Showing posts with label Harlem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harlem. Show all posts

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Mi Gente, Slice Harvester Triple Play Is IN THE HOUSE"

- $2.00
1343 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027


Basement Pizza looks like a Dick Tracy comic on the outside and feels like a David Lynch film on the inside.

While sitting in there I witnessed a toddler, sucking on a fountain soda, staring vacantly with those creepy devil-eyes children get when they're oversugared but worn out, stuffing wadded up pieces of paper up his nose and in his mouth and hair. I was only distracted from the demon-trance the kid was putting me into by a guy who came in and tried to sell me a watch.

The guys behind the counter were attentive but distrustful, the kind of demeanor you want in a good pizzaman, or diner proprietor. Because that's the thing about Basement Pizza, it's like, half amazing greasy spoon and half crappy pizzeria. And with that, on to the slice:

The bread was great. The dough was prepared perfectly and tasted delicious. The sauce was a horrid mess, though. Tasted way more like marinara than pizza sauce, if that makes sense. It was super salty and garlicky in a really unpleasant way, which made it way overpowering, so I couldn't even taste the cheese. The crust was good but nothing to write home about.

I want to spend all day hanging out in this place because it's a weird vortex of bizarre shit. However, next time I come, and there will be a next time, I'm gonna get a burger or some eggs or something.


- $2.25
357 W 125th St
New York, NY 10027

By far the worst pizza I've had yet. It sucks to be inside this place and the food sucks even more.

This slice was burnt and dry. It felt like there was no sauce because the sauce had all evaporated during the slice's forty days and forty nights in the pizza oven, but it had left behind an overwhelming amount of crappy sauce flavor. The crust might've been okay if it hadn't been cooked so crappy and the cheese tasted like chemicals. Don't bother with this place.

Funnily enough, as James and I were eating our slice and discussing how disgusting it was, we noticed a sign below the registerthat claimed that "Presidential Pizza was voted the best slice in America on Yahoo." Okay, whatever. But now, scroll up and click on the link I posted up there for the place and look at the reviews.

I have never seen a larger quantity of more poorly written fake reviews in my life! These are an incredible body of work and whoever wrote them should get whatever the equivalent of a Pullitzer is for people who write fake reviews to boost their own business.

"Just thinking about it makes my mouth watered."
"Presidential Pizza has the best pizza in the Universe!"
"NYC has the best
pizza in the planet. Presidential Pizza is the best in NYC."

- $2.25
471 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10037

This place had a really good atmosphere. No tables and just a long counter. They had like, 30 different flavors of fruit punch and the guys behind the counter were really nice. The pizza was weird, though.

Looks decent, adequately greasy and the bread was okay if a little on the bland side and slightly undercooked. I couldn't taste the sauce at all because they cheese tasted WEIRD. Like, it was extra pungent and sharp, didn't taste like mozzarella, although it looked like mozzarella. This is obviously a Halal joint and I am wondering if, like Kosher pizza, Halal pizza necessarily has different ingredients and will never be as good. Thinking back on this slice, I recall it fondly, but I definitely wrote "I DO NOT like this," in my notes from the other day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Slicebun / Pizza Burg / Family Affair: "Hell is for children."

In between Tom's and , we walked by some place called like, Festa Merda or something that was waiter service-only brick oven yuppie town and I made the executive decision not to bother. I'm pretty sure I even said "Heave-ho!" in my best voice. I got no time for yuppie pizza, folks. Although if anyone wants to inform me that the fancy pants, Italian name "brick oven restaurant" ensconced in those couple blocks of Amsterdam that look like Scarsdale is actually a decent slice joint, I will rescind these words and go there and try it out on Thursday. Anyway, Slicebun.

What a weird place. We got there right as a mob of children came in. I don't even mean teenagers, or even fifth graders. I'm talking like, five-year-olds, pretty much the oldest age I will tolerate larval humans until they're like, twenty, but that's really an irrelevant aside. These kids were adorable and were running rampant all over the place. It seems like a popular spot for folks to bring their pups after school, and I'll explain why when I explain the slice, which was huge and cost $2.00.

