Our on-going Manhattan pizza slice crawl continued recently with Phase 7, visiting six venues which we'd missed on previous crawls, starting in the East Village and working up to the 30's.
All tasting is of the "plain slice" or "regular slice"... sauce, cheese, and dough. The theory being that if the basic slice is great, then more elaborate slices (which are built on the plain foundation) stand a good chance of being great also.
The following notes are from order of TASTING, not order of preference.
1) EAST VILLAGE PIZZA (1st Ave. & 9th St.) Folds soft, light grease. Thin veneer of tasty cheese. Reasonably zesty sauce comes through. Nothing really to complain about, feeling perhaps a bit generous but this place will move on in the Medium-Zesty flavor category.
2) VINNY VINCENZ (1st Ave. S. of 14th). Distinct reddish tint. Not much distinctive flavor. Folds crispy. Delicate and mild flavor to the extreme. Just not quite interesting enough.
3) PIZZA POSTO (2nd Ave. at 18th) Another "red tint" pie ala Garlic Bob's et al. A bit heavy on the orange colored grease run-off... Has some flavor. In the end, no cigar.
4) MIKE's PIZZERIA (415 2nd Ave. at 24th). First impression is of a large slice with plenty of cheese. Immediate flavor impact. Chewy, globby cheese texture. Folds nicely with very light crack. Repeat, huge cheese quantity for a "plain slice". Surprisingly low grease given all the cheese. Somewhere between delicate and mildly zesty in flavor. Not a great "walking pizza" because of the delicacy of the flavor. More of a "daydream" pizza... to taste, savor, and contemplate whatever you're contemplating. A finalist for sure.
5) ANNA MARIA (23rd St. Near Park Ave.) Nice-looking mostly white-toned slice. Folds with light crack. Pleasant, zippy up-front taste notes tend to fade while chewing. Close but no cigar.
6) BELLA NAPOLI (130 Madison btw 30/31). Large yellowish slice. Folds w/ medium crack.... light to medium grease. Very delicate cheese & mild sauce. Close but no cigar.
In the end, East Village Pizza and Mike's Pizzeria will move on in our tasteoffs. Mike's particularly made a very positive impression.