Thursday, April 7, 2011
is a nice looking place, don't get me wrong, and the staff are nice, but it is a total poser tourist trap. Maybe maybe maybe maybe MAYBE the pastas and stuff are good, but the pizza here is bogus and for some reason, even though the slice ended up being $2.50, I just felt like I was about to get ripped off. Like when you visit another country and you go to a restaurant that looks like it's cute and cheap and then it turns out that it's expensive and not very good and then you realize it doesn't even look cute and cheap and then you feel like a dickhead. Not that this place WAS that, it just reminded me of that.
I shouldn't have to say much about this slice if you are looking at the same picture as me. It was so hot it burned my mouth but the cheese still hadn't melted all the way, which means it is made of some foreign substance other than dairy. It was totally bland and WAY too salty at the same time. The sauce was like, this dry, flavorless paste and there was no grease to speak of so I felt like I was eating the desert. The crust was doughy and disgusting. This shit was just no good. Don't bother.
Rudy's Pizza & Restaurant - $2.50
174 Hester St (Mott & Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
has a great looking exterior. It's really a beautiful place, and you can tell there is a lot of love and devotion here. And a lot of care. Upon walking inside, the place is warm and homey. It feels good in there, and it feels like the people care. Then me and Martin noticed this newspaper clipping pasted to the wall:
It's an article about famous national villain George W Bush visiting New York City in the wake of September 11th, and it contains the following circled portion:
Among those who strongly felt Bush ought to come back to New York more regularly were the owners of Sal's pizza shop on Broome Street, which prepared the firehouse luncheon.And then we looked around and noticed that the same article was photocopied and posted over every single table!
"If he came back a couple more times it would do wonders for the city," said Pete Arnone, a relative of the owners and the guy who keeps the books at Sal's. "His presence is saying, 'It's safe. We need to stimulate business.' If he starts coming back then a lot of other people will start coming back."
Business at Sal's, which dropped 70 percent in the week after the attacks, was back to its normal level yesterday, Arnone said.
The man who made the five presidential pizzas yesterday was Francesco Triolo. "An FBI agent was watching me the whole time I was doing it," he said, still beaming with pride later in the day. "He was a very nice guy, but he didn't let his eyes off for a minute. It was the first time I made pizzas under surveillance."
I don't really like that too much, to be honest. When I think of George Bush and pizza, I prefer the guy who ran into a pizza place and a few years ago. (Presuming, of course, that that guy wasn't an anti-Semite. Not that everyone who thinks a Zionist political stance is problematic is anti-Semitic, but the lines are blurry enough that I felt the need to disclaim.) There is something that totally unsettled me and made me feel a little bit like I was supping with the enemy or whatever.
But then I was just like, "you know, fuck it." Like, the other day I noticed a sign at my mailbox place that said, "TEA: TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY" and that shit is patently stupid, but I'm not gonna stop getting my mail there and I'm not going to stop thinking that the couple who run the place are nice people just because they disagree with me. I think this is an easy thing that most people grasp when they are really young, that you can disagree with people about something but they can still be okay people. But I have been REALLY PUNK for a long time, and as many people know, punx are a small and insular culture who are wary of outsiders, which is why so many of them feel comfortable living in Hassidic neighborhoods.
I can say with 100% honesty, that growing up in the punk scene and investing my whole self in it, at the expense of everything else in my life, at a very young age, netted me so many positive experiences, a loving and supportive community, and a self of self-assurance in my abilities that many people I know who didn't come out of punk rock lack. That shit is awesome! I think it also led me to make a ton of really poor decisions and to believe in a bunch of total crap because it seemed cool. Remember CrimethINC? That shit is fucked on so many levels!
Ugh, anyway, I guess my point is that even though this place had newspaper articles that mentioned GW Bush in it, it didn't bother me that much, even though I felt like it should bother me. Whatever, maybe I will elaborate on this another time, it's late.
This slice had the same audible crunch of Ray's, without any of the disappointment. They use quality ingredients here at Sal's, and they know how to make a good slice. Apparently this place has been here under the same ownership since the late 70s, so maybe they still make pizza with care and skill like they used to. There was plenty of grease and great ratios. The bottom had this burnt flavor that requires the most delicate skill to achieve and the crust tasted delicious and had an excellent texture. All in all, despite my possible political indignation, this was a great slice and maybe the last decent pizzeria in Little Italy.
Sal's - $2.50
369 Broome St (Elizabeth & Mott)
New York, NY 10012
Monday, April 4, 2011
is a worthless shithole. Walking into this place is like walking into some shitty college sports bar in New Brunswick, NJ. Sometimes when you play a show in New Brunswick they take you to these places to eat before the show and you are surrounded by like, The Rape Culture in the form of the kind of frat guys that Dead Milkmen/Dead Kennedys songs are about. And you start wondering what the hell they are thinking living in this shit city. But then the show happens and New Brunswick is like, the most fun place in the Northeast to play a basement show besides Worcester and you realize that the price you have to to have these houses and excited kids and fun shows is that you have to live in the epicenter of the Patriarchy. And then you start thinking that maybe there's a thing about awesome punk scenes can only happen when they are an antagonist to like, some dominant shitty culture. Which is the root of the ultimately flawed and unsustainable nature of punk as a utopian culture. Because like, there is this thing that happens when there isn't a shitty college frat culture or like, lame rednecks or an oppressive police force where punk scenes turn into garage rock scenes, which are just punk scenes with none of the good politics. Whatever, this place was a bummer, do you get that?
