Before I begin today's post I'd like to extend my thanks and gratitude to Winnifred O'Connell and her children and their children for taking me in on St. Patrick's Day, and to Janet O'Connell in particular for having raised one of my favorite people ever. The inner warmth provided by a crowded table and a good meal was not even eclipsed by the inner warmth provided by the fine Irish whiskey we drank. I find the general buffoonery of St. Patty's somewhat offensive and distasteful, and if I'm not mistaken, St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland is actually a metaphor for him killing off pagans and other non-christian folks, which is problematic to say the least. But any excuse to sit around and talk shit with someone else's awesome family is great and I'll take it. Not to mention corned beef and cabbage is like, hands down one of the best meals around.
When I saw Buk's awning, I thought, "another one bites the dust." I didn't even look inside, I just said to Aaron, "well, I guess we'll just go find the next place. This obviously isn't a pizzeria anymore."
But he was all, "I don't know, it looks like they serve slices."
And sure enough, I looked in the door and there was a pizza oven and all the accouterments of a pizzeria, though the place looked bizarrely fancy. We ordered our slice from this guy, and then he followed us to a table with it. The back opened up into a pretty big space and there was like, a bartender and well-dressed waiter standing around waiting for ANY CUSTOMERS. But we were not them, we sat at the weird tables in the front reserved for pizza eaters.
I'm not sure if this is actually pizza. It's like someone in New York called their cousin in Kosovo and was like, "Here in America, there is this thing called pizza and it is delicious." And then described it. And then Kosovar cousin was enthralled with the idea and he told his best friend about it, and then the best friend thought it sounded rad and so she mentioned it to her mom, and then the mom told her boss and the boss told his nephew and the nephew came to New York and opened this pizza place. And somewhere in that elaborate game of telephone, the true essence of pizza was lost and we got what we have here. Since the conflicts in Yugoslavia in the 90s, when there was mass immigration from that region to America, there has been an abundance of Albanian pizzeria owners, and they hold it down. This is actually a topic that Aaron is fascinated with and brings up all the time, so it was remarkably appropriate that he and I ate here.
This is possibly the greasiest slice I've ever eaten. The cheese was a totally strange texture from being way overcooked. It kind of felt like plastic. And the dough was so overdone it was brittle like a flatbread. None of it tasted burnt, though, so I have to imagine this is a deliberate decision. Maybe, rather than being the typical Albanian owned, Italian-style pizzeria, this place is trying to make Albanian-style pizza. It wasn't bad, but it was not what I was expecting at all. I might come back here and try some other food, though.
Buk - $2.50
55 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019