The Pizza Snob has had scant success in finding a decent slice of pizza in Midtown Manhattan. Determined to succeed on my last trip back for a biz meeting, my research uncovered Harry’s Italian which looked like a worthy place for me to try.
Having only scoped out the basics of Harry’s location, I was a bit dumbfounded when my iPhone GPS led me to the front of the 30 Rock building. Tired of walking about aimlessly on this drizzly dreary day, I gave up and asked the NYPD officer outside if he knew where Harry’s was. He immediately directed me to the downstairs concourse inside 30 Rock where it was located. How could I be so dumb not to have figured that out on my own?
With visions of the likes of John Belushi, Tina Fey or Conan O’Brien maybe having once grabbed a slice at Harry’s, I found the crowded little room amongst the other food and retail establishments in the lower level of 30 Rock. It was still lunch time and the male-dominated crowd of businessmen like myself were all there to grab a slice or two for lunch.
Harry’s has two other NYC locations (Financial District and Battery Park City) that are more full-dining affairs while this one was just a slice shop (they call it a “pizza parlor”)—a square-only slice shop for that matter. There was a nice selection of different kinds of squares under the glass counter, and I ordered the plain cheese which was a bargain at only three bucks. When doing so, I followed the lead of a few of the folks ahead of me who requested a corner slice. (Harry’s also has a few salad and desert offerings to bookend your slice if you so desired.)
I waited in the small room which was standing-room only with only a small counter area for those like me wanting to dine on-premises. Harry’s is a real pizza factory and dished out a countless number of slices (all in little white to-go boxes) while I waited with the lunchtime crowd that never seemed to dwindle. The check-out counter and pizza oven were both in full view and were really getting a workout! This is a rapid-fire, quick-in and quick out joint, and despite how busy things were, I got my square in only about three minutes.
Well, my rainy day adventure really paid off since Harry’s plain cheese square slice was outstanding!
Opening the box, I first grimaced a bit when I saw that the slice looked a little oily and that despite being charred around the edges, was flaccid when I picked it up. But while here may have been more oil than I cared for, it tasted flavorfully delicious. And, despite that limp middle crust, I scored big with my corner slice since my crust edges were crispy and crunchy. Harry’s pizza is obviously made with a really good Mozzarella cheese, and I just loved how it blended with the rich tomato sauce. All in all, to best sum up how I felt about this slice is that as soon as I finished, I immediately had to have another!
Although their square-only slice is somewhat untraditional, without a doubt, Harry’s Italian is thus far the best slice of pizza I have found in Midtown Manhattan. I definitely will be going back since I forgot to take home their little white pizza box for my collection!
PIZZA SNOB RATING **** ½ Nearer Perfection
30 Rockefeller Plaza (between 49th & 50th Streets and 5th & 6th Avenues)
Rockefeller Center (Concourse Level)
New York, NY 10012