One of the things I find most comforting about living in New York City is that no matter where you are in the city, you are never far from a slice of pizza. While I would love to say that each and every slice is just as satisfying as the next, we all know that the city isn't that perfect. The few times I have found myself indulging in a mediocre pie I've actually considered trying to return it and venturing to the next outpost knowing a great slice is never too far away. With pizza in such plenty, there should really be no excuse for settling for a mediocre pie. And I have recently learned that heading over to the east village will get you as close to pizza perfection as you could dream of. In the past year, it seems as if the city's hottest pizza joints have made their way to the southeastern end of the city. With Chinatown ever-expanding and Little Italy slowly disappearing, here comes New York's very own Pizzatown.
If it weren't for the overwhelming lines due to no-reservation policies (and mouth-watering pies), it would be nearly impossible to decide between Una Pizza Napoletana, Artichoke Basilles pizza, Motorino, and Luzzo's - all competitors in the never ending debate about the best pizza joints in the city - all within just a few blocks of each other. And in just a few weeks South Brooklyn Pizza, another popular Brooklyn establishment, will move right in to the neighborhood. The east village may want to consider employing crowd control professionals as New Yorkers have been known to go crazy over so many delicious options.
Of all spots in the east village I've mentioned, Luzzo's is actually the most underrated as well as the most manageable. While there are no guarantees that there won't be a wait, I can guarantee that the wait will be shorter than at its competitors. This is not an indication of the quality of the food, but rather the buzz in the air. And lucky for us, the word about Luzzo's has been just a touch quieter of recent. Located in any other city or even any other part of town, Luzzo's lines would be out the door - and to most observers the crowds are already far from thin there. It's important to note: all things are relative in Pizzatown.
And amidst all the buzz and competition, Luzzo's pies truly stand out, serving Neapolitan pizza with a twist. Instead of serving the traditional wood-fired fluffy pizza, the chefs produce pies that are both coal and wood-fired. The end result is an unforgettable crispier version of a Neapolitan pizza. I highly recommend the simplest of pies - the Bufala made up of bufala mozzarella, basil, and homemade tomato sauce. Add mushrooms or pepperoni if you require a step above the basics, but I promise you won't need much more. Instead of piling on the toppings, I prefer starting with one of their salads as these will be the perfect companion for their simple pizzas. I'm not sure if it's the thinner crust, a result of the coal oven, or just the excellent flavors in the homemade tomato sauce combined with such high quality mozzarella (I'm pretty sure it's the combination of all), but you won't have any problems finishing off these pies.
My new comfort in living in New York is knowing that the east village is just a neighborhood away. And for guaranteed pizza satisfaction, I can head right there. I would actually like to thank these establishments for setting up shop in such close proximity to each other. It truly does us all a favor. And I'm OK accepting that there really is no guarantee which spot will have me before venturing out - it's truly just a numbers game at this point. But, it is a great feeling knowing that Luzzo's is never far away. See you soon in Pizzatown!
211 1st Avenue (between 12th & 13th)
New York, NY 10003