It was time for the Pizza Snob to return to pizza basics on the streets of Manhattan—the epicenter of the New York slice. Earlier this year, I had a nightmarish adventure when I discovered that my passport was expired the night before I was travelling to London. Faith and perseverance however led to a happy ending with the help of the amazing folks at the National Passport Center. This stressful situation did also provide me with the unexpected surprise of discovering Rivoli Pizza II Restaurant on my walk along Hudson Street on Manhattan’s Lower West Side.
I had already experienced pizza perfection at Rivoli Pizza Restaurant on Seventh Avenue. When I checked things out on the web however, I was unable to find any connection between it and this “Rivoli the Second.” So on a pretty summer Saturday morning, my pizza-loving brother and I took the Path train into Manhattan with my new find targeted as our first destination.
Fumbling our way along, we got off at Christopher Street station with a plan to stroll along the soothing neighborly feel of Hudson Street until we found the joint. We started south and eventually realized we needed to make a U-turn back. Surprised, we found that Rivoli the Second was right under our noses when we exited the Path, albeit hidden by a façade of building renovation.
Their corner space is a tiny room with only three small tables. Nonetheless it’s a well-suited spot for a “grab and go slice.” The pizza oven is in plain view behind a glass case displaying a variety of ready-to-heat slice offerings. Bright pastel-colored signs were an odd choice, seemingly more suited for a yogurt shop than a pizza joint. They also gave the room the corporate feel of a chain rather than a Mom & Pop pizza joint.
Aside from pizza, Rivoli the Second also had a few other dishes on their menu including everyone’s favorite desert treat, Italian Ice. (For the record, the Snob’s fave flave is cherry!)
With a full day of pizza eating ahead of me, I stuck to a single slice of plain cheese while my hungry Bro craved a pair. Before I could say “mozzarella,” I had a thin extra-wide slice of foldable pizza perfection enticing my taste buds. Although there was scant char on the bottom of my slice, the crust was quite crisp and lightly cracked when I folded it.
My slice was absolutely delicious! My internal seasoning meter detected nice gentle touches of both garlic and oregano. Prior to eating, I did let my slice drain a bit, leaving just enough of the tasty olive oil to compliment the splendid tomato sauce and cheese. You really can’t do much better than this!
Through a quick chat with the man behind the counter, I learned that Rivoli the Second is under different ownership than the Rivoli on Seventh. While I’m not sure of the name connection, they both make perfect pizza. (Bro agrees.) Rivoli the Second is another must stop for the Snob, and they proudly join their namesake in the Snob Hall of Fame.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
Rivoli Pizza II Restaurant
501 Hudson Street
(Between Christopher and 10th Streets) New York, NY 10014