Location: 211 1st Avenue (btw 12th & 13th St.)
Price: $12 – $24
After my endless failed attempts at finding a good pizza place in Manhattan, one of friends suggested I check out Luzzo’s in the East Village. He claims that this is “the best” pizza in New York, which obviously is a huge claim. So, I took a break from all those $1 pizza places for once and had a sit down with some friends at this First Ave. restaurant. This is not one of those new school pizza joints popping up everywhere in the village but, this place has been around for quite a while serving up not only coal oven pizzas but, a whole Italian menu consisting of pasta and antipasti.
First impressions of the interior of the restaurant were good and we didn’t have to wait at all to get a table for five people. Service was prompt and they were ready to take our order right away. We came here for the pizza so decided to with the following pizzas:
Diavola – tomato sauce , bufala mozzarella, spicy salame, basil
Salsiccia – tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, sausage, basil
(no longer on menu?) –bufala mozzarella, broccoli Rabe, sausage
All of the tomato sauce pizza have the same baseline ingredients of tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, & basil which, by the way aren’t the normal kind of sauce and cheese. The sauce has a pretty special complexity and sweetness you don’t find in normal Neapolitan pizzas and the bufala mozzarella gives a nice different flavor to the pizza. This all topped with basil was a nice touch because in my opinion, basil is the most amazing green ingredient in the world. We figured we couldn’t hurt the pizza by adding some tasty meaty ingredients to the pizza so we went with the sausage & spicy salame. I didn’t have much thoughts on the pizza with the Broccoli rabe other than the fact that it was our “healthy” option and lacked flavor without the tomato sauce and basil. That’s probably the reason it’s no longer on the menu.
My biggest gripe about our experience was that when we got our pizzas we tasted a sandy substance in the basil and asked if we can get some fresh basil on our pizzas. The waitress was trying to argue that there shouldn’t be any sandiness and that it should be clean, basically five guys against one. After some back and forth they finally brought us some fresh basil and recovered our pizzas with the greenie goodness and we were happy.
So my final conclusion is that YES it is a good pizza on par with Patsy’s or Lombardi’s but, better than Totonno’s, Motorino, Co., or any of those other places. I disagree on the opinion that is the best pizza in NYC and still hold my belief that Brooklyn has the best pizza in all of NYC. Still lots of pizza places to try and my pizza journey will continue at Keste? Pulinos?…we’ll see.