the crust, it would drip a significant amount of oil and the cheese would slide off.
Well, I was glad to discover this pizza does still exist. It’s sold by the slice by many pizzerias throughout the city, and we managed to sneak in a few slices for a quick lunch one day (yes, we ate a lot of pizza this trip). So I guess this means that New York style pizza has some significant variations. In the same way that there is more than one way to make Chicago deep dish pizza, there’s more than one kind of authentic NY pizza. And yes, these days it’s likely to be sporting a wider variety of toppings, some leaves of fresh basil, and the slices of fresh mozzarella instead of shredded, but the crust underneath is still thin, the edge still puffy, and it’s still best eaten right out of the pizza oven, with the cheese hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth.
I’d be interested in hearing what New Yorkers (current and former) consider to be the hallmarks of authentic New York style pizza. Comments, anyone?
First stop, Lucali's. That's their pie at the top, and here's the brick oven:
Next stop, Grimaldi's, right under the Brooklyn Bridge. They're famous for their coal-fired brick oven.