Our on-going Manhattan pizza slice crawl continued recently with Phase 8, visiting ten venues which we'd missed on previous crawls...
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) ROSA's (33 E. 28th E. of Park). Folds soft, Great sauce. Nice and Zesty flavor. Nothing apparent not to like... Very thin crust, generous topping, low grease. "Splochy" look, but just out of the oven. Will move on in the safari tasteoffs.
2) ABITINO'S ( 2nd Ave. N. of 39th St. ). Textbook appearance. Folds soft. A bit salty, just short of the Sals & Carmines level, for example. Mild, pleasant sauce with nice evolving aftertastes. A nice "walking" slice. Moves on.
3) LA MIA (30 W. 38th St.) Nice appearance. A bit "cheddary" in appearance, aroma, and taste. Folds soft. Medium to Low Grease. Just a bit on the bland side. Nice chewy texture. OK for a quick slice. Nice walking slice. Close but no cigar as a bit too bland for our taste.
4) PIZZAIOLA (38 St. near 6th Ave.). Hey, we'll try a slice anywhere. An ample veneer of very mild cheese. Little discernable taste to the sauce. Folds with a "break-up" cracker effect. I've had worse slices. This met or exceeded expectations for this alcove of a Blimpies. An unwalkable slice given the unstable crust. Not rated.
5) LAZZARA's ( 221 W. 38th St.). Square, yellowish slice. Chewy. Flavorful, A bit stringy and loosely-adhered cheese. Thin yet somewhat tough crust.
6) LITTLE ITALY (W. 43rd btw 5th/Madison) Beautiful "white and red" slice. Very thin. Fols soft. Cheese just rolls off this. Medium to low grease. Cornmeal dust on crust, similar to Two Boots, if less apparent. In the end the flavor just isn't that interesting & the loosely-adhered topping detracts. Close, no cigar.
7) ENZO's (2nd Ave. near 4th St.). Attractive slice. It looks like some effort and artistry may go into these pies. Topping was poorly adhered. Indistinct flavors. Not bad at all / not remarkable.
8) PRIMAVERA ( 2nd Ave. near 61st ). Nice looking slice. Folds with very light cracker effect. Slight grease runoff. Pronounced garlic in the herb base. In the end, just too bland and unremarkable. Close but no cigar.
9) SUTTON PIZZERIA (1st Ave. near 62/63) Large yello "cheddary" looking slice. Folds with distinct cracker effect. Indetectable sauce. Not unpleasant but indistinct.
10) PIZZA PARK ( 1st Ave. near 65 / 66). Folds soft. Nice thin veneer of tasty cheese. Very light grease. I'd have this again. A bit of a delicate flavor, will move on in the tasteoffs in the "mild-to-medium" taste range.
11) FAMOUS FAMIGLIA (1st Ave. near 68th). Great looking slice. Folds soft. Gooey Cheese. Very distinct "sweetish" notes to the sauce. Low to medium grease levels. Plenty of gooey, chewy cheese. In the end comes across as quite delicate, bordering but not quite "bland" so will move on in the tasteoffs.
All in all we tasted nearly 20 new venues between Phase 8A and 8B. Of the 11 visited in Phase 8A, Rosa's, Abitino's, and Famous Famiglia will move on to the tasteoffs.