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New York Pizza

A pretty good slice, despite the dubious branding strategy
By MC SLIM JB  |  June 4, 2008

New York Pizza | 435 Mass Ave, Boston | Mon - Sat, 7 am to 1 am; Sun, 8 am to 1 am | 617.266.7020
My fun job here is to uncover worthy budget-priced restaurants, but prejudice has occasionally kept me from trying certain places, notably New York Pizza in the South End (there’s another location in the Theater District). Despite living mere blocks away for a decade, I’d avoided it because a) the name reminded me of the Yankees, for whom this lifelong Sox fan holds a depthless loathing; b) I doubted it could recreate the pizza style about which Gothamites here are always bleating; and c) even if it were authentic, so what? New Yorkers make the same parochial argument everybody makes for the superiority of their hometown pizza, just more annoyingly. A well-executed Cincinnati pie still trumps a badly done New York pizza. Further, the so-called New York style was invented by the Neapolitans: cutting slices big enough to fold doesn’t mean you can take credit for it. But after years of willful neglect, I finally gave New York Pizza a whirl — and now regret not visiting sooner.

Each slice ($2.50/cheese; $3.25/pepperoni) is a good quarter of a 14-inch pizza, and while it won’t make anyone forget Cambridge’s Trattoria Gran Gusto (whose owner actually hails from Naples), it’s superior to many cheapie pizzas I’ve eaten elsewhere in Boston. It boasts a thin, hand-stretched crust cooked all the way through, good tomato sauce, not too much mozzarella, pepperoni that’s greasy without puddling, and enough sturdiness to hold together when folded — the only practical way to eat it. As at many Greek-American pizza joints, the menu at New York Pizza also features grinders, deep-fried foods (wings, seafood, fries, rings, Jamaican patties), kebabs, pastas, and salads, plus an array of hot breakfast options in the morning. Drinks and desserts are limited to bottled soft drinks and prepackaged ice cream treats.

Most meals are taken to go; the few hard booth seats aren’t especially inviting. Will this pizza win prizes, or even the hearts of homesick Brooklynites? Perhaps not, but that wouldn’t excuse my long-time judgment of this place, slice untasted, as fit only for a drunken late-night nosh. That’s not only unfair to New York Pizza, but to anyone who loves finding good food in unpromising places. Lesson learned: if they ever open an RMV Hospitality Diner, I’ll be first in line.

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