If I was a singer-songwriter, I’d write a song about the greatness of New Jersey pizza. I can even imagine a massive crowd at MetLife Stadium joining in with me on the chorus singing “Yes, Jersey is the Pizza State!” Well, that’s never gonna happen, but I mean what I say. There is no state in this great country of ours with as many local Mom & Pop pizza joints that can make a perfect New York slice. And I’d stand on the New York City Mayor’s desk singing my song to proclaim it!
There’s a lot of towns in Jersey, and each has a least one local joint slinging slices out of a hot pizza oven. My latest evidence of this proclamation was Menlo Pizza & Subs, a place in Edison, home of the Snob’s brother and the namesake of the famous light bulb inventor. On a recent visit, I picked Menlo since it had the highest Yelp rating for a pizza spot in the area, scoring a quite respectable 4.7 out of 5.
Menlo works from a free-standing building on sort of an auxiliary road near the Menlo Park Mall. I liked what I saw, despite their small sign offering the puzzling diversion of Philadelphia Cheese Steaks. Visiting on a late Saturday afternoon, I left the family in the car and ran in to grab a quick slice.
Stepping inside, I approached the long counter where I ordered my cheese slice ($2.25) in the large comfortable room full of booths and tables. At this odd hour, there was only a table of young women dining together sharing a pie over some small talk. I took a seat and my slice was ready after a quick three-minute reheat.
My slice was toasted to perfection—right to the point of a solid crispness without an overly-noticeable char. This was a perfect specimen of a slice. With a triangular shape that looks like it came out of a Geometry text book, the crust was consistently-thin from tip to end and the sauce and cheese blended together so right with a nice thin glaze of oil on top.
Served good and hot, it tasted as spectacular as it looked. The crust was fantastically-light, crisp and chewy. The overall taste was spot on—just what you would expect in Jersey. The only distraction to this one was a little cheese slippage. To me, the word that best describes Menlo’s slice is solid! This is one to teach you what a New York slice should be like.
So, as good as Menlo’s slice was, I’m not telling you to get in the car and drive to Edison. Not that there would be anything wrong with that, but I guarantee you that there are many places as great as this one across the great state of New Jersey. I encourage you to support these local pizza joints and stay away from the corporate chains like Dominos, Pizza Huts and Papa John’s. How they survive in Jersey anyway is a mystery to me. Don’t settle for their crap, even out of price and convenience—it just ain’t worth it, and we can’t let all the great local pizza recipes die.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****1/2 Nearer Perfection
Menlo Pizza & Subs
170 Lafayette Avenue Edison, NJ 08837