Our on-going Manhattan pizza slice crawl continued recently with Phase 8-B, visiting six 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) JOHN'S PIZZA & GYROS ( 9th/ 58th St). Anytime I see "and something" after the Pizza, it raises some skepticism regarding the level of pizza artistry. No exception here. Folds light cracker. Prone to full breakup. Very bland cheese, nearly zilch sauce. But it is warm on a cold day. Not rated
2) PIZZA PLUS (9th / 45th St.) A strikingly generous cheese veneer. Ample mild sauce with a hint of garlic. Folds soft with slight grease runoff. Make that a bit more grease. Chewy but not "granular". A bit of an adherence problem. A walkable slice if you can handle the adherence issue. Will move on in the tasteoffs in the mild/delicate flavor style category
3) BREAD FACTORY CAFE ( 600 9th Ave at 43rd). Super thin crust with thin veneer. An instant taste blast of zesty sauce. This is really tasty. If you can beat this you have a GREAT slice. Folds soft with little grease. Just very distinctive flavor & pleasant appearance. Yummy. Moves on in the tasteoffs
4) MAFFEI PIZZ (6th Ave. and 22nd St.). Attractive slice. Folds soft to light cracker. Burnt flavor in the far backnotes, or is that excessive cheddar ? Low to medium grease level. Chewy, semi-granular cheese. Sloppy adhesion in parts. Gets better towards the middle of the slice. Enough here to squeak by into the tasteoffs.
5) CRISPY PIZZA CAFE (7th near 17th). Large, burnt, dark orange slice reeking of cheddar. First bite is quite flavorful if you like this cheese blend. Not the variety we're looking for.
6) DE MARCO's (Houston & MacDougal). Attractive slice. Very nice depth and range of flavor. Thin crust with medium-thin topping. Folds with light cracker. Nice cheese blend with a medium to delicate sauce. Visible whole herbs are a plus. Moves on in the Tasteoffs.
Of the 6 slices sampled, Pizza Plus, Bread Factory, Maffei, and DeMarco's will move on in the tasteoffs.
Also one errata from Phase 8-A, the summary did not include Pizza Park which will move on in the tasteoffs in addition to the other 3 mentioned in the summary.