Virtually every New Yorker is on the same quest to find the best pizza in NYC. While this is an impossible task, it doesn’t stop me from trying. There are two distinct pizza styles in The Big Apple: brick oven and New York slice. Let’s table the slice convo for a moment as it is a tad more difficult to tackle and most New Yorkers have a personal bias for whatever pizza place can be found around the corner from their first apartment (hello Little Vincent’s on 73rd and 2nd). The brick oven pizza debate is tricky but one that can be tackled.
While watching UGA beat Auburn this weekend, we decided to order some pizza because…well because it’s football – kind of a no-brainer. After hearing Gabe and Rocio claim that Luzzo’s (on 1st between 12th and 13th) made Lombardi’s taste like Domino’s, I knew it was a place I had to try. I later remembered I had read about Luzzo’s in New York Magazine’s Eat Cheap 2009 Guide. This is where I learned that owner Michele Iuliano uses a coal and wood oven, making him an outlaw in the wood-only world of Neopolitan pizza. Pizza and a man who breaks the rules? Now you’ve got my attention.
The crust was thin (just how I like it). It wasn’t super crispy, but I suspect that was due to the nearly 20 block delivery distance. Remarkably, it made the trip and still managed to arrive without being overly soggy. I may agree that it is, in fact, better than Lombardi’s. How can this be? The toppings, my friend. The toppings. Mushrooms are a MUST. That may sound boring, but Luzzo’s sweet tomato sauce is perfectly paired with the woodsy little buttons. It is the perfect flavor on a cool fall evening and probably the best accoutrement on the menu. We also tried a pie topped with arugula and prosciutto. The cured meat was the perfect compliment to the peppery arugula.
I think a trip to the East Village is in order so that I may fully appreciate Luzzo’s in all its glory.