The taste of New York style pizza....

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by GS, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. GS

    GS Professional

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    Here's a mystery---why is great-tasting 'New York style' pizza usually only available in New York City? The "experts" insist it's the NYC water that "is perfectly balanced for making pizza dough". And, "the sauce has alot to do with it." And all along, I thought it was the cheese....
    I did have a decent NYC style slice in the Pittsburgh airport the other day, but that's about it.
     
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  2. filphil

    filphil Rookie

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    That's a pretty good question. I'm about a 10 minute drive, at the posted speed limit, and have actually never ordered myself a slice from NYC. I'll probably go out and get myself one this weekend.
     
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  3. stringertom

    stringertom G.O.A.T.

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    I lived in two of the five boroughs and worked in a third...the pizza varies from shop to shop but I found a couple of favorites while in Brooklyn, one for Neapolitan and one miles away for their Sicilian (worth the drive when gas was under a buck, now probably not so much). I also ate some great pizza in NJ on "road" trips for concerts, etc. The pizza on Long Island can also be great!

    I don't think it's the water as much as "secret" ingredients passed along from owner to owner or father to son. A guy down here in Florida bought a struggling shop named after a famous Manhattan thoroughfare with many bright lights. With the purchase came the NYC recipe. He has made a fortune following the original recipe and it tastes as close to real NY pizza as you can buy down here. Our water is brackish so I think he's adding a little something to overcome it. It might be something as simple as what many add to their morning coffee.
     
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  4. krz

    krz Professional

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    There is no secret.

    There is actually A LOT of bad pizza in NYC. Though pizza is never bad enough not to eat. As evidence by my constant visits to one of the Rays (which one is the real one?) at 4AM on St. Marks.

    I think what separates the best places are the quality of ingredients. You can really taste the cheese at a place like Lombardis.
     
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  5. stringertom

    stringertom G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, but there are some places where the cheeseless/lightly sauced crust at the edges are not throw-away but delightful last tastes of the slice(s) you just ate. That's the dough. In golf, it's drive for show putt for dough. In pizza, it's dough makes the do-re-mi!
     
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  6. WildVolley

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    So where is the good NY pizza? I've only had pizza twice in NYC and thought it was good, but not excellent. I probably wasn't eating at one of the excellent places.

    I think of NYC pizza as being big foldable slices with good cheese and a layer of oil on top. I think of Chicago pizza as being deep dish stuff with a lot of breading underneath. The rest of the country I just associate with pizza chains. Though, I don't eat much pizza. I'm probably to the point now of having it maybe once a month.
     
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  7. GS

    GS Professional

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    I thought the New York pizza tasted great at a few places I tried in mid-town and lower Manhattan awhile ago. By the slice....
     
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  8. heycal

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    There is a ton of great pizza all over the New York metropolitan tri-state area, and very little great pizza outside this area.

    Why this is I'm not sure, though I too have heard the water theory. (Supposedly a place in L.A., Mulberry Street Pizza, had their water sent from NY, and that's what made their pizza so good.)
     
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  9. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    krz is right; there's far more dreadful pizza in NYC than good pizza. As with mens' clothes tailoring, the Italians have now outsourced the pizza industry to Asians, especially Filipinos, and I don't think it's helped the quality of the pizza. Sure, there are the few iconic old places that serve fine pizza, but if you randomly wander into pizza joints in the city, as I often do, you're more likely to be served garbage.
     
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  10. Tmano

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    i don't live around there but as italian and i also worked for a friend of mine who had a pizzeria i can tell you that water along with fresh tomato and cheese are very important in order got get a good pizza. also the dough has to rest the right amount of time before to used.....and if you have wood burning stove is a plus. I guess they know what they do there:)
     
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  11. Bartelby

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    The only knowledge i have about this is that there are still places in New York, and also elsewhere of course, where they still prove the dough for a sufficiently long period of time.

    Pizza is basically bread so this has to be done right and it is traditionally rolled thin.

    In the rest of the world, all that ny pizza means is that you can buy it buy the slice so its real finger food.
     
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  12. heycal

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    Doesn't matter if there's bad places, because there's so many good ones. I can literally name a dozen pizza places within 3 miles of me (in the suburbs no less!) that have great pizza, while I can only name two or three good pizzas places TOTAL in Los Angeles or Boston, the two other areas I've lived in my life. Basically, most any place here is better than 95% of what you can find elsewhere in the country.
     
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  13. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Tom, what is the spot you are talking about in our area?
     
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  14. Bartelby

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    New york pizza is, in other words, properly made Italian pizza using dough fermentation handed down in Italian business dynasties located in NY and spread from there.
     
