After completing my exploration to find the true original Ray’s, I saved some room for a mid-afternoon slice at Ben’s, one of my old familiar pizza joints in Greenwich Village. Ben’s is a place I have frequented many times over the years during my strolls through the Village. It’s got a great location (next to the soon-to-be-departed Bleecker Bob’s Records), long, late night hours and an easy-access (but not always the freshest) bathroom, all of which make it very convenient. And on top of that, they have always made great pie.
Next time that I do go, I will however ask if they really do have all those international locations as their sign indicates, under their acknowledgment of having “the most famous pizza in the world.” My slice at Ben’s was a “reheat” put back into the oven and delivered to near perfection. A slice that cools off and gets reheated quite often makes for a good one as the cheese will be less runny and the crust will come out nice and crisp. Ben’s slices over the years always lean towards being slightly larger than most which is a plus as they also sell for the current $2.75 going City rate. A little heavier on the cheese than some other places, Ben’s is still an excellent travelling slice if you want to remain on the go. While not being the cleanest or neatest place around, eating in at Ben’s is still also a great experience during nice weather as its big wide open doors give it a pleasing open-air feel. Ben’s for me has been a consistently great place to grab a slice in the Village at either location. Therefore I was quite surprised to find many negative reviews of Ben’s on the internet. I guess it’s true that people are more likely to post something negative rather than positive. And likewise, any place, especially one that is open for extended hours like Ben’s, may be subject to lapses in quality. But I’ve been to Ben’s many times and just haven’t seen it. PIZZA SNOB RATING **** Near Perfection Ben’s Pizzeria 123 MacDougal Street (corner of 3rd Street) New York, NY 10012 212-677-0976 [No website]