The time for another trip back to New York City had come upon me. While my pizza planning for the week was still underdeveloped, I had long decided that Bleecker Street Pizza in Greenwich Village would be my first stop. Despite this joint’s slew of “Best Pizza in New York” and celebrity accolades, my visit there would surprisingly be my first.
With a business dinner in Little Italy scheduled for later that evening, I arrived in the city early with thoughts of grabbing a slice or two as a pre-meal appetizer. Exiting the Fourth Street train station, I made the familiar stroll west down Bleecker where I found Bleecker Street Pizza just around the corner on Seventh Avenue. Outside, things were busy, and I witnessed the late afternoon to-go orders being handed out of the front walk-up window to the waiting delivery cyclists.
Entering the little hole-in-the-wall place, I saw there were just a few tables plus some seats up against the wall seating less than a dozen patrons. I then did an about face and walked up to the counter eyeing several specialty pies on display under the glass. I ordered my normal plain cheese slice ($2.75) and a bottle of water ($1.25). I had to pay cash since this was under their $10.00 minimum to use a card. The plain pie in waiting was uncut, and my server sliced off a good-sized piece which he then tossed into a conventional pizza oven for a three-minute firing.
The standard wall menu board features a few Italian dishes as well as pie. Unlike most walk-up joints in the City, they offer a selection of wines in addition to beer on tap ($3.00) and an eclectic assortment of bottled beer in the fridge. The wall of celebrity photos behind the counter includes the likes of Alec Baldwin and Steven Tyler in addition to some pizza awards.
I was summoned when my slice was ready retrieving it at the counter atop a white paper plate. I knew instantly by sight that I was about to eat a perfect slice, and that this would be a roof-of-mouth burner. I didn’t mind a bit since I wanted to capture all of the freshness and taste it had to offer. My slice was delicious. I was in heaven! Later, I surmised that burning hot slices were the norm when I heard a lady ask for her slice not be put in the oven too long.
As the lightened red color of my slice revealed, the fresh and delightful mozzarella and tomato sauce were perfectly blended together. Its thin crust was toasted crisply, lightly blackened on the bottom. The slice cracked slightly when folded and went down so smooth it was almost dreamlike. The olive oil was pleasantly flavorful; however, I did apply some oregano after a few bites making my slice more complete.
Prior to my Bleecker Street Pizza experience, I was a firm believer that Joe’s Pizza, just a few blocks down the street, was the best classic slice there was. I even thought for a moment about going right over to Joe’s for a back-to-back comparison. Instead, I decided to relish that moment, believing that the two best slices in the world can be found on the same street in Manhattan. If the textbook for making a classic New York-slice were to be written, research for it could begin and end at Bleecker Street.
I will return—many times.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
Bleecker Street Pizza
69 7th Avenue South
(at the corner of Bleecker Street)
New York, NY 10014