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  15. SoBad

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    I am not sure why this is so mysterious. Asking why NYC has the best pizza is like asking why Japan has the best Japanese food. The concept of modern pizza was developed in this city.
     
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  16. Bartelby

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    There's nothing New York about pizza. Its what southern Italian immigrants brought with them and made popular.

    Given the abysmal nature of what passes for bread in most parts of the world and the horrific nature of what passes for pizza in the fast food industry, ny pizza has just become a label for more properly made pizza.
     
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  17. SoBad

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    Where did they bring "it"?
     
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  18. Bartelby

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    They brought it everywhere they immigrated and no one else in the world calls it Berlin or London or Sydney pizza just because Italians live there.

    New York pizza either means the traditional pizza handed down in Italo-American busineeses located in and around New York or it means, unfortunately ...

    A fast food restaurant marketing designation for the kind of thing they don't ususally sell and which may resemble at some level thin-crust traditional pizza.


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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
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  19. SoBad

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    How do you explain this phenomenon? NYC is a big bad city?
     
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  20. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Marketing is about reframing history.

    Bad Italians - mafiosa - remain Italian.

    Good Italians - pizza - become New Yorkian.
     
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  21. SoBad

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    I am not sure how to decipher your code, but I agree that certain intra-family disputes resulted in conflicts in Sicily, while many talented Italian chefs in NYC have developed the modern pizza.
     
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  22. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    So what is 'modern pizza' as I've no idea what you mean?
     
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  23. SoBad

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    pizza as the term applies to food available today
     
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  24. Avles

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    I think you mean "mafiosi." "Mafiosa" is a singular adjective (or a word for a female mafia member).

    Anyway, New York style pizza is called that because it is a style of pizza that is popular in, and hence associated with, New York. I don't see how that's "reframing history."

    And I don't think NYC pizza is identical to Italian pizza (which varies regionally inside Italy anyway).

    So, I don't get your point.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
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  25. Bartelby

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    Yes, well, thanks for the lesson in how popular culture steals Italian things incorrectly with regard to the word 'mafiosi'.

    Its a pity you dont generalize your insight as you've defined NY pzza tautologically.

    To say New York pizza is pizza common to New York is not a definition and as we have read there is plenty of bad pizza in New York.

    So you don't have a point.




     
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  26. SoBad

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    The communication process has obviously broken down here. Let’s talk about the ingredients:

    For me:

    - bianca (no tomato sauce)
    - cheese from beautiful young goatresses of Sicily
    - proscuitto
    - olives (collected from beautiful olive trees in a picturesque section of Sicily)
    - garlic
    - little green sprinkles of dried grasses
     
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  27. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    So you like Roman style pizza?
     
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  28. SoBad

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    I am not familiar with this geopolitical label. I like a thin white pizza with garlic, mushrooms, and prosciutto, that's all I know.
     
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  29. SoBad

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    and olives
     
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  30. Bartelby

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    So you're familiar with the geopolitical label called New York pizza?

    It's the place where they make quick minutes as well.



     
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  31. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Again this is a tautological definition of modern pizza.


     
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  32. SoBad

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    As an astute forumer such as yourself might surmise from this thread, I have some familiarity with NY pizza. I don't know anything about geopolitical labels or "quick minutes".
     
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  33. Bartelby

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    Up until the sixties or so:

    - pizza was what was sold in ethnic Italian pizza shops some of which was excellent and some of which was average


    Then in the seventies and eighties and on:

    - pizza became what was sold in American-style industrialized food assembly outlets


    Then in the nineties and noughties:

    - there was a return to the traditional Italian style of making pizza bases with wood fired ovens

    - american-style industrialised food appropriated a version of this style, sometimes called thin crust or new york style

    - this neo-traditionalist revival of pizza which reaches its height in the 'authentic Neapolitan pizza' labelling was also complemented by the 'gourmet movement' which added all sorts of exotic ingredients to the traditional base.
     
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  34. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Tomato is associated with the Neapolitan style, specifically San Marzano tomatoes.

    Without tomato is usually referred to as Roman style.

    The word you were looking for was not geopolitical labels, but words which refer to the ethnic origins of foods.

    Neapolitan and Roman are the received terms for the two styles.



     
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  35. SoBad

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    What do these bullet points tell us about pizza in NY or family disputes in Sicily?
     
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  36. SoBad

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    Without tomato sauce, we just call it "white" or "bianca". No need to obscure this simple concept with fancy references to cities in Italy.
     
