Sunday, July 11, 2010

City Jewel: New York City

Thought I'd post this one a little's our first feature on a New York City restaurant. Thanks so much to my good friend Lettie for submitting this great review!

32 Spring St.
New York, New York

The Rundown: After my cousin took a trip to New York last summer, he came back to Houston raving about what else … pizza! Not just any pizza - the pizza at Lombardi's, America's first pizzeria.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Lombardi's opened in Little Italy as a grocery store in 1897. Eight years later, that's 1905 for those counting their fingers, Lombardi's was established as the first pizzeria in America with New York's issuance of the mercantile license.

For a more detailed history lesson, visit Lombardi's website.

Even with all the wonderfully creative and tasty dishes I've had the pleasure of enjoying as an adult, nothing beats a good slice of pizza. And thus, I trekked the three miles on foot (didn't want to feel guilty about eating what surely didn't qualify as health food) to Lombardi's to enjoy a slice (or three) of heaven.

The Food: Let's make one thing clear before you read on. When it comes to pizza, I decide what I want depending on the type of establishment I'm dining at. If I'm at a nicer Italian restaurant and order pizza, I will often opt for a pie with pesto, sundried tomatoes, portabella mushrooms and the like.

However, if I'm at a no-frills establishment that serves up the more traditional toppings like sausage, pepperoni and hamburger meat, then that's what I'll have - nothing fancy.

And that's exactly what I did at Lombardi's. I split a small pizza with a friend, half mushroom-half pepperoni. When the waiter came out with our coal-fired pie, the cheese was appropriately oozing off the sides the serving pan. The fresh-out-of-the-oven heat didn't deter two hungry chicks who had just walked three miles to enjoy a good - scratch that, great - slice of pizza. At first a little disappointed in the small, nickel-sized slices of pepperoni, I quickly came to appreciate that I didn't have to tug at my pizza in order to get one of the little suckers in my mouth. It's the little things in life that you learn to appreciate as you get older. The pizza was sprinkled with fresh basil, a nice addition I apparently looked over on the menu. The dough was fresh and thick enough to make you appreciate it, but thin enough (this is New York, after all) that it didn't overpower the pie itself.

I didn't try any of the mushroom pizza, but given that my friend and I sat in almost complete silence for the next 20 minutes after our pizza arrived at our table, I am confident she was equally as impressed.

The Price: Both the small (six slices) and large (eight slices) pies run less than $20. This being a New York eatery, that's not bad for a meal, especially when you split the bill. Lombardi's also serves up calzones and a small assortment of salads, all of which are reasonably priced.

The Overall Opinion: A definite must for visitors to New York who staying more than a day or two. Was it the best pizza I've ever eaten? No. And if you're looking for a big slice of greasy goodness, Lombardi's isn't where you're going to find it. But if what you're looking for is a nice slice of traditional pizza with a little bit of added flavor that brings it up a notch, Lombardi's is definitely a must. A friendly waitstaff, even in New York, made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Helpful Hints: Lombardi's is regarded as one of New York's best pizzerias. That being said, you should expect a 20+ minute wait to be seated as the establishment is not very big.

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