This pizza had mediocre crust and not nearly enough grease. The cheese tasted fine but was a weird soupy texture, probably because the sauce was too watery and too sweet. The dough wasn't cooked all the way, so the whole thing turned into this nasty-feeling paste in my mouth every time I took a bite. Here is what James said about it:
"It's not bad."
"This tastes like pizza in California."
And as we got towards the crust, "I can't believe this, but it's actually getting wetter."

Despite the crummy review, this pizza made me really happy because it reminded me of going to Rye Playland or like, the ice skating rink when I was a kid. I feel like I ate this exact pizza on a boardwalk as a child or at like, a carnival or something. Here's the thing, man: this pizza is perfect for children because it has no texture and barely any flavor but is slightly sweet. As my friend might say, "this is kid stuff."

Pizza Burg
1302 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tom's Delicious Pizza: "Holy shit, wow."

I feel like it's happening more and more that I'm not finding my perfect slice, but I am finding someone's perfect slice. Such is the case with .

This place looks great and it feels fantastic to be in here. It sits just South of 125th St on Broadway, so while you're listening to the sounds of the pizza oven and the crappy radio station playing Waterfalls by TLC, you also hear the occasional El train clackety-clack by through the wide open doors. The place looks perfect, but when I saw the pizza, my heart sank. It looked like a cheesy mess. Horrifying. But I paid my $2.00 and ordered my slice.

When it came out of the oven, it looked a lot better, but still totally not my style.

This slice looks like it has too much cheese on it, because it does. But I bit into it, and good god, it was fucking fantastic. I'm talking, like, ultimate, incredible slice status. I am not usually into a heavily cheesy slice, y'all know that. I talk about perfect ratios all the time, because such ratios do exist, but sometimes there's a slice that breaks the paradigm and blows up all the preconceptions you spend all day unconsciously walking around with.

The ingredients were all TOP quality. The cheese, heaped on bountifully, was delicious and fresh tasting. The dough had risen plenty, was thrown out perfectly (but not too) thin, the sauce was understated and delicious, slightly sweet, slightly tart, didn't dominate the slice.

Ultimately it was too much cheese, so I pulled some of it off, set it aside, and spread the remaining cheese out evenly over the rest of the slice (much to the chagrin of friend James, who looked at my grubby mitts pawing at every inch of cheese left on the slice we were sharing and sighed, "you just gonna rub your hands all over the whole thing?"). As such, when I got to the crust, which was PERFECT--crispy and dark brown on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside, slightly salty--I wrapped a portion of the remaining cheese around some of the crust, a treat second only to wrapping excess pepperoni slices around your slice's heel.

This place has incredible pizza. If you're a pizza lover and are going to find yourself up at 125th and Broadway, you should save yourself some room for a slice at Tom's.

Tom's Delicious Pizza
3161 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Sunday, September 20, 2009

La Palma Restaurant & Pizzeria: "It's like how you don't go to a tattoo shop that sells bongs."

On Friday my friend James met me at my apartment early in the afternoon to head up to Harlem and help me finish eating all the slices of pizza available above 125th st. In preparation for a full day of pizza eating, neither of us had eaten breakfast. As we rode the subway up to 137th and Broadway, we were both pretty loopy, getting hungrier and hungrier. We got out of the train and walked over to Amsterdam, both of us dying for a slice when we saw .

Pretty much without fail, pizzerias that serve anything besides pizza, pasta, heros and calzones have shitty pizza. If you can get tacos, pupusas, borscht, fried chicken, or sushi in the same place as a slice of pizza, your slice will probably blow, (although funnily enough, availability of or is oftentimes a sign to the contrary). Regarding this rule, La Palma as no exception.

