Silver Lake Pizza: French Fry Slice

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Specialty pizza is an amazing thing, and as I’ve said before, once Luca Bella shut down I needed a new home for good specialty pizza; fortunately I found it in my own home town. The interesting thing is that they created a pizza that even I’ve never heard of: the french fry slice.

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This tastes unlike anything you’ve ever had before and hits you with a flavor you just do not expect.

The crust is light and buttery, the bacon is fried perfectly and spread around the slice quite nicely, and the chives provided a good little crunch.

The ranch dressing is a nice moist topping, and the fries add a thick, starchy component that is hard to beat.

This slice is absolutely delicious and very filling. One is enough to satisfy you, and if you have two, you’ll feel like you won’t have to eat for the rest of the day.So the next time you crave pizza, try something new and order the french fry slice at Silver Lake Pizza.

Silver Lake Pizza: Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

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Now that Luca Bella has shut down, I am in need of a new place to eat a Philly Cheesesteak slice, and fortunately, I found it at Silver Lake Pizza (West Harrison, NY).

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Perhaps the most important aspect of a Philly Cheesesteak pizza is the meat – if the meat is bad, it throws off the rest of the pizza. Not only was the meat on this slice delicious, it was generously plentiful. Tender, sweet, and juicy, each bite of meat was a wonderful mouthful of flavor.

The melted cheese was also sweet, and the peppers and onions provide a nice crunch to the slice. The crust is flavorful and had good texture and consistency.

But there is one thing that this slice offers you that gives it distinction – sliced jalapeno peppers. By themselves, these peppers are enough to set your mouth on fire, but mixed in with the rest of the ingredients, the inferno is muted into a sweet heat and spice that resonates well with the rest of the flavors.

This is an easy recommendation to make; go to Silver lake Pizza and get yourself a slice of Philly Cheesesteak pizza – its that good.

 

Sal’s Pizza: Sicilian Slice

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Happy Columbus Day! In the spirit of the intrepid Italian explorer, I thought what better food to review than everyone’s favorite Italian dish…pizza! Today’s venue: Sal’s Pizza in Mamaroneck.

Having been in business for over half a century, Sal’s Pizzeria and Restaurant should know a thing or two about pizza, and thankfully, they do. Sal’s claim to fame is their Sicilian, and with receiving multiple recommendations in the span of a couple weeks, I new this was a slice I needed to try.

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Did Sal’s pizza live up to the recommendations? Absolutely. In fact, it may be one of the best Sicilians I’ve had. The dough was fluffy, light, and airy; a quality that allows you to eat more than one slice and still have room for more. The cheese was perfectly melted and had a great oozing quality (yes, that is a good thing!).

The crust is crunchy, but not too hard, and the light splash of sauce was an interesting combination of sweet and slightly tangy (although not at all acidic). Its a nice compliment to the dough and the cheese.

How should you celebrate Columbus Day? By eating a slice of pizza, and what better place to eat it than at Sal’s Pizza; and if you are reading this after Columbus Day, that’s no problem, because Sal’s is still the place you need to go.

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Frank Pepe: Original Tomato Pie w/ Mozzarella

20150810_132302Established in 1925, Frank Pepe as a long history of serving pizza to citizens of Yonkers and Connecticut. I walked in there not really knowing anything about the place except that the pizza was supposed to be good. I was immediately surprised to find out that instead of slices, Frank Pepe serves coal fired personal pies; and it is with a healthy curiosity that I dug into mine.

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I’m not usually a fan of coal fired pizza, but this one was very good. It was crispy and had a medium sized crust (not too thin and not too thick) as well as a medium sized body; it was covered in both stringy and thick mozzarella cheese, an absolutely perfect choice for this pie.

The sauce they used was sweet and delicious, and the pie also had a nice dousing of olive oil which was a really nice accompaniment to the cheese and the sauce.

After one visit to Frank Pepe in Yonkers, I know I’ll be back; and I’m looking forward to trying their White Clam Pizza in the near future.

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Nicky’s Pizza: Sicilian Slice

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Picture courtesy of citysearch.com

A few years ago Nicky’s was one of my favorite spots to visit when I wanted good pizza; my late Uncle used to take us there for a “smorgasbord” of delicious types of pizza, and it was always a good time. But then the unthinkable happened and Nicky’s closed down due to complications from a fire; and now, a few years later, Nicky’s pizza is back in business.

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While this was a really good slice, I must admit that my first bite in years took me by surprise as I tasted what can only be described as a flavor that triggered memories of alcohol; that taste was not bad at all, nor did it make a return in any other parts of the pizza, it was just an interesting surprise that I felt needed mention.

As you can see the size of the slice (lengthwise) is that of two ordinary Sicilian slices elsewhere, which is always a good thing; the bottom crust was crisped very nicely while maintaining the soft upper bite that good Sicilians are known for. The oil content was not overpowering, adding to the flavor without making a mess, and the sweet, thick cheese mixed with the slightly savory sauce were a great combo.

Nicky’s had small additions of basil to their slices which added even more flavor to an already flavorful slice, and the back crust had the slight taste of bakery style bread (a truly great touch). Another interesting part of this pizza was what I found underneath the cheese in a corner of my slice:

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That right there is a stewed tomato, and in terms of flavor and texture, its brief appearance was both a surprise and a delight.

I am very glad Nicky’s pizza is back and I hope you will be too once you try it; in a world of NY pizza, Nicky’s truly stands out as one of the best places you can go.

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Portofino: Sicilian Slice

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When I reviewed Portofino’s delicious slice of plain pizza, I made a point to say that it was not just the taste that made it special, but its huge size as well. Fortunately, the same can be said for their Sicilian slice. I have covered a Sicilian slice before (for a size reference on what normal Sicilians look like, click here), but I have never seen anything quite like this.

