Six Best New York Brick Oven Pizzas!
NEW YORK, NY – Over the past decade I have noticed more and more brick-oven pizzeria/restaurants sprouting up in New York City. It is an observation that only a self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur like myself can make. Yes, I am a huge pizza fan, and I am always on the prowl for a delicious pizza that makes
your palate and heart desperately seek more. I am also firmly convinced that the only city in the world (outside those in Italy) where the best pizza is made is New York City. I will admit, however, there is some bias with my statement, but in comparison to other cities across the United States, New Yorkers have extremely high expectations and standards when it comes to a scrumptious slice.
In recent years there has been such a demand for making a tasty, well-cooked pizza in New York City that many individuals are developing a stronger sense of what makes an unforgettable pizza. I have been to San Francisco, Miami, Providence, Hartford, Chicago (is the Chicago style pizza, really a pizza—just kidding) and other cities that claim to make amazing pizza. Actually, in some establishments and because of the recommendations of other self-proclaimed purists, I was pleasantly surprised by the pizza quality. My allegiance, nonetheless, is still with New York City when it comes to pizza.
This is not to say that most pizzerias/restaurants in NYC make great pizza.
On the contrary, even some of the popular NYC pizzerias/restaurants make mediocre to bad pizza. In fact, since there is such a demand in NYC to find an exquisite slice, probability determines that any product that is mass produced will eventually lose its quality. For instance, some neighborhoods have three pizzerias/restaurants on one block to meet customer demand, and the city has one of the highest rates of pizzerias/restaurants per household in the world. It is more likely to have a mediocre-to-bad pizza because new arrivals to New York have not been exposed to this unforgettable experience.
First, what makes a mediocre-to-awful pizza? One factor in determining the quality of a pizza is the oven. If you want to have a business that is known for having “the best pizza”, stainless steel gas ovens are not the path you want to take, for this will immediately place you behind the eight ball. The taste between pizzas cooked in a stainless steel gas oven versus a brick oven is vastly different. Brick oven pizza has a particular deliciousness and crusty taste that is permeated by the wood or coal fired heat. A pizza cooked in a stainless steel gas oven, usually results in a tasteless pizza drenched with a generic string cheese mozzarella while in between the slice, the pizza remains uncooked. At the same time, even when the pizza is well cooked with an adequate amount of a better known mozzarella there is still room for improvement.
In my opinion, in order to claim that a pizza is exquisite and qualifies for being exceptional it must be cooked in a brick oven. Of course a brick oven is not the only prerequisite because some well known establishments burn the crust, claiming to make a heartfelt and tasty pizza. There are also brick ovens that use gas, changing the taste of the pizza but can still be exceptional. I prefer however, the wood burning inside the brick oven as in Italy. Coal heat offers a delicious pizza but a New York City environmental law was passed, preventing new coal ovens from operating unless it meets a grandfather clause; and even wood burning must meet city regulations as well.
Another noticeable difference with New York pizza over the past decade is the gigantic pies with canned tomato sauce, smothered in domestic mozzarella cheese, and served as a triangular slice, are less in demand. Avid pizza lovers want, smaller, softer, puffier pies known as Pizza Margherita with fresh tomatoes (preferably San Marzano tomato sauce), fresh basil and a higher quality of mozzarella cheese, like mozzarella di bufala.
In case you are wondering which brick oven pizzerias/restaurants I would recommend in New York City here’s my list ( in no particular order).
Grimaldi’s | 1 Front Street New York, NY 11201 | 718-858-4300 | website
Forno Italia | 4319 Ditmars Boulevard Astoria, NY 11105 | 718-267-1068 | website
Da Franco Ristorante Italiano | 23-92 21st Street, Astoria, NY 11105 | 718-267-0010 | website
Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza | 144 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002 | 212-432-3200 | website
John’s Pizzeria | 278 Bleecker Street New York, NY 10014 | 212-243-1680 | website
Motorino Pizza | 349 E 12th St # A New York, NY 10003 | 212-777-2644 | website