Luzzo's Pizza - Not So Great
Luzzo's is a rough-hewn Italian pizza and pasta place at 14th and 1st ave. Craggy walls and craggy service reflect a rustic cuisine and a sensibility that takes pride in the humble roots of, for instance, pizza.
And pizza is what Luzzo's is known for. To prepare for it, I ordered a pinenut and greens salad, which came with a balsalmic vinegar dressing that was a touch too strong, though the cooked ricotta cheese ball on top was a nice touch. The pizza I ordered came with parmesan, mozarella, and cherry tomatoes. While the ingredients and crust were generally good, the crust was a bit too chewy. More problematically, there just wasn't enough spice or oomph in either the sauce or the cheese. The whole pizza was way too bland -- even on the salt I think they skimped. This is a pity, because I had high hopes for this place. And at the prices they charge -- $18 for a 12" pizza -- this cannot be justified. For pure Neapolitan pizza, Una Pizza Napoletana and L'Asso are better bets.
Nevertheless, it looks like Manhattan's best pizza overall remains square slices: at Lazzara's and Sullivan St. Bakery (with Adrienne's, Maffei's, Pizza Pala, and Adrienne's coming in as decent runners-up).
The only thing I wonder is if perhaps the cherry tomatoes were not the smartest topping to order (maybe they diluted the sauce?). If anyone has experience with plainer pizzas being much better, maybe I'll give it another try...
The Vegetarian New Yorker: http://vegny.blogspot.com/
I always get one of the specialty pizzas lower down on the menu - any of the ones with proscuitto, basil, or spicy salami, extra parmesan cheese.
I actually used to think it was too bland (lack of salt) but they have improved over the last year or so. And the crust has always been perfect for me, but perhaps it's because I'm not ordering the "fresher" type pizzas vvvindaloo mentions.
Luzzo's traditional (margherita) pizza is very good, as I recall. I have not had the one with cherry tomatoes, but often these "fresher" pizzas are cooked for a shorter period of time and include less (or none) of their regular sauce. This can translate to a much more delicate flavor, especially if they are light on the cheese (which they often are).
The only cherry tomato pizza I have really loved (in Manhattan) was at Pizza Pala. They really know what they are doing!
Una Pizza Napoletana is very good, but I will never go back there (personal reasons). The same goes for L'asso (though they are less good, IMO).
I've never had Adrienne's or Maffei, though I have certainly heard much praise for them- what do you like about them?
I'm not sure that Sullivan St. is really comparable to the rest on your list- it's delicious, but also a totally different category of pizza.
Thanks for the interesting info on the "fresher" pizzas. This pizza definitely had sauce and a decent amount of cheese, but maybe I will go back and try the margherita anyhow.
Adrienne's is tasty pizza despite the crust being a bit too soft, primarily because the sauce and cheese are good. The cheese in the old-fashioned pizza is nicely charred, and the sauce is hearty and garlicky.
Maffei's also has giant, punchy, spiced-up slices of pizza. Good cheese, crust, the works -- they have an addictive quality to them.
You're right that Sullivan St is a bit of a different category, but I included it because it's a square slice that I really enjoy...