Back in my early Snob days, I once crossed the Bayonne Bridge into Staten Island and scored some spanking-good slices at the legendary Joe and Pat’s Pizzeria & Restaurant. It’s a place I’ve since reflected upon in that I was still learning the ropes of the Snob trade and I under-rated it. While I’ve not had a chance to make a return visit to SI to undo this injustice, I was overjoyed when I heard that like their SI neighbor, Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern, they too have opened a Manhattan location, Joe & Pat’s NYC.
Anxious to try out the new place which had opened earlier this year, I hurried over to the East Side just before their Midnight closing time on a Friday night, only to fail by a matter of minutes. My miss however did have a silver lining since I managed to sneak in a spectacular late-night desert at the legendary since 1894 Veniero Pasticceria across the street. I corrected my failure the next night and returned to J&P’s for a more-timely dinner bringing my brother along with me for the ride.
As I suspected, all the tables in the tiny and narrow room were full at this prime dining hour. However, we were lucky and found a pair of barstools from where we could dine at the bar. There’s a charm about doing this in the City, and we could not have been more comfortable nor received better service. Observing the rather brisk activity throughout the place, I felt the buzz that this NYC launch has been a smashing success.
The original Joe and Pats dates back to 1960, and just like Denino’s does with their “Original 1951,” they accordingly name their pizza the “1960.” We went big time and first devoured an outstanding Caesar salad and an equally delicious plate of meatballs as warmups for a large 1960 topped with nothing more than just the requisite tomato sauce and cheese ($26).
All it took was for the barkeep to place our pie in front of us for me to know that it would be amazing. Its look alone impacted my taste buds and made my mouth water. Eating it seconds later only enhanced the experience. What a deliciously light, thin and crisply-charred delight! I like to call what this pie had to offer, the “Staten Island crunch.” We each ate four slices leaving no leftovers, and if we were in a race to finish, I left my sibling at the starting gate!
Head over to Joe and Pat’s as soon as you can. You will love the comfy and cozy room as much as you will this fine specimen of a perfect pizza. Like my brother said, if you lived down the street, you’d be at this place every week to sit at the bar and grab a pie. While I can’t afford to live on the East Side of Manhattan, I sure hope to return when I get the chance. This is one of the City’s best places to sit, relax and enjoy a whole pie. There are no slices – you gotta eat the whole thing!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
Joe & Pat’s NYC
168 First Avenue (between 10th and 11th Streets)
New York, NY 10009