Saturday, January 23, 2010

New York's Finest

You could read the reviews of NY Times food critic Sam Sifton (or, Frank Bruni's web archives), watch Anthony Bourdain, or browse through chowhound. All of those resources will probably steer you to some very good meals. But when it comes to pizza, I think the best judge of whether you should spend your time and money on a slice is who is inside the pizzeria eating it. And if the answer is blue collar workers, police officers, and MTA employees, then you know you've found something good.

Louie & Ernie's in B.F.E. Bronx (Schuylerville to be exact). It seems to be a real pain to get out there via NY Transit, but I was fortunate enough to be on my way back from Connecticut - in a car, no less. So, to me, it seemed like the easiest thing in the world.

When we entered this little pizzeria, which is neatly tucked away in the bottom half of a split-level residential house, all the customers seemed to be wearing abbreviations: MTA, NYPD, FDNY. I'm just glad there wasn't any IRS. These were big guys with big appetites A very good sign.

It was a pretty cold day out so I was surprised to see the pizzaiolo wearing shorts. He must be one of the owners and might even live upstairs. But, hey, if the pizza is good, he could be wearing a thong for all I care.

And the pizza was good. There's wasn't much of a char on the bottom, but the crust wa very thing and flavorful. It was a bit chewier than other NY pizzas, but that's not a bad thing. The cheese was incredibly creamy and the tomato sauce was fresh but a bit light.

I heard that the topping to order here is the sausage, so we also ordered a slice loaded with the crumbly stuff. While it was well-seasoned and not too salty, it was a bit of an overload for me. There was so much meat that it just rolled off my slice. I wish it had been incorporated rather than just thrown on top.

The atmosphere was fun and cozy, the pizza was well-prepared and tasty, and thanks to the clientele, I felt safe from a fire, crime, and any possible subway delays. And I also felt safe from the possibility of crappy pizza.

Is Louie & Ernie's the best pizza in NY? It gets a 7 out of 10 because it's a great example of NY style pizza. It may not be worth the trek all the way out the ends of the Bronx, but if you happen to be passing through, you could do a lot worse.

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