Finishing up some serious stuff in my favorite city of New York, I took a lunch time stroll from Times Square south to catch a train back to Jersey. Pizza on the way was of course an objective although the tourist-laden Midtown area of Manhattan tends to be challenged for a good slice. Recalling a place I once spotted called Little Italy, I set it as my destination.
As I walked down 33th and got closer to the joint, I realized I was smack dab in the Empire State Building tourist zone. Making my way into Little Italy’s long and wide room near the corner of 5th Avenue, I therefore wasn’t surprised when this place, sitting in the shadow of the world’s once largest building, reeked of lunch time tourists.
There were even a few clues that the place acknowledged its touristy clientele such as using the word “famous” to describe itself and a sign proclaiming it as having “The Best Pizza in New York.” By the way, this one just one of nine Little Italy locations scattered about Manhattan.
I worked my way through the crowded tables to join the long assembly line of those ordering slices, many of whom were exhibiting the novice trait of not ordering fast, instead questioning what certain of the multitude of specialty slices were. I just patiently smiled and waited my turn to order what they all should have, a plain cheese slice ($2.95). I soon lost some of my patience when I was forced to hold my slice upon a paper plate while making my way through the long line to check out. I could feel the slice getting colder and the plate getting greasier with oil as I waited.
Well, I can say that my tourist dining companions could have done much worse. To quote one of my Mom’s favorite expressions, Little Italy’s pizza was “Not bad.” My slice looked quite legit although smaller than usual. An instant surprise, and one which may freak out those tourists, was the crumbles cooked into the bottom crust that added to its good crunchy taste. This just ain’t that common in the City other than at Two Boots where they use some cornmeal to get this effect.
I’d liked both the cheese and sauce, and other than finding my slice a little oilier than usual, it was a good slice. These tourists got a pretty good deal! Little Italy is a place I’d sure try again, and I’d probably try their Sicilian and Grandma slices which looked quite worthy! They do need to speed up the checkout process though since nobody likes a cooled-down slice on a soggy plate!
PIZZA SNOB RATING **** Near Perfection
2 East 33rd Street (corner of 5th Avenue)
New York, NY 10016