This is the best pizza in New York City. I know what you’re thinking: Where is it? I’m not telling you just yet. What I will tell you first is why this is the best pizza in New York City.
When people say “the best pizza in NYC” they usually have no clue what they’re talking about and are simply regurgitating something they read on a blog written by someone who also didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about. Many times it’s the blind leading the blind. At this point, you should probably be realizing you’re reading this from a blog and you think you’re at risk of being the person in the scenario I just painted. You won’t be. Know why? Cause I know what the fuck I’m talking about. being a comedian is a 24/7 gig but being on stage is mostly a 7 pm-midnight thing. My first agent once asked me what I do from midnight -7 pm. I had no real answer besides “write jokes….sometimes.” So I set out to do something in one of my passions that didn’t take away from comedy and wasn’t really a job. I landed on pizza tour guide with Scotts Pizza Tours here in NYC. How’d I get this gig? I went on a pizza tour and knew so much about pizza that I got offered a job at the end of the tour. So yeah, I know what I’m talking about.
The pizza you see here was cooked at Sam’s in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn in a coal oven, sort of. It was a coal oven in 1930, but in the 1940’s most NYC buildings switched from coal to natural gas. Many pizza places switched to natural gas deck oven (see image) while some stuck with their coal ovens. This pizza place decided to do something different. They decided to convert their full stone coal oven into natural gas. They placed two natural gas flame throwers in the oven and heat the stone surface that way. Ingenious, and incredibly good at making pizza. It’s not the only one in the world, but it’s the best one of it’s kind. Not because of how it’s made, but because of the pizza it produces. A lot of that has to do with Louie, owner/operator, who has been keeping the same standard he was taught by his father, Mario, and great uncle, Sam who originally opened the restaurant.
That tradition is simple, great dough mixed in a large mixer from 1930, cold fermented overnight, stored in a wooden drawer, baked in the full stone natural gas oven, with cubed low moisture mozzarella and sauce on top. You’re probably thinking at this point “NYC pizza has cheese on top. How can the best have the cheese on the bottom?” It just does. It has to or else the cheese would burn over in this oven. Plus, something magical happens when you put the sauce on top of this cheese in that oven. They almost blend into one thing. One amazing thing. The star here though is the perfect texture and flavor of the crust. It’s crispy and slightly charred on the outside. Soft yet a little firm on the inside. The flavor is strong and competes nicely with the cheese and the sauce. It’s a thing of beauty and you should try it for yourself. No other stop on any pizza tour I’ve even done has elicited the kind of return business that this stop creates. I’ve seen more people walk back into Sam’s than any other stop and, often, when I’m there for dinner with my wife, I see people from my tour who just had to bring someone else along to try it. It’s pretty special.
It’s the kind of pizza that makes you want to punch someone who doesn’t like it. Not because you don’t like them, but because you think maybe a knock in the head will fix whatever is wrong with that person’s head. It’s the kind of pizza you close your eyes and dream about, even when you’re full. I used to think it was just a fat guy thing, but I’m finding out more and more people agree with me. They love this fucking pizza. And why shouldn’t they? Louie sometimes tells you the restaurant is full when there’s no one in there. Sometimes he yells at the staff in Spanish, sometimes in English. Sometimes he’s on the phone yelling in Italian. You never know what you’re going to get at Sam’s and that’s kind of the way it should be. The only thing you know you’re going to get is incredibly well-made pizza using a recipe that hasn’t changed since 1940. The only thing they changed is Louie decided to use a rolling pizza slicer in the 70’s and his father called him a pussy for it. I mean, doesn’t that make you want to go over there and just eat pizza all day? it does to me.
Not much has changed in this restaurant since that day in 1940 when they converted the oven to natural gas, and that’s a good thing. When you’re producing the best pizza in NYC, you don’t want to change what you’re doing. Please don’t change anything Louie, don’t change a goddamn thing. And as long as you don’t, this will remain the best pizza in new york city.
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If you like laughing and also love soccer, check out this channel I started along with Christian Polanco called The Cooligans. We also have a podcast you can listen to as well as a youtube channel you can watch. You can also join our mailing list to stay up to date on our weekly round-up of what we do and what’s happening in the sport of soccer!