Bleecker Street is perhaps one of the few areas of New York City where the restaurant genre is limited to one specific style of cuisine. Renowned primarily for its Italian eateries and pizza joints, Bleecker makes no apologies for what some passersby might call a “limited” selection. Narrowing it down to the three best pizzerias is much like Sophie’s Choice for any pizza enthusiast, but if you want to sift through the sea of infinite dough, the following establishments are the unequivocal pizza powerhouses.
The obvious choice for any first-timer on Bleecker is John’s Pizzeria (located at 278 Bleecker Street). The no frills appearance of the restaurant could have something to do with the fact that the pizza speaks for itself, or maybe the fact that its walls have been standing since 1929. Either way, this pizza is sure to delight without breaking the bank. The most delectable pie combination comes in the form of pepperoni with sausage, tomatoes, and extra cheese (your pulmonary muscles may not thank you, but your taste buds will).
Roma Pizza (located at 259 Bleecker Street) is yet another one of many charming pizzerias with ambrosial toppings and combinations in the West Village area of Bleecker. What makes Roma Pizza stand apart from other competitors on this street is its “96 hours” philosophy, meaning the pizza makers let the dough rise for ninety-six hours before baking it in the oven. This gives the pizza a lighter air and is actually healthier because of how much easier it is to digest. Another notable fact about Roma Pizza is its location in what was formerly the legendary New York institution, Zito’s Bakery. Preserving the neighborhood feel that shopowner Anthony Zito perfected, Roma Pizza is a welcome addition to the increasingly corporate look of Bleecker Street.
The final contender in this trifecta of perfect pizza is Keste Pizza and Vino (located at 271 Bleecker Street). More upscale and expensive than Roma Pizza and John’s Pizzeria, Keste is consistently ranked as one of the best pizzas in New York, and has several gluten-free options, like the margherita, in addition to the customary flour-laden dough. One of the more expensive pizza restaurants on Bleecker, Keste’s menu features mouthwatering prospects that include the Pizza del Papa (butternut squash cream, smoked mozzarella, yellow peppers, and tomatoes), the Keste (bufala mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, tomatoes, gran cru, arugula, and olive oil), and the Salsiccia e Friarielli (Italian sausage, smoked mozzarella, and olive oil). For anyone crazy enough to pass up this pizza paradise, Keste also has an assortment of salad selections.
And so, to use a pizza metaphor, you can cut straight through the dough by attending one of the abovementioned pizzerias, as they are the most effective dining experiences for guaranteeing you’re getting one of the best slices on the Bleecker block—and in New York.
by Genna Rivieccio
Transform your inner Bourdain from a girl with a dream to a woman who can actually entertain.
I fancy myself a wonderful cook – not a great baker – but I know my way around a kitchen with or without a recipe. So when my mom, and excellent Italian cook, suggested I take a knife skills class, I was astounded. I was stunned. I was nearly offended, but called Chelsea’s Institute of Culinary Education and signed up for a class with Chef Norman Weinstein.
Weinstein was brilliant. He was patient, perceptive, precise and pretty cool to boot. He taught the class knife skills basics – the “proper” way – that decreases time, increases preparedness and makes cooking, especially for groups, inordinately more enjoyable. While my cooking skills haven’t changed much, my own personal experience has been transformed. I’m more patient, perceptive and precise. Plus, my kitchen is more laid back.
Not one to put all of my eggs in one knife skills basket, I intend to check out a few other knife skills classes in the city. Soho’s Sur La Table offers classes as well as the West Village’s neighborhood bistro CAMAJE. The French Culinary Institute also offers knife skills classes for the more serious amateur chef. And if you are just not sure, hire a chef for a private lesson. Sounds snobby, but actually it’s fun and affordable. Consider the hundreds of underpaid, overworked amazing chefs in the city. They revel in the idea of making something else, teaching and scoring some extra dough. Don’t know any? Feel free to email me and I can send you some referrals.
However you do it, transform your inner Bourdain and learn to properly entertain. The experience will sharpen your skills a hundred fold.
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