Monday, April 27, 2009

"New York" Style Pizza: Pizzeria Luigi

There are a few things that they do in New York better than anywhere else: 1. Bagels. 2. Corned beef/pastrami. 3. Pizza. (I'm sure that's not all, but I'm simplifying here.) I never eat a bagel outside of New York if I can help it for this very reason, am consistently disappointed by reubens, and accept that I can have "different" kinds of pizza outside of NY. Like Papa Johns or CPK. I like my gourmet pizza's too, the thin-crust kind that they also serve in places in NY like Serafina's or Patsy's.

But I love NY style pizza. I love that it's just the right thinness, with just the right amount of sauce and melty cheese, and a crust that is more crunchy than doughy, but still just the slightest amount of dough. I love the perfect garlicky flavor infused in the pizza. Some say it's the water. The brick ovens. Whatever it is, it's GOOD.

Yeah, it's slightly different everywhere. I love Famiglia's. I love Koronet's. I love this little hole in the wall place by where I used to work called La Strada (looks like a shithole, but the sauce in that pizza is perfection). I LOVE the pizza from an Italian restaurant near my apartment building (okay, granted that's in Hudson county, but still).

So when I came to SD, I stopped eating pizza. No joke. I think I had it once, for Super Bowl, where I ordered from this place across the street from me. It was all right. Better than Domino's, but definitely not NY style.

Then I heard of this place in Golden Hill called Pizzeria Luigi. First from a friend who saw it on the Food Channel, and then from another friend who lives literally a block away from it. Supposedly, I was told, they serve New York style pizza. So OF COURSE, I put it on my list of to-eats.

The place is nothing special to look at - it's eating area is small, although the area behind the counter is surprisingly large and bustling with people - very different from the cramped corridors of a NY pizzeria. Nonetheless.

I am accosted by interesting options in the display window, and ultimately decide for my two slices, an artichoke and marinara slice (to which I add fresh tomatoes) and a ricotta and spinach slice (to which I add mushrooms). The first is yummy, because I love artichokes and haven't gotten a normal slice with artichokes on it. It works well with the marinara on top, which sits there in dollops. Then I make the discovery about the spinach/ricotta one -- there's no marinara in it at all! It's a white pizza! And this is a problem because, well, the cheese isn't all that substantial. It tastes all right, but I miss my marinara.

That big black bump is a scorched bubble... of nothingness.

So I decide what I must do, to get a true account of this place, is to get a plain slice. I've satiated my hunger on the two slices, so this is definitely gratuitous. But, all in the name of research. My first bite of it, and I can tell a few things immediately: 1. Crust is a bit soggy. 2. Cheese is not melty or stringy enough. 3. Marinara is too sweet and not garlicky enough. Thus, my verdict is, it's good for a craving, but not quite right.

The true test is in the plain slice!

Of course, nothing can beat New York's.

On a side note though, they do offer an impressive range of bottled beers for pretty cheap, including my favorite, Chimay, and are open fairly late on a weekend. Which means you can just sit there and drink if you'd like. :)

Also, as an update: Just thought you might like to see the cupcake I got from Babycakes this past weekend - called the Black Bottom cupcake. Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and inside (on the bottom) is cream cheese cake with raspberries. Very good.

Cupcake with a Morrocan mint tea. Enjoyed on their outside patio with their wall art in the back!

Pizzeria Luigi
1137 25th St
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 233-3309

3766 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 296-4173


Barefoot Plumies said...

I've lived in SD for almost 18 years and have only found 1 place that makes really good pizza, Frankie's Deli on Mira Mesa. Although they've changed a few things these last couple of years and the pizzas aren't as good as they once were. Mind you we still feel it's the best still.

At least my quest for good pizza led me to learn how to make good pizza dough and marinara sauce at home.

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