Even though I had a terrible feeling when I looked at the pizza behind the counter and saw the EXTENSIVE menu of non-pizzeria-related foods, I got my slice anyway, because I am a man on a mission, like Rambo. And like Rambo, I know that sometimes you have to overcome an obstacle to achieve a goal. So I paid my $2.00 and was handed this piece of crap:

The top of the slice looks like , a sign that it had been sitting out all day, not being sold, because no one wants it. If it were a puppy or an orphan you might feel bad for it and learn to love it for all it's foibles, but when it comes to pizza, popularity is actually really important.

The cheese on this slice tasted like chemicals. The sauce tasted like canned pureed tomatoes with nothing added. The dough tasted like pillsbury and was way too dense because no one gave it time to rise. The crust was totally undercooked and sucked.

However, this place isn't all bad. They have $0.75 hotdogs, and you can get two slices and a fountain soda for $4.00. Granted it's two shitty slices, but that's still a deal.

As we were walking to the next pizzeria, I said to James, "I almost feel less satisfied than I was before I ate anything."
And he was all, "Yeah, man. The gnawing pangs of hunger in my guts were totally preferable to whatever's going on in there now... Hey, I was wondering, could you tell before we got there that it was gonna be mediocre because it said Restaurant and Pizzeria?"
"Well," I mused, "there is usually a correlation, although Pizzeria Restaurants tend to be awesome. But yeah, most times when a place serves non-pizzeria food as well as pizza, the pizza stinks."
"Right," he nodded in agreement, "like how you don't go to a tattoo shop that sells bongs."

La Palma Restaurant & Pizzeria
1502 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 1003

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Paul's Pizza: "It's like when your best friend plays in a really good emo band."

is a shining beacon of authenticity in an otherwise barren wasteland of crappy posers, like in a or hanging out at . That's a little bit histrionic, on both accounts, but seriously, the place looks for real.

I don't need to explain why that storefront appeals to me, right? That storefront appeals to everybody but weird fancy-pants fuddy duddies who use descriptive adjectives like, "that looks poor" pejoratively. And I don't need to remind you about Slice Harvester's official stance on fancy-pantses, do I? I will anyway: fuck those people.

I digress. The place looked amazing. I need to get a decent camera, I think because I tried to take some pictures of the inside but the lighting and my camera-phone just didn't want to get along. This place is really a sight to behold. It's not dirty, but it's comfortably worn in, like your Grandfather's fedora. Still suitable to wear to synagogue, but you can tell it's got history.

I ordered my slice, it was an even $2.00, which was a pleasant surprise after the last few places, especially considering how big it was, and brought it back to the table to be subjected to everyone's judgmental gaze.

Anyone who has been following this blog with any regularity will immediately notice that this slice is a lot more golden, and a lot less golden-brown, than I prefer. I noticed everyone at the table notice, watching them wait with trepidation for me to weigh in after my first bite. I remained stoically silent, though, and passed the slice along, as I didn't want to influence their judgments. After everyone had tried the slice, they started to weigh in one by one. "This slice is way bigger than I like... but it's so good," was the general consensus. And I agree. Not necessarily my perfect slice, but this is someone's perfect slice. This shit is great.

This slice is huge, and thick. There is way more dough than I would want in my ideal piece of pizza, but the dough is airy and light, like a pretzel or good bagel, and the ratios are consistent. There is ample sauce and cheese to match the dough but not too much or too little of either, and the ingredients are all of spectacular quality. You can tell there's a lot of history and love in this pizza, not to mention, it is a TON of food for two bucks. Josh reached some kind of higher plane of transcendental meditation eating the crust.

This slice of pizza is like when your best friends play in a band you don't like that's getting moderately popular. Maybe you don't want to go see them all the time, but you totally understand the appeal, even if it doesn't appeal to you. And they're such great people that you're just like, "awesome, I'm glad this touches someone in a real way, even if that someone's not me."

Paul's Pizza
3409 Broadway
New York, NY 10031
UPDATE 4/1/11: According to Kevin Yankou, "Paul's Pizza is now Olga's Pizza. I think most of the old staff is still working there and they still make a great slice (though they no longer offer meatball, which kinda sucks)." There you go. Come out, drink some beers or seltzer waters or whatever, dance a little if you like, watch me run from the DJ booth to the sidewalk to suck down half a cigarette in the span of a 2 minute song 30 times. You know, typical Friday night.