This slice had a good crunch and that's it. The sauce tasted like Elio's. The cheese was crap. There was no grease. The slice wasn't hot enough. The crust was bland. My notes say, "tastes gross. I'm disgusted." Martin said, "it seems kind of dusty." And he's right. This is like a ghost town in your mouth. There is a barren emptiness in the spectrum of flavors from this slice. Holy crap, what a waste of time.
Pomodoro Restaurant & Pizzeria - $2.85
51 Spring St (Mulberry & Lafayette)
New York, NY 10012
Friday, April 1, 2011
After the total disaster that was Lombardi's, me and Marty were ready for all of the worst possible outcomes of eating at another "historic pizza parlor." This time we were at , which is the oldest pizzeria bearing that moniker, and is also the most famous. So really, this place should be called Famous Original Ray's and the entire FOR chain should change their name to Nondescript Replicant Ray's.
This place is kind of dire. There is no music, which can be a good thing at times, but you can hear a certain amount of hopelessness in the clanking of metal and the slicing of pies. The employees looked bummed. Martin had this to say, "I could picture a nice hangover here. Like if you woke up in this neighborhood for some reason and came for a slice here. The desperation in the place could match the desperation in your body and mind."
This slice was pretty alright, though! When I folded it, it made a beautiful and discernible crunch. However, somehow despite the perfect auditory signifiers of this slice's texture, it was a little bit too chewy anyway. The sauce was really watery, but delicious, and the cheese was great quality even if there was a little too much of it. Despite these qualms, which were small, and which I only listed for the sake of full transparency, this was a good slice! What can I say? I'd eat here again.
Ray's Pizza - $2.65
27 Prince St (Elizabeth & Mott)
New York, NY 10012
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Last week I ate pizza with my esteemed friend Martin Munroe, older brother to my esteemed friend Rudi Munroe, younger brother to my esteemed friend Tanya Munroe, and pretend older brother or cool or cousin or something to me. The night before we were set to meet up, he texted me and said, "I'm really excited about this. Wanna dress up like it's a date?" I agreed and the next day I dicked around in my apartment reading bell hooks until too late, took a shower and then didn't have enough time to get a proper date outfit together, so I changed clothes 4 times and finally settled on black jeans, black t shirt, black leather jacket, black cap and black sneakers. I turned out to be way under-dressed for the weather. Martin got into the same train car as me going into the city. He was wearing a suit, and suddenly I felt like I was under-dressed for the weather and the occasion. He presented me with a Sam Cooke tape, and said, "This tape is unlistenable. Right now my tape deck is hooked up to my DVD player and I have to play CDs through there and there is a buzz that I can't seem to get rid of." He then produced two CDs from his bag, "But you can just remake the tape for yourself."
We got off the train and went to , which was the first pizzeria in America and is now an Applebee's. Maybe it's a TGIFriday's. It could even be a Chili's for all I know. One thing is for sure: Lombardi's is not the Ground Round. What am I trying to say in all this rambling? This in a nutshell: Lombardi's is a bummer tourist trap hell hole and if you want a decent pizza and a real New York experience go to John's or something instead. However if you want a polished and scrubbed "New York Experience" that is actually as close to a New York Experience as having a drink at the Coyote Ugly in the New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas. What a bummer. They were playing an early Frank Sinatra record over the stereo system and Martin looked at me, looked around and remarked, "Sinatra sounds kind of corny right now, huh?" Which sort of says it all.
And this pizza was a bummer. The dough was good, but that's it. The sauce was too red and tasted like cans, the cheese was like lumps of flavorless plasticy rubber. And it was $15.50! What a rip! Ugh, I am getting mad just thinking about this bullshit. Fuck. Anyway, we took a couple of bites and both agreed that we could not possibly finish this thing. Martin seemed troubled and offered to go outside and pretend he got a really frantic phonecall and fake that we had to leave urgently. That seemed over complicated to me, so I just told the waitress I was having a crisis without leaving the table, and asked her to box up the remaining pizza. Martin was like, "BUT WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO WITH IT THEN?!" and I was all, "I don't know, we could give it to someone who looks hungry or something." And then we paid our exorbitant bill and left, totally unsatisfied. Martin carried the bag of leftover pizza around with him all afternoon and I think I even managed to ditch him with it when I left the city. He probably still has it.
UPDATE: Frequent contributor and general pizza knowitall Ron Wasserman left this informative little tidbit in the comments, but I felt like it should be present in the main review as well:
"Slice Harvester, you forgot to point out that this place has only a tangential relationship with the "first pizza place in America." The original Lombardi's closed down several decades ago. This one has only been open 10 or 15 years? Or maybe less.
The tangential relationship is that the owners perhaps are semi-distant relatives of the original Lombardi, or at least they say so. Who's really going to check! And of course, it is a given that they got absolutely no piazza making instruction from the late-great man."
Lombardi's - $15.50
32 Spring St (Mott and Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012