Searching for Classic New York Pizza

You can’t eat a Per Se every night in New York and you wouldn’t want to either with dinner service being three and a half hours and the price…my god the bill! But that’s the beauty of New York, along with the very high end dinning experiences are the equally as filling street food. It being my first time in New York I was dying to try a classically droopy, cheesy and chewy yet crunchy crust that I always associate with NYC pizza.

We asked around, cab drivers, bar tenders and the hotel concierge, Where should we go for New York’s best pizza? Two out of the three answered, “On the Brooklyn side beneath the bridge where Sinatra ate.” They were referring to Grimaldi’s  where they use a coal burning oven to get the crust crispy and potentially give it a unique flavour. We were also encouraged to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for ideal photo opportunities and to build up an appetite. So, we did…in forty degree weather.

The thick, hot air of New York City on the hottest of days is like applying oil to your skin – not the healthy olive oil kind that my skin would soak up and ask for more but the slick pollution kind that I am not sure if my skin has fully recovered from. The Bridge is busy with tourists, bicyclists and fit runners but to my surprise I also saw a painted sheet that depicted Jimmy Hendrix and provided some brief shade before arriving on the side of Brooklyn.

Descending beneath the bridge is simple enough – follow the crowd and then walk towards the water. You’re bound to find Grimaldi’s but when you do there’ll be a long, long line. We took our places at the back of the line, exposed to the sun no less, we were told it would be about a 45 minute wait. Luckily they had just opened up the bar and there was room for four which we snagged immediately.

The service is fast but after you get your pizza, you may need to flag someone down to order another Brooklyn Cream Soda (best ever). As for the pizza, a medium was enough for the four of us, although I could have eaten another piece or two as is the case with pizza and it’s addictive quality. But was it the best pizza? Simply put, No! I have had better in the Okanagan. So what is the big to do, hoopla, the hook? While I sat waiting for the bill I realized I was sucked in by the mention of Ol’ Blue Eyes. I love Sinatra and with his iconic mugshot on the wall, along with so many other famous faces, it is evidently a draw for tourists.

On our way to the airport we asked another taxi driver where he would take us and of course he answered differently. He told us that Grimaldi’s was a waste of time. His advice was that we should have went to L&B pizza for their square slices. Not exactly the classic pizza I had in mind. He went on to say that Giuliani and Romney both have eaten there. If I would have heard this I probably wouldn’t have been as eager to eat there which made me think how easily swayed I am by locals and their advice and how they try and associate “big names” to justify their claims. I have done this very thing while trying to convince my family to try new places to eat. But it has to be someone who they admire or trust.

I am sure if we polled another 5 people we would have either been suggested Grimaldi’s because we were tourists or we would have got 4-5 different answers. Although, for the time being, classic New York pizza is lost to me, I’d like to ask who’s name you trust when it comes to food and restaurants? Were you let down by a celebrity chef’s restaurant in Vegas? Were you convinced to go somewhere because some famous person you liked once ate there? Or even tell me where someone can get a truly classic and delicious slice of NYC pizza! 

Grimaldi's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

2 Comments

  • Dina Honke

    This really put me in the mood for a wood burning oven pizza. I wonder if there is one here in Kelowna?

    • Wanderfull

      Hi Dina,

      Bordello Italian Pizza is wood fired but I have yet to go inside. There’s also the wood fire bakery where they toast subs and sandwiches etc. I think I would much prefer the wood as opposed to coal like they did here at this Brooklyn location.

      Murissa

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