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This slice literally takes up two paper plates, its massive. Along with the size, there are slight differences between this and most Sicilian slices; so the question is, how does it hold up against others?

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This culinary marvel needs to be broken down into three categories; cheese, sauce, and crust. The cheese one might notice is lacking in comparison to many others, but in this case it doesn’t matter; what cheese there is provides a nice sweet flavor that compliments the sauce. And speaking of sauce, there was plenty of it. In fact, I would say that in this case the reduction in cheese is balanced out perfectly by the increase in sauce.

That leaves the crust, which very well may be the best part of this entire pizza; it is doughy (like any good Sicilian), but also has a very good light bite; and the crunch on the crust can be summed up in one word: fantastic. I have never had a slice of pizza with a crunch like this (burnt ones aside), and the crispness of the crust mixed with the cheese and sauce makes this one truly special piece of pizza.

With two reviews dedicated to their product in a week, its safe to say that Portofino Pizzeria is one of the premiere pizza shops in Westchester County. If you are a Westchester resident, or are just passing through, this is a spot that you need to visit; and if you are in Putnam County, you are close enough to visit as well, so please do; if you like pizza, you won’t regret it.

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Portofino: Plain Pizza

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Portofino Pizza & Pasta is everything that is right with the pizza world; not only do they make a great tasting pie, but the size of their slices is unbelievable.

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Yes, that is one slice that has been cut in half; when you have a slice of pizza that is nearly the same size of two normal ones, you automatically have something unique. But unique is not enough, you need quality and taste as well, and fortunately, Portofino does exactly that.

In contrast to its extremely thin crust, this slice has a good thick cheese that carries a nice element of sweetness to it; the sauce on the other hand was very special, with a flavor that is mildly savory. That sweet and savory combination really stands out in the world of pizza, and rightfully so, because such a duo deserves our attention. Not to be outdone, the amount of oil that is used in each serving is just the right amount for a slice of this size.

Another reason why this is a great slice of pizza is because its sheer size allows you to employ a truly proper “New York Fold”:

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Portofino Pizza & Pasta (located in Golden’s Bridge NY) is simply put, some of the best pizza you will ever have; and I highly recommend it to everyone. Rest assured though, this is not the only review that will come from this restaurant, tune in later this week as I take on their massive Sicilian slice.

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Luca Bella: Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

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Philly Cheesesteaks and Pizza are two of my favorite foods, so what could possibly be better than a combination of the two? One that comes from Luca Bella of course.

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I always find it amazing (and wonderful) when a “replica food” can mirror the original in taste and texture, and Luca Bella’s Philly Cheesesteak pizza does just that.

The cheese is piping hot and melted to near perfection; and just like a good Philly Cheesesteak, it can burn the roof of your mouth if you are not careful (though in this case that is not really a bad thing). The meat is thick and provides a taste-filled bite, and the peppers and onions help to bring the authentic cheesesteak taste full circle.

So what do you do when you want Philly Cheesesteak flavor but are running on pizza time? The answer is visiting Luca Bella for one of their slices; it is undoubtedly one of the best around.*

*Luca Bella’s Philly Cheesesteak pizza is usually available on weekends.

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Luca Bella: Vodka Sauce Pizza

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The world of pizza is vast and diverse; it includes slices with cheese, without cheese, with sauce, and without sauce. But when someone thinks of pizza sauce, it is usually some variety of tomato that comes to mind. That is why it is such a nice change of pace when a pizzeria goes a different route and uses vodka sauce instead; and Luca Bella does so exceptionally well.

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This slice is interesting in that its somewhat a mixture of both traditional and Sicilian slices; it has the shape of a Sicilian, but the thin crust of most “traditional pizzas.” The flavor and texture are both spectacular; the crust and shape combination allows you to gain a good grip on your slice (what we in New York call “the fold”) and the cheese was its usual enjoyable self, but it was the sauce that was the real star here.

Now I am Italian, I love pasta, and I cannot tell you how many times I have had Penne alla Vodka; Vodka sauce is in my (proverbial) blood. It is with that background in mind that I say that I have never tasted a vodka sauce better than the one at Luca Bella; and it keeps me coming back for more as it is rich, creamy, and slathered all over the slice. It is literally a taste that, during consumption, you wish would never end.

So as usual, Luca Bella’s Vodka Sauce pizza gets my stamp of approval; and if you are in White Plains and yearn for something both delicious and different, well, you know where to go.

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Tarantella: Sicilian Slice

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There are certain key elements that go into making a good Sicilian style pizza; first the crust must be firm enough to hold its shape when picked up, but soft enough to give you a full, doughy bite (think of a pillow of dough, as opposed to a pillow of cheese).

Second, the sauce should be spread out evenly enough to lubricate your mouth with each bite; and finally the cheese must be melted in such a way that it stays on the pizza when you chow down.

I once visited a hole in the wall pizza shop (if you could even call it pizza) that served me the exact opposite of what I’ve described. The crust was too hard, the sauce was cold (after being heated up!), and the cheese was hard and slid off the slice after one bite. Last time I checked, this shop had closed down and Tarantella is still going strong; why? Because Tarantella knows how to make a proper Sicilian.

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Soft pillow of dough? Check. Melted cheese that actually stays on? Yep. Enough tomato sauce to compliment the other ingredients? You bet. This particular slice also had a nice crunch that started the closer you got to the crust. A crunch that was not the result of too hard a crust but rather just the right amount of time in the oven; and as usual, the the taste was just as good as the texture.

If you have never had a Sicilian before, you are missing out; this style takes the traditional taste of good pizza and applies it to a thicker canvas, putting a nice spin on an already great work of art; and quite simply, if you want to experience one of the best artists in the business, you must go to Tarantella Pizzeria in Nyack.

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