And I'd just like to remind everyone about my DJ party at on Friday. It should be a good time. I've moved the flier from Tuesday's post to this one so it won't be repetitive. Just in case you were wondering, which I'm sure you weren't.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pizza Double Feature: P & M Classic Pizzeria / Pizza Plaza

- $2.50
1747 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10031

This place is HILARIOUS. The seating area, to the right when you walk in, is like, a shallow, fake porch, with booths underneath it. And then mounted along the wall, one for every booth, is a little, tiny diorama of another fake porch. The porch-themed decor was especially funny having just come from which simply looked like someone's front porch. Everyone was pretty enamored by the wingnut decorating, but not enamored enough to make this crap pizza taste good:

Even though looking at that picture right now is making me hungry, I know I wouldn't be satisfied if I ate it. Check out the way the cheese looks like a layer as thick as the bread with the sauce poking out like a sandwich at the very tip. Woof. Feed this pizza to your pet. Seriously, the whole slice was way too thick and wet, as well as many other sexually suggestive adjectives. The sauce was too chunky and too sweet. While a little texture in your pizza sauce isn't a fault, the amount of tomato chunks on this slice was egregious. "It's like they made pizza lasagna," was Josh's comment.

Regarding the crust, Meredith had this to say:
"Worst crust ever. It's practically tasteless, but still coating my mouth with gross flavor." I don't think there's really much I can add to that.

Even though the pizza was assembled poorly, the ingredients were not cheap. The cheese tasted good and fresh and the tomatoes in the sauce would've been delicious on a pasta, which leads me to think that P & M may not be where you want to go for a slice, but they would have .


- $2.25
3618 Broadway
New York, NY 10031

I promise this will never happen again, but I forgot to photograph the slice here! Honestly, though, I was under a lot of stress. My wife had been on my ass about picking up this thing from the dry cleaner's, and my kid had just won a gold metal at this Science Fair or something and there was this dinner I was supposed to go to, but it was the same night as the first Jets game, and like, they were talking about giving me a promotion at work, but that would mean doing more, and right now all I do is get paid to email with chicks on Adult Friend Finder, which is pret-ty sweet, huh? But like, I was feeling really insecure in bed because my wife had been making more money than me and it had been effecting my... you know... boners.

Anyway, I had a lot going on and I forgot to photograph ONE GODDAMN SLICE. IS THAT REALLY THE END OF THE FRICKIN WORLD? SUE ME. God I hate you people.

The pizza here: Bread was fine, sauce was great, cheese tasted like sanitizer, crust was bland.

Overall rating: BOOOOOOOO!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lupita Pizzeria: "Possibly parve pizza?"

Here's the thing about , it's really cool looking.

The awning is maybe nothing exceptional, but once you're inside, there's a rickety handmade screen door and a weird counter and no tables and the whole place is like, the size of my bathroom. Too bad the pizza sucked.

Meredith was "slightly unsettled" by the way the crust met the pizza. After our first round of bites she exclaimed, "that's the crispiest pizza I ever had. it's like a cracker!" It wasn't crispy in a good way, either. It felt like when my orthodox friends parents used to make Matzo pizzas for a snack during Passover. Seriously shitty.

This slice was so garlicky, super dry, and it seems like the dough never rose at all. I want to make some kind of joke about it being cooked on the backs of people shlepping through the desert, but I guess I made that joke already. In short, there is nothing good to say about this slice.

However, if you're looking to move, the block that this pizzeria is on is beautiful and everybody that lived on it was super nice and started up conversations with us!

