I have never lost faith in the fact that no matter where I may be in Manhattan, I am never more than just a short walk away from a great slice of pizza. And although it is getting harder at times to always find one that is new to the Pizza Snob, such was fortunately not the case on a recent visit to “Slice City.” Enjoying a concert at the Bowery Ballroom, between sets, I scoped out an after-show plan on my phone and found that Proto’s Pizzeria was well within my range.
Never leaving the boundaries of the Bowery, I made my way there on foot to Proto’s open air empty storefront. No longer the brunt of jokes about being the home of drunken Bowery Bums, this neighborhood is now as swank and upscale like most of Manhattan.
It was late and the guy running the show at Proto’s was seated in quiet solitude exploring the wonders of his phone. I hadn’t eaten in a while so my selection would be a two-slice order of the plain cheese category ($3.25 each). There were quite a few other different varieties available, and I also spotted a Nutella Calzone on the menu. Now how cool and tempting is that?
I grabbed a seat at a table in the small room and took comfort in what my phone had to offer in the way of both news and nonsense. In about the same time it took to cook a three-minute egg, my pair was ready and served on white paper plates. Rating them first by sight, they looked awfully good.
Turning from sight to taste, it didn’t take long to realize that I was eating a perfect slice of New York-style pizza. The two I had were just absolutely delicious and incredibly satisfying. Comparing Proto’s slice to some of the other great ones, theirs was probably one and a half times thicker, but it was toasted so well that it didn’t matter. I was surprised that with only moderate char on the bottom, the cooked-in crispness made it all the way through to the top.
Served hot, but not scalding, the cheese and sauce came together in a perfect blend. It was a total home run when it came to taste and balanced flavor.
Unfortunately, Proto’s is currently closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. I hope you get the chance to support them soon when they reopen. It’s no frills, just a fantastic flavorful slice of pizza.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
50 2nd Avenue (corner of 3rd Street)
New York, NY 10003