Intrigued by recent posts here regarding queens pizza preferences, i've been doing slow and steady research on the borough's pizza. After trying a regular slice from over 30 different queens pizzerias, i've come to my conclusions. In general, I was sorely disappointed in the quality of the averge pizza place slice. More often than not, the ingredients seemed low quality. Cheese too often was tasteless and sauce was too sweet, not to mention crust underdone. So, I agree with the many posters who lament the decline of your average nyc slice. Still, I found my favorites.
My findings were based on walking in and ordering a single regular slice. Sometimes they heated it up, sometimes they didn't. Sometimes they overheated it. Sometimes they didn't. But what I was looking for was a walk in slice, not a sicilian, not a pie. Just a slice.
To my surprise, my top three were (in order):
1) Peppino's in Woodside, 39-63 61st St. The pizza makers are Italian and do a great job. A perfect crust, sauce a bit tomatoey and cheese pretty tasty. And they even have a two slice/drink special for $3.75. Great old school pizza, like NY in the 70's and 80's. They also make a killer grandma slice, the best i've ever had anywhere. This is still pizza that tastes like pizza and not plastic mozzarella on sugary sauce.
2) Amore's in Flushing, Pathmark Shopping Center. A great old school slice, sauce a bit sweet, crust very thin, but really tasty. And the slices are always fresh, never reheated.
3) Gino's, Howard Beach, 15846 Crossbay. A good solid slice, although I would have liked a bit more flavor from the cheese and a bit less char on the crust.
Those were my favorites. I also found neighborhood fav's. The best slice I found in Jackson Heights was Catinella Pizza at 9502 37th Ave, although it lacked any real punch. I liked John's in Astoria on Astoria Blvd and Crescent but I don't think I'd go back just for the food.
And I had a lot of disappointments: I found Maspeth's offering (Rosa's and Joey's/Caruana's) bland. Astoria has a lot of well regarded slices (Sac's, Rizzo's, Polito's, Rosario's to mention a few), but none of them impressed me. Jackson Heights has loads of forgettable slices (Taste of Italy, La Cancha, Gianni's, Gustosa, Pizza Sam, Thomas's), and a few good pies (Pizza Sam and Cabana), but nothing really memorable. Gino's on Bway in Elmhurst was also unremarkable. I was not inspired to return to D'Aleo's in Elmont, either. Despite rave reviews, D'Aleo's tasted like cheap, average, boring pizza to me. And VIPizza in Bayside wasn't any more memorable. Nor was Dedona's in Woodside. New Park in Howard Beach was a contender, but the slice I tasted had a slightly underdone, doughy crust and the sauce lacked punch. Still, I'd rank New Park number four after my top three. I'm aware that some of these places have been lauded for their sicilian and grandma slices, but those were outside of my testing parameters. (Although I did try Rosa's grandma slice in Maspeth and thought that it paled in comparison to Peppino's in Woodside.)
I only sampled pies at a few places, and of those, Nick's in Forest Hills was the clear winner. In fact, I still think Nick's is the best overall pizza in Queens, but damnit, they don't sell slices. So, they're off my top three list.
When I eat my way through the next 30 Queens pizza places, I'll post an update.