When I am back home in the Pizza State of New Jersey, there is nothing better I like doing on a pretty Sunday afternoon than taking a journey into some new strange unexplored area of the island of Manhattan. It was a perfect day for doing just that, and I grabbed my brother and we headed out for one of the many places on my pizza referral list. This latest destination came courtesy of none other than famous singer and former Columbia student Art Garfunkel who in an interview with Forbes claimed V&T Pizzeria to be the maker of his favorite pizza.
After crossing the Hudson River on the Path Train, we mistakenly grabbed the express version of the uptown A Train and severely overshot our destination by a good ten blocks. It didn’t matter since we thoroughly enjoyed our walk on this beautiful day south alongside the eastside of Morningside Park. At park’s end, we took a right turn on 110th Street which led us to V&T which sits on Amsterdam Avenue right across from the spectacular Cathedral Church of St. John the Devine.
V&T is a classy joint, more of a nice Italian restaurant than just a pizza place, and has been around since 1945. They serve an enticing menu to two indoor dining rooms and a row of tables outside on the avenue right across from the Cathedral. I’ll let you figure out where we sat on this lovely day.
We didn’t even give our waitress time to say hello before we ordered a large plain cheese pizza (an eight slice 18-incher for $15.50) and a health-minded grilled chicken Caesar salad (it was wonderful) to share as a starter.
Our pie came out at a perfect eating temperature, and right off the bat I agreed with Artie that this was one tasty and delicious pizza. However, it would not even be in contention to call my favorite since in terms of composition, it is quite a bit off tradition from a classic New York-style pizza–a fact and not necessarily a complaint.
Now this may sound strange, but it terms of its shape, size and consistency, it reminded me of a Papa John’s pizza. (Please don’t ask me how I know that.) It’s just thicker in the dough and cheese department than one normally finds on a classic NY pie. (BTW I didn’t see any slices offered despite what Artie said about eating them there.)
Plain and simple, what made this pizza so tasty was the use of top-rate ingredients all the way through. I loved the taste of the tomato sauce and Mozzarella cheese and the overall unique flavoring that tied them together. The combination of oregano and garlic tasted outstanding. I also noticed that some of the cheese on top was slightly toasted. It was not burnt and actually tasted quite good—somewhat of a new twist for the Snob. But there was a noticeable lack of char on the bottom which made for a much chewy but tasty crust.
After eating, Alex the owner came to deliver our check, and I could not resist asking him about Artie. He said that it was true that this is the only pizza that Art Garfunkel ever eats, and he still comes in. In fact, since V&T doesn’t deliver, they sometimes send one over to his apartment on 79th by cab that runs Artie a total of $40 to cover the pie, fare and tips.
While I am far from calling this my favorite pizza, Artie did pick a good one that with its great location makes for a pleasant pizza journey for anyone up for such a thing.
For the record, although I could not squeeze a comment out of my brother, he did agree with my Snob rating on this one.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****Near Perfection
1024 Amsterdam Avenue (between 110th and 111th Streets)
New York, NY 10025