The Snob has been at this pizza business for a few years now and has covered New York City fairly well. Focusing on the best known places and sometimes those that simply cross my path, there are still probably a zillion spots left for me to visit. For my latest adventure, I visited a new place, Scarr’s Pizza, courtesy of a recommendation from a local connoisseur I call the “New York Foodie.”
This new joint was opened earlier this year by a local pizza chef with a fantastic pizza pedigree having worked at Joe’s, Lombardi’s and Artichoke. Well, he sure learned good, since he has created a pizza place that now ranks right up there with these three legendary spots.
Scarr’s is located in the Lower East Side (“LES”) on Orchard Street where it starts at Canal. I made my visit at about 9pm on a Thursday night, and even though there was quite a bit of activity on the streets, I easily found a nearby free parking spot.
Entering the brightly lit storefront, the counter just inside the door gave the appearance of yet another typical New York City pizza joint. However, the modern IPad checkout I spotted would become the first I had ever used to buy a slice. Having previously read a favorable review of Scarr’s, I felt compelled to try the square Sicilian slice ($4.00) in addition to my regular cheese mainstay ($3.00). Getting my business done, as I made my way to the small back room, I started to notice just how cool and hip this place was.
Past the oven at the end of the counter, the back room opens up to reveal a small semi-circular bar area with a few red stools and four booths in the rear of the room. Sitting at the bar, I soon fell into the vibe set by the subtle lighting and delicate tones of some soothing low-keyed rap music. The sounds were so hip and underground that my Shazam didn’t recognize them. Greeted by the multi-tasking barkeep, had I been wanting to imbibe, beer, cider and wine were being served on tap. Wow! What a cool place to hang!
My mixed pair of slices came fairly fast served on a plastic try that I took to my bar stool location. It didn’t take much pizza experience on my part to see that both specimens were going to be fantastic. In fact, “fantastic” was the word I used to compliment my pizza cook on my way out the door.
Both slices had an enticing dark crisp look from the rich color of the tomato sauce and spots of blackened crust. The square came with a colorful complimentary basil leaf. I started with the long lean regular slice and knew right from the start I was not mistaken about what I was getting into.
There was a delightfully smoky flavor to Scarr’s pizza. The cheese and sauce came together like hand in glove and the crust was charred crisp but stayed moist and chewy. Scarr’s slice was scoring perfectly on every count I could think of. There was an unusual, but interesting, gradual rise on the crust that turned fluffy at the end with a few pizza bubbles on top. Finishing with a classic Fold & Rip, I was in pizza heaven.
Closing out with the square, while it was consistent with the quality of the regular, it disappointed me only in the way that all squares do. There’s too much bread and they tend to get cold faster. I must say however that this one had the most char I have ever seen on a square. Square-lovers will be quite pleased.
Everything said and done, New York Foodie was right—Scarr’s makes the best pizza on the LES. In fact, it is also one of the best in all of Manhattan’s and is currently the Pizza Snob’s #1 recommendation of must-visit pizza joints for those visiting the City. Go get you some Scarr’s!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
22 Orchard Street (near Canal Street)
New York, NY 10002