Monday, April 7, 2008

Greasy Spoons - Lombardi's Pizza, the oldest in NYC


There is a lot of contention over the best pizza in NYC. Some say it is relative newcomer Grimaldi's, with its hour-long lines out the door int he shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. Other's claim one old man at Di Fara's near Avenue J makes the slice to die for. Then there's the whole Ray's conundrum, but there is one thing that pizza perfectionists can agree upon- the first pizzeria in New York was a coal-fired oven joint run out of a grocery in Little Italy, by Gennaro Lombardi in 1905. This is Lombardi's, now a few numbers down the block on the corner of Spring Street and Mott. (Wait, isn't that Chinatown?)
The line out the door.

The wait wasn't as long as Grimaldi's; we waited about 25 minutes, inside at the bar. They have a nice selection of brews on tap, including Six Points Cream Ale, Brooklyn Lager, and standbys like Yuengling. They run the tables efficiently, and we didn't wait too long for a pie once we ordered. It's a bit pricier than Grimaldi's, $19 for a large pie and $3 for the first topping, leaving us a $43 bill for a pie and a pitcher. For a tourist haven like Little Italy has become, that's really not bad at all for dinner for three. And it's a bit less snug than our favorite place just over the bridge.
Another fantastic pizza pie.

The pie is a fine Napoletano style pizza, with a chewy crust, a thick sauce of San Marzano tomatoes that seemed to have steeped long in the pot to get rich flavors, and some fine slices of fresh mozzarella spotted the pie like a saucy leopardess rising high above the Serengeti. (Apologies to Toto).
The pepperoni was smoky and tasty, not very oily, and the basil was there but shredded and a bit sparse. Overall, it is a fine pie and definitely one of the best in New York. The Firecracker's bro-in-law had been to Naples and had several pizzas there, and felt this was up there with them, if not better. Now that's a recommendation of the highest order.

The first isn't always the best. I must say I prefer Grimaldi's, but that is entirely a matter of taste. The sauce there is a bit brighter and more acidic, there's more basil, they make their own mozzarella. Lombardi's makes a great pie, with its own flavor- and obviously, with their heritage, it's the original one. There's more cheese, the crust isn't bubbly, and has more bite to it. It's a matter of mood, similar to the battle between Hiram's Roadstand and Rutt's Hut. You can't go wrong with either of them, both are worth a visit, and which you choose should largely depend on where you are when the wuleez hits you.
Firecracker's brah-in-law enjoying his first NY Pizza.

Whenever I'm in Little Italy, the pizza will be Lombardi's. Though I should shuffle over to Ray's and give them a try sometime, but not before I trot out to Coney Island for Totonno's, or brave the 2 hour line at Di Fara's... Lombardi's makes a clam pizza and white ricotta pies as well, so daring explorations of these culinary experiments must be made. So many pizzas, so little time.

Post a Comment

And remember, this is for posterity so be honest. How do you feel?

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

disclaimers of legal bull shitte

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

All writing © 2011 Thomas Pluck and may only be reprinted with express written permission of the author. You may link to pages at will. If you wish to repost anything on your website you must contact Thomas Pluck using the contact form. Thank you for your cooperation. -Robocop