Friday, November 27, 2009

A Tri-fecta of Mistakes

Even self-proclaimed foodies like myself have been known to make mistakes. They don't happen often, but most of my mistakes come from ordering food. That's probably why I'm so neurotic when it comes to choosing an entree. I want to make sure I try the best option on offer. "Live today like it's your last, right?" So I always assume I'll never be back at this particular restaurant and if I don't try what they do best, I may never know.

My visit to Lazzara's was not quite that intense, but I think I should have treated this place as a sit-down restaurant and come in for dinner rather than grab a slice on the run. Mistake number one.

In the middle of the Fashion District is this almost secretive hideaway up a seductive staircase to an Italian sanctuary. We really just wanted a slice. I got the wrong memo (at least I got a memo) about what kind of place Lazzara's is. It's dark and intimate and definitely a restaurant - not a slice joint. There were a few dates and a handful of families when we arrived.

I asked doubtfully whether they sold slices and the woman told us they only had square slices. Perfect! But we needed more than one slice, she impatiently told us. I informed her we were going to eat again later and she gave us the one slice but warned us once again it wouldn't be enough. We were pressed for time otherwise I would have suggested sitting down and trying for a full pie. The two slices came to 5 bucks and off we went into the night.

So, mistake number two. It turns out the slightly ornery waitress was correct. We really did need more than one slice. These thin square Sicilian style slices are known as grandma slices. Where that name comes from I have no idea, but I'm sure some proud matriarch is sitting on Long Island smiling right now. They were incredibly light. Paper thin - almost cracker-like. But it was very crunchy and crispy without being dry.

The sauce was flavorful and very tangy. They were generous with the cheese (which is not the way of most tomato heavy grandma slices) and it was strangely sharp. It almost tasted like a Swiss. It was different, yet pleasant.

My big problem was that I either tasted the tomato sauce or the cheese. They were two different experiences - and both were delicious, but I wanted a nice marrying of the two. I even peeked under the cheese and it was completely dry.

So I'm afraid mistake number three belonged to Lazzara's. The pizza was quite good (and I do want to try the whole dining-in experience to get a better taste), but I had issue with the separation of the cheese and tomato sauce. But if you pit me (two mistakes) against that ornery waitress (one mistake), I'm afraid the loser here is me.

Is Lazzara's the best pizza in NY? It's definitely a nice little find in a restaurant wasteland (the Fashion District) with tasty (if not filling enough) pizza. Their one big mistake (the separation of the cheese and tomato) earns them a 7 out of 10, while my over-use of parentheses probably scores me even less.


  1. The pizza in the picture and in your description is identical to that which my Italian Grandma Franny used to make.

    To me the name "Grandma Slice" not only makes sense, it feels totally appropriate.

  2. Maybe Grandma Franny was the inspiration here. She should collect residuals.

  3. Was the slice possibly a stab at a white or 'margherita' style pizza? If not, it seems a shame that a seemingly authentic Italian eatery would fall short like this.

    I NEED to come to NY and pizza hop with you!