Lupita Pizzeria
26 Macombs Pl
New York, NY 10039


Much like half the residents of Brooklyn who have blogs, I sometimes DJ at bars. As it happens, I'll be DJing at this coming Friday. I figured I might try and make it a Slice Harvester related event because this bar GIVES OUT FREE PIZZAS! Mind you, it's not the best pizza in the world, but of the number of Pizza Bars located in North Brooklyn, this one is by far the best. Also, what kind of pizza lover is gonna complain about a bar that gives you a free tiny pizza with every beer? That shit rules. The bartenders are super sweet, and I play really good music, too, so it'll be fun times.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

King's Pizza of Harlem: "So close, and yet so far."

This week's pizza mission was especially exciting to me, because it involved my triumphant reunion with the inimitable Josh Ferguson, who I hadn't seen since last July when he went West out of Montreal and me and Good Kid Paulie went South. I knew Josh was a stand up guy a couple years ago when I first met him. The cops showed up to a house he was living at to arrest my bandmate, and everyone in the house bolted up the doors and hid under their beds. Fair enough. If I lived in a house that already had a tenuous relationship with local law enforcement, I wouldn't be too happy that some jerkoffs from Brooklyn had just attracted the pigs to the crib AGAIN, and I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to help those jerks out. But that's because I'm not Josh. That guy sat outside with me on the porch while we waited for homeboy to talk his way out of trouble, (which my bandmate did with a grace and charm that is unparalleled). Suffice to say, when the occasion to travel with Josh arose last summer, I jumped at it and it's a decision I don't regret. Since then, we've managed to just barely miss each other all over the country over and over again, so I sure as shit was super excited to be seeing that bastard after not having run into him for a little over a year.

My pal Meredith, front person of the most excellent , bartender at , and one of my best friends, was my planned pizza partner for the day, and suggested, when she found out that Josh was in town, that we invite him along with us. Which was an excellent idea, because Josh was on his way back from working some weird kitchen job at a resort in Maine (q: was it like Dirty Dancing?! a: yeah, sorta, I guess...) with his friend Thunderbolt, who also worked the job, and the two of them had some fantastic insights and excellent appetites having been deprived of pizza for a few months.

After a track fire held us up in the subway, (which was obviously the work of hooligans, and which I assured our out of town pals was definitely no reflection on Our City's Fine Public Transit System, a curse on you if you besmirch it's name), we arrived in Harlem and practically stumbled out of the subway entrance to the first pizza place, .

And this place, oh boy! We got there right after school let out, which would've been hell for me if I was in a bad mood, but I was reunited with an old pal, hanging with a best friend, making a new friend and eating pizza, so nothing could , if you will. Instead, the packs of kids in uniforms shouting and horsing around just endeared the pizzeria to me. Plus, as soon as I walked in the guy behind the counter was like, "Get a good picture?" in a that ambiguous way that older New York guys talk that makes it impossible to distinguish whether it is friendly or threatening.

I ordered my slice, forked over my $2.25, and nearly plotzed. I don't know what the literary equivalent is of leaning over and telling you something mundane under my breath in a way that makes it seem like I'm letting you in on some big secret, but this fuckin slice seemed PERFECT.

Seriously, so good looking. Generally on pizza missions we share slices, in order to maximize the number of pizzerias we can hit in one day, but truth be told, I wanted this slice all to myself, so I told everyone, "listen, if we're all gonna get our own slice anywhere, this just might be the place." Josh got up and ordered slices for himself and Thunderbolt, but Meredith didn't buy it. "I'll see what you say when you take your first bite." So I dug in. And before I could even weigh in with my assessment, she was like, "Oh! The Crunch! I heard it!" and ran over to the counter to order her own.

The bummer thing is that the slice wasn't all as good as the crust, which was perfect, by the way. It took a little while to figure out what was wrong, because the slice was like, 75% totally right on, in general. The sauce was a little too sweet for my tastes, though no one else complained about that, but there was a funny aftertaste that no one could put their hands on for a while until I was like, "it tastes like really cheap cheese," and everyone concurred. If King's is skimping on the cheese, I can understand, these are tough economic times, and all, and the slice is still totally decent and above average overall. But if this cheese wasn't so crummy, King's would have a perfect slice.

King's Pizza of Harlem - $2.25
110 W 145th St
New York, NY 10039
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