Since crowning myself The Pizza Snob, I have made several trips back to my hometown of Bayonne, NJ. I now have written about eleven pizza places in the Peninsula City. As a result of my last trip home, readers have six more to look forward to. Even so, there are still enough pizza joints and bars selling pizza yet undiscovered for me to write about pizza in Bayonne until I’m old and gray. For a city of just over 60,000, Bayonne may very well sell more pies per capita than any city in the USA.
Lately, I have followed the leads of the Bayonne Facebook community. At the top was Mama Rosa Cucina Pizzeria. I had been there once for dinner and knew that it was an Italian restaurant that my family liked to frequent. That’s a good sign since Mom and Dad are fussy about the places they eat. But somehow Mama Rosa made their list—second only to their fave Italian place, San Vito. No one in the family ever spoke about Mama Rosa’s pies, so I thought I’d start off this trip by bringing one home for lunch.
Mama Rosa sits on the corner of Broadway and 36th just at the end of midtown. As with any place on Broadway, it can be tough to find a parking spot. Be sure to have change to feed the meter! Inside, they work from a counter off to the right with a half-a-dozen or so dining tables off to the side. They sported side-by-side dual pizza ovens, conventional and brick. What a nice touch to cater to both those who like a good old traditional pie and those who like to fancy one up gourmet-style. Their menu follows suit and is split into two respective pizza sections. I noticed a few slices sitting out which surprisingly were of the gourmet genre. They also cater and deliver.
I did my usual and kept things simple by ordering a large plain cheese ($10.95) to go along with some Caesar salads with chicken. The extra nice wait-staff told me it would take fifteen minutes, and they delivered on time as if on a stopwatch! I usually try to eat at least one slice on site, but this time I chose to not keep the family waiting.
Back home, I opened the box to find a pie looking as classic as you’d expect in Bayonne. It had a slight disadvantage of having cooled down during my ride home. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a delightful pie made from textbook ingredients: delicious cheese and sauce atop tasty dough. Not overly flavored or seasoned, the sauce and cheese merged together hitting your taste buds exactly with the taste that you expected it to have. I would have preferred a crust that was perhaps a little crisper and less chewy.
I felt that something was missing from my analysis, so asked the Pizza Mom what she thought. “Not bad,” she said which for her means it was quite good. She did mention that it was dry. That was it! A little more olive oil would have not only provided some added flavor, but it also might have made the crust cook better. Still, Mama Rosa makes a great pie that I recommend you try.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****Near Perfection
Mama Rosa Cucina Pizzeria
795 Broadway (corner of 36th Streets)
Bayonne, NJ 07002