Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Joe's Pizza of Bleecker Street NYC - New York Style Pizza - Santa Monica, CA

Being a native East Coaster, I have come to notice that there are certain city specific foods that just aren't available here on the left coast. Well, it's not that they're not represented at all; it's that they're just not represented well. The first things that come to mind are Philadelphia Cheesesteaks (Pat's is KING in my book!), Buffalo Wings, and of course New York Style Pizza. In the 2 years that i've lived in SoCal i've tried several places that advertise that they make an authentic New York Style Pizza but they've all fallen short, despite having owners that were themselves Native New Yorkers. What's up with that? I had all but given up on the idea of finding an authentic slice of New York Style Pizza here in California and was starting to think that maybe there really was something in the water that just made everything taste different here. That is, until Joe's Pizza of Bleecker Street opened up shop in Santa Monica.

In my younger years, I spent many a late night out and about in New York City. While hangin out with the P.I.C. boys after a great show at Arlene's Grocery on the Lower East Side, there's nothing that satisfies that late night, drunken hunger like a good slice of New York Pizza. What really differentiates New York Pizza from other pizzas is the thin and crispy crust and the large, foldable slices. You can usually get toppings if you wish, but for me the true NY pizza experience is had with the "plain" version...just straight sauce and cheese. I've tried it with toppings added (and I usually LOVE toppings on pizza, especially the meats) but for NY Pizza plain is the way to go. There's something about the purity of just sauce and cheese that fits perfectly with the NY style crust. I think it's the fact that the crust is thin, and adding toppings has a tendency of overpowering the flavor of the crust. It's all about balance, really.

When my wife told me another NY Pizza joint had opened up shop in Santa Monica, I was a bit apprehensive. Many have tried, and so far all have failed at making an authentic NY Style Pizza here in California so what would make this place any different? One fine SoCal afternoon, I pushed the apprehension aside and my wife and I made the small trek up to Santa Monica from the South Bay to meet one of our foodie friends (who happens to be a native East Coaster as well) at Joe's Pizza. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised and the short trip was well worth it. We ordered a large pie (plain of course!) and some drinks. The smell in the place was fantastic, and the pizza definitely didn't disappoint. The hand-tossed crust was thin and perfectly crispy. The slices were nicely sized an the sauce and cheese tasted fresh and tasty. I wouldn't say it's 100% authentic to the pizza found on the streets of New York City but it's close, damn close. Probably as close as you're ever going to get being over 3000 miles away from the real deal. So, to any of you transplanted Native New Yorkers looking for a taste of home, or any one else looking for a taste of the Big Apple, check out Joe's Pizza. It's worth a try.

Now, for the negatives. Being in the touristy part of Santa Monica, parking is limited. The place is also really small and definitely fits the description of a "joint". There's only a few inside and outside tables so pray that when you go it's not busy. Or, you can order a pie and take it to go but honestly the pizza is best eaten when fresh out of the oven so you might lose a little something if you take it to go.

Joe's Pizza of Bleecker Street NYC
111 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401


Christine said...

hurrah! thanks so much Foodie don't know how happy you've made me by letting me know that this Joe's slice is not THAT far away anymore.

say - did you burn the roof of your mouth from excitement the way i do every time i get a fresh Joe's slice?

and the small size of the spot should not scare folks off. just chalk it up to the 'authenticity' factor since the real Joe's can take 15 ppl SRO.

more food!

ATChipmunk said...

Oh hell yeah. I scorch the roof of my mouth EVERY time. And it's worth it! Part of the true NYC pizza experience!