HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >


Best PIZZA in the USA

A blogger, Alan Richman drew up a list of the top 25
Pizzas in the US.

Lucali's on Henry Street was #2
Totonno's was #10

see here http://brooklyn.about.com/b/2009/05/2...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't have the experience to argue that list. I'll simply point this out: The most under appreciated pizza in NYC is from Sam's Chop House on Court Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. You have to get it with the roasted garlic. That is the key.

    1. I'm very glad that he included Joe's as the representative of the classic NY slice. Hard to find these days, but this what most neighborhood pizzerias made in the '60s, when I was growing up. before standards and ingredients started slipping (and when you had to wait for a pie to come out of the oven because they didn't make a day's worth first thing in the morning). It's pretty much a good historical representation of the kind of pizza you'd have found at DiFara (I grew up in the neighborhood) before Dom became a born-again artisanal pizza master.


      5 Replies
      1. re: Peter Cherches

        Having grown up on E. 13 Street, between Ave K and L from 1954-1970, everyone knew the best pizza on Ave J was at the corner of E 13 St, not that little place on the corner of E 15 St. Add 45 years. Go figure that red-paneled place with the great pizza odor on E 13 Street is no more, and that little dinky place on E 15 St still looks the same, but is now that famed DiFaras. And across the street, no more Saul's appetizing (with the best sturgeon and pickles in the area), and the best rye bread and bowties anywhere, Ratchik's bakery, also is room temperature. Right across the street from DiFara's. Ah, how times change. I paid 15 cents a slice at E. 13 Street for the best pizza...now, two blocks away, you'll pay $4. A shonda.

        It ain't the same world.

        1. re: MoxieBoy

          I love the Babka from the bakery across the street from DiFara, particularly the round one. By the way, how much more is your house worth now? How much more money do you make now compared to then? I think the cost of ingredients as well as rent has increased since 1970. $4 for a slice of the best pizza on earth, hardly a shonda, I consider what Dom does to be a mitzvah.

          1. re: MoxieBoy

            You're thinking of Pizza Center. My brother delivered for them for a while. The owner, Arnie, had a big mustache and looked sort of like Avery Schreiber. The other guy Joe was tall and bald. Back then I too preferred Pizza Center to DiFara.

          2. re: Peter Cherches

            I like Joe's. And yes, it is much better than average for a NY slice today. As you indicate, it probably would have been considered an average slice in the 60's and 70's. Richman's list is supposed to be a list of the absolute 25 best pizzas in the USA. Joe's is good for what it is, but overall I wouldn't put Joe's in the top 25 in Manhattan let alone the USA.

            BTW - Sam's on Court is excellent. I always get mine with sauage, mushroom and garlic. My father said it reminds him of the pizza they used to serve at the local bar in East Harlem where he grew up.

            1. Alan Richman is hardly a "blogger". He is a distinguished food and wine journalist with many awards, and a long career.

              I respect his opinions, and kind of agree with him about Pizza.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Fleur

                He may be distinguished, but any list that doesn't have DiFara's in the top 25 is a complete joke. (I was going to say top 1, but figured there are some here that aren't worshippers.)

                1. re: dark knight

                  I once ordered a square pie at DiFara's that was burned to the point were it was not edible. If he went and received a pie like that it would never make the list.

                  For the record, the regular pie I ordered was off the charts delicious!

                  1. re: oysterspearls

                    Dom is old. Yes he is. But when he is 'on' his pies blow away anything in this city in my opinion. However the ratio of his being 'on' to 'off'' is falling fast. I have had a few really terrible slices there recently. I attribute that to his age, and the fact that he might not care what we think anymore. He just likes coming in and working.

              2. Alan Richman is straight up an idiot. The guy is a terrible writer and has poor taste in food and wine.
                I don't want to go through the whole thing, but he completely trashed New Orleans cuisine and restaurants right after Katrina. No appreciation for a different approach to food; if it ain't NY citified food, he's not interested.
                Totonno's in not as good as Lucali? Lucali's #2 in the US??? Gimme a break. Hogwash

                1 Reply
                1. re: shaidr

                  Not an Alan Richman fan either. Do you think he tasted any of those pizzas or just wrote an interesting article? I am a NYC pizza virgin and have only had Grimaldi's, Spumoni Gardens, Lombardi's, Underground and Adrienne's. I guess I need to eat more pizza . . .

                2. I at at Lucali once. The plain pie was ok. The ambiance was excellent, and really shows what a good interior design can do. But the pie was just OK. It is possible that it has improved or something was off that day.

                  DiFara is kind of variable between brilliant and screwed up. On a good say on a scale of 1-10 I rate the pizza an 11, the ambiance a -6, and the entertainment a +2.

                  New Haven belongs on the list, some day a reviewer will go to places not within walking distance of metro north.

                  Totonno's haven't been there in a while, but while I really like their pizza, maybe that stuff they peddle at Spago ... In general I think they should call the list the top 25 affordable pies.

                  Detroit seems interesting in general as far as food goes.

                  1. This is the sort of nonsensical list so beloved by journalists and their editors because it gets people to read it (to see if their personal favorite "made the list") and inevitably creates controversy -- and thus additional readers -- because people feel obliged to argue the pros and cons of the various choices. At root it's deeply egotistical (one man presuming to render objective judgments on a subjective question) and it's also nonsensical because it ignores all the different variables of taste involved. Does one prefer a thin, cracker-like crust, or one slightly thicker? Sicilian or Neapolitan? Does one like charring, or not? Does one like lots of cheese, or only a little? Olive oil drizzled on top, or not? And so forth. ("Anna Karenina" or "Ulysses" -- which is the "better" book?) Plus, the journalist will inevitably sprinkle a few surprises into his list -- again, to add controversy -- and make sure to create a proper geographic distribution to bring as many readers as possible on board. Imagine a list where the top five pizzas, say, were all from New York, and think about how that would go over.

                    Having said all this, I'm a great fan of DiFara's, Totonno's, and Lucali's, and will argue with great passion that the pizza made by Joe's of Court Street is as underrated as any in the five boroughs.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Jeffsayyes

                        Did I say Joe's? My bad -- I was thinking about a place I used to go to years ago in Northampton. It's Sam's, of course -- 238 Court Street, at Baltic. Necessary caveat: The pizza there is pretty close to sublime, but everything else on the menu is terrible.