Long healed from my disinterest in Neapolitan pizza, I was quite surprised that it took me so long to visit Jersey City’s Razza Pizza Artigianale. Even though its tenure has been short, the lofty goals for its handcrafted pizza set and met by its chef and owner, Dan Richer, have been well honored. In fact, Razza has been called the Best Pizza in North America by 50 Best and The New York Times headlined their rave review with “Is New York’s Best Pizza in New Jersey?” “Deservingly so” is what this Pizza Snob has to say about these accolades over Razza.
Enjoying the comfort of my couch on a Tuesday evening in the Pizza State, my hunger struggled to overcome my inertia. Driving and parking anywhere was uninviting. Seeing Razza on my target list, I hesitated until I realized I could get there and back on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. I smiled, grabbed my book and off I went in the night.
Razza is in a stylish Grove Street storefront near my old high school in a neighborhood that I’ve already said enough about being once wretched and now gentrified. My walk from the above-ground train was a short one as I approached the place which was obviously packed. (No reservations are accepted by the way.) Nonetheless, I got my desired accommodation and was seated immediately at the bar.
With the old paint simply scrapped off its walls, the rustic room was narrow and long with a stylish old-fashioned wooden bar off to the right and an open, simple-looking, stainless-steel, wood-burning oven in the rear. There were some tables on the front sidewalk. A very nice Manhattan-inspired vibe indeed.
My busy barkeep took my order of the Kale Caesar Salad ($14) and the Margherita Pizza ($17.) Manhattan-inspired pricing as well! I was tempted to order the Jersey Margherita, which was made with crushed NJ tomatoes, but I needed to start with the basics. Next time for sure.
The French believe that eating your salad last is good for your digestion, and I found myself in that position at Razza when my Margherita arrived before my Caesar. I instantly loved the look of my pretty pizza and was stoked to find it not the least bit soggy. It’s beauty turned out to be a personification of its taste. The crust was cooked perfectly throughout. Chubby and charred at the edges, it was paper thin in the middle. The cheese and tomato sauce were both delicious and together everything tasted sublime.
When my salad did finally arrive, I just pushed it aside as I anxiously and quickly devoured all six slices. Over time I have come to recognize what the standard is when it comes to pizza perfection for a Neapolitan pie. Without a doubt, through Chef Richer’s dedication to his craft, Razza meets that mark. I just don’t think that you can make one better than this!
Oh, by the way, my trip to Razza was late last year during happier times. For now, they are open only for contactless pickup with orders taken on-line only. I’d order one right now if I was in Jersey. You should too.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
Razza Pizza Artigianale
275 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302