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  37. Bartelby

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    The rise of American-style Pepsi-Pizza and the pan Pizza (Wikipedia):

    Pizza Hut was founded in 1958 by brothers Dan and Frank Carney in their hometown of Wichita, Kansas. When a friend suggested opening a pizza parlor—then a rarity—they agreed that the idea could prove successful, and they borrowed $600 from their mother to start a business with partner John Bender. Renting a small building at 503 South Bluff in downtown Wichita and purchasing secondhand equipment to make pizzas, the Carneys and Bender opened the first Pizza Hut restaurant; on opening night, they gave pizza away to encourage community interest. A year later, in 1959, Pizza Hut was incorporated in Kansas, and Dick Hassur opened the first franchise unit in Topeka.

    In the early 1960s Pizza Hut grew on the strength of aggressive marketing of the pizza restaurant idea. In 1962, the Carney brothers bought out the interest held by Bender, and Robert Chisholm joined the company as treasurer. In 1966, when the number of Pizza Hut franchise units had grown to 145, a home office was established to coordinate the businesses from Wichita.

    In 1977 Pizza Hut merged with PepsiCo, becoming a division of the global soft drink and food conglomerate. Sales that year reached $436 million, and a new $10 million dollar headquarters office opened in Wichita. People continued to eat outside their homes, especially as convenience and price-competitiveness in the fast food industry gained importance.

    The 1980s brought new competitors to Pizza Hut, all challenging its number one position in the pizza restaurant trade, then worth $15 billion in sales annually in the United States alone. While in the 1970s the company's main competitors had been regional chains like Dallas-based Pizza Inn, Denver-based Shakey's, Phoenix-based Village Inn, and the West Coast's Straw Hat Pizza Parlors, fierce competition in the 1980s brought new entrants into the quick-service pizza category, including Little Caesar's, Domino's Pizza International, and Pizza Express.

    To raise its profile, Pizza Hut introduced "Pan Pizza" in 1980 throughout its network. The product, with a thicker crust made in deep pans, soon became popular. The success of new additions to Pizza Hut's menu was facilitated by the marketing resources provided by PepsiCo.


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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
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  38. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, why give Italy any credit for pizza!



     
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  39. SoBad

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    This is too brief. Surely you could come up with a larger wall of text without an attempt to make a point.
     
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  40. Bartelby

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    ADD? - the point is bolded.
     
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  41. Bartelby

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    This is what the supposedly best blog says about the true New York pizza and how it dffers from the Neapolitan one:

    Once the Italian immigrants brought their Naples-style pies to the States, it evolved a bit in the Italian neighborhoods of New York to something I've seen referred to as "New York-Neapolitan." This is basically what all the coal-oven pizzerias of New York serve. It follows the tenets of Neapolitan style in that it's thin-crusted, cooked in an ultra-hot oven, and uses a judicious amount of cheese and sauce (sauce which is typically fresh San Marzano tomatoes, as in Naples). It deviates from Naples-style in that it's typically larger, a tad thinner, and more crisp. New York–Neapolitan is rarely found outside New York City
     
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  42. SoBad

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    It's the anchovies issue, isn't it...
     
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  43. SoBad

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    You speak of tomatoes like you read it in a book. The present realities are far more complex.
     
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  44. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    The bottom line in New York would be to ask the shop if the pizza is coal-fired and the dough proved over night.

    If not, walk on by.

    (although there is a wider definition of the style that allows for gas-fired)



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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
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  45. heycal

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    When I served 5 years in L.A., I occassionally went to Pizza Hut because it was the best available pizza. (They had a nice thin crust style I preferred.)

    Also, I don't consider New York pizza to only be thin crust, coal or brick oven style. Far from it. Most prominent in New York, and very excellent, is a pizza that's made in one of those standard pizza ovens and has a slighty thicker, less crispy crust than those now-trendy special oven ones.

    Also, it's good to remember, as someone suggested earlier and has been said elsewhere, pizza is like sex: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
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  46. Bartelby

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    Women like slow-rise (when it comes to pizza dough, I mean).
     
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  47. adamX012

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    What, OP? New York Style? Have you tried of Chicago deep style-the best one in the world :)
     
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  48. stringertom

    stringertom G.O.A.T.

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    His nearest shop to WP is at University & Goldenrod in the Publix plaza.

    As one of the other posters pointed out, good dough needs to be proofed properly so don't go on the end of a "slam" evening. That way you have a better shot at getting best rendition.
     
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  49. GS

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    I'm the OP. Living here in the Bay Area, there's lots of decent pizza around, including a highly-rated Chicago style joint with a deep dish special with chicken and tangy sauce. Yum. Then there's a New York style place that offers Neo and Sicilian slices (thin and thick) which come close to a true NY experience, but not 100%.
     
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  50. heycal

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    What?? Are you sure?
     
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