The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for January 19th, 2010

Astoria Slice

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Observations and commentary on the ever shifting urban milieu called Pizza:

Pizza is the fruit of choice for the lifelong New Yorker, a greasy elixir that nourishes the soul. A proper slice is an avenue through which salvation may be found- sort of a cheesy eucharist.

There are borough based niceties known to sophisticates- the overloaded and enormous slices of Manhattan and the Bronx, the crunchy crust and sparse cheese found in “the Queens slice”, the perfect ratios and oil dripping sauce of the Brooklyn and… Staten Island slice. There’s also the fancy “wood burning oven” sort offered by places like “John’s” in the village, of course, but that’s a little “fine dining” if you ask me. There are further specific qualities to each borough’s slice, but I won’t bore you.

Careful observation and sampling of the goods over a four decade long study has led to the following observation- As the ethnic tides of immigration into New York have waxed and waned, the character of New York Pizza has picked up influences gathered from other world cuisines, no doubt because of who is actually cooking the stuff. Moving from the characteristic pentateuch of borough based stylings into a generic citywide slice which owes much to the influx of Latin American labor into the formerly southern Italian dominated kitchens, I’ve noticed a shift in flavor and delivered product. Don’t mistake me, not saying its bad or good, just saying that it is.

The pie above is a June 2008 specimen from Gino’s on Broadway here in Astoria, which has since undergone a change in ownership and staff. Shortly after the pizzeria changed hands, the composition of their product changed noticeably, taking on the new citywide standard- which I call Pizzadilla. The pun is based of course on the Mexican fare called Quesadilla, which modern New York Pizza is beginning to resemble.

The Mozzarella (which is pronounced MOOTSARELLAH, not MMAHTSSARELLA by the way) is less fatty than it should be and the sauce has far less olive oil used in in its recipe. A proper slice- according to me- should drip an orange oil and need to be blotted at the apogee of the fold, it should also nearly sunder its crust when folded. Pizza should also NEVER have ham or pineapple… just what the hell is wrong with you people? The new Ginos also offers the single funniest menu item I’ve ever seen on sale in a Pizzeria- the Salad Slice (which is indeed a slice of pizza with a salad piled onto it).

Newtown Pentacle readers who find themselves on Steinway Street between 30th and 31st should direct their attentions to Rizzo’s, which is a prime example of the “Queens Slice”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 19, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Astoria

Tagged with , ,

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