This place looks like a perfect pizzeria. In my ideal New York, which is equal parts Last Poets, Last Exit To Brooklyn and last decade's Ninja Turtles movie, every pizza place would look like some variation of West 190 Pizza:
That Lemonade and Fruit Punch have probably been spinning in those machines since my Grandma Sylvia came through Ellis Island, fleeing the bad pizza and mediocre knishes of Nazi-occupied Poland. Notice the grease stains on that old newspaper-clipping documenting some spurious, pro-pizza, health science of yesteryear. A pizza shop should be a little messy and chaotic, not streamlined and well-groomed like that cop's eyebrows.
Despite the fact that there was nary a seat in the entire establishment, the guy behind the counter asked me if I'd like my pizza to stay or to go. "To stay," of course, and I handed the guy my $2.00. The slice was WAAAAY too hot to eat when I got it, which is a great sign that the slice will be adequately crispy. After a torturous waiting period staring at what looked like an awesome slice, I took a tentative first bite and slapped my forehead, because the slice was still definitely too hot, AND I had forgotten to take a picture of it before biting in. It just looked that good. So here is a picture of my soiled slice:
The thing that I noticed as soon as I picked the slice up was how greasy and soggy it was. The whole slice hung flaccid in my hands, and the cheese sagged loose over the bread like the skin on an old man's legs. But here's the thing: sometimes it's just time for a soggy, greasy slice. If it's done right, it can really hit the spot. But when the pizza is already mediocre and it also suffers from texture deficiencies, that's when things get rough. Despite being a soggy mess, this slice looked and smelled great.
And the first half of the slice was great, albeit a little too sweet. The textures and ratios were perfect. The floppiness I had initially noted when picking the slice up was a result of the soggy foundation being unable to support the firm and crisp apex. Because aside from the slightly overwhelming sweetness, the beginning of the slice was AMAZING. And while the middle was somewhat lackluster, the very end of the slice was this amazing, greasy, gooey mess that I couldn't help but love. It was like how I imagine Pizza In A Cup, which apparently nearly exists as I read recently that someone's selling Pizza In A Cone.
All in all, I wouldn't rush back there, but it was a decent enough slice for $2.oo and the atmosphere and people watching we excellent. I give this place a solid B.
1611 Saint Nicholas Avenue
New York, NY 10040