Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NY Pizza Suprema: "Sometimes the 'Greatest Hits' actually are the best."

My last slice harvesting expedition, I set out on an overwhelmingly hot Saturday afternoon with my friends Eliza and BBC. Eliza is a total champion of a human. She draws these incredible fliers, is like, a wildly amazing cook, and years ago she made these homemade choco tacos that I probably still talk about like, four times a year because they were so awesome. Eliza is a really wonderful and caring person and I am super thrilled that she is a part of my life. And she also just walked into the bar, where I am sitting in the AC, drinking a seltzer, writing this review, and told me that she just biked to Maspeth and back just to get one of her favorite slices, so you know she's DEDICATED to the cause.

BBC, who's name stands for Big Brother Chris and not British Broadcasting System, is a mysterious and handsome gentleman. For years, I would see him around at shows and think, "who is that tall, dashing, greasy-haired man?" Then I saw him singing for his old band Tender Wizards and thought "woah, so this beautiful, beatific greaseball is also an incredible performer and songsmith?" And then I found out he is also a scientist working on a particle collider and I realized that he is not only ruggedly handsome and talented but also a genius.

Well, they met me at my house and we embarked on what should have been a very short trip up to 34th Street but ended up being a veritable Odyssey of Transit Tribulations. But unlike Odysseus, who's travails were the fault of bad luck and the whims of fickle, petty deities, our obstacles were purely the result of our own incompetence at navigating a transit system we have all been familiar with, all of us for At Least well over a decade, if not our whole lives. It might be easy to point fingers at the MTA, to say that we were unwitting victims of service cuts which were the results of a blundering, inept and unwieldy bureaucracy, but that would be too easy, and too false. For we all know, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is in charge of the most incredible system of buses and trains known to mankind past, present or future, and they are free of blemishes on their record of public service. It's the ungrateful public to blame for not properly respecting their intricate system of information dispersal in the form of posters with difficult sentence structure placed on obscure parts of the train platform, a system that has worked wonderfully thus far, so WHY CHANGE IT?

But we did finally arrive, after about two hours of standing on platforms waiting for trains that never came and riding ones that didn't quite go where we expected them to. When we finally stepped out of the underground into the blazing afternoon sun at Herald Square, we all felt a little bit of comfort knowing that we were at least not alone in our mistake, that we had f'ed up, if you will, together.


As we approached 8th Ave, and our first destination, NY Pizza Suprema, the first thing we noticed was the huge banner above the awning of that says, among other things, "Awarded One of the 10 BEST PIZZAS IN N.Y.C." and it immediately made me want to hate the place. I am certainly distrustful of such brazen boastfulness, and the last time I went to a place that made any claims towards pizza supremacy was Presidential Pizza, which was obviously a "your textbook is full of lies" situation. Point being, I was immediately skeptical.


And when the pizzaman handed me my slice right off the tray with little fanfare, I figured I had assessed correctly. What kind of Top 10 BEST PIZZAS IN NYC just comes right off the tray and doesn't get thrown back in the oven for a sec to put a little heat on? But this slice just didn't need it. Even straight out of the oven, the slice at Suprema had that crisp crunch one expects from a good slice. The ratios on this slice were superb, there was ample grease, and the whole thing was moist without being sloppy. The sauce, which BBC thought might be the best part (though none of us could consense on a BEST part of this delectable slice), was integrated very nicely with the cheese, (which was absolutely delish), so that they were slightly discernible from one and other in flavor, but still totally enmeshed, creating a wonderful texture atop the crispness of the crust. And the crust's flavor, it was unstoppable!

The slice was so good, that we decided to get a second, which is a first in Slice Harvester History. For our second slice, since we had already rated a regular, we decided to venture out from plain territory, although stay close to traditional pizza fare and we got a pepperoni slice which was also phenomenal, though not quite as mindblowing as the plain.


It's no wonder that the slice is so good, looking at the website, where they have a short essay about Suprema's history that is charming, rather than cloying and insipid, that doesn't seem to try too hard, rather than grasping desperately at any notion of false pizza authenticity they can garner. Opened in 1964 by Salvatore Riggio, according to the website, "from 1964 and all the way up to 1988, Sal only served plain cheese slices." Because, according to Sal, you gotta "do one thing and do it better than anyone else." The place is now run by Sal's son, who has apparently been making pizza since he was ten years old. And he is obviously upholding his father's legacy, despite having bowed to the public's desire for toppings, because this place is still incredible.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm buying into some kind of hype, here. The truth is, like I said, I was so skeptical of this place to start, and I didn't know any of this history when I walked in the door with my two friends. But the place really just won me over so well that the charming history just accents my initially positive experience. Either way, this slice is GREAT and if you are a connoisseur of simple street pizza, it is worth going out of your way to try it out.

Rating:
7.30 Update: I ran into Eliza at BBC's birthday party last night and we both talked about how good this slice was, and about how badly we wanted to go back there. And I decided to bump it up to an 8 from a 7.5, which makes it the first slice to get a perfect 8 review, since I instituted the 8-Slice Rating System.

NY Pizza Suprema - $2.50
413 8th Ave (30th & 31st)
New York, NY 10001

33 comments:

  1. presidential sucks so much! it was good (or at least way better) three years ago before it changed owners like two years ago and started to suck. they always had that whack review thing though, but if you went to yahoo reviews i think it did list them as number one somehow.

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  2. Pizza Suprema is truly the Best New York style
    slice in the city. No one even comes close. You should have given it an 8. There is nothing better out there. Next time try there upside down pie and their fresh mozzarella...out of this world. Joe's doesn't even come close. All othere must bow down to the Mighty Suprema!

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  3. I tried it due to this review and it's some good shit. Crust is crunchy and sauce was delicious. Just needed to wait for the slice to cool so it doesn't burn the roof of my mouth down.

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  4. been going for years...one of the little hidden charms on 8th ave

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  5. You haven't had real pizza until you have been SUPREMED!!! The regular slice is the flagship, but right behind are the fresh mozz and upside down slice! Then just wash it down with nice old school fountain coke!

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  6. sal was a really nice guy - i got to chat with him a couple of times while i frequented this place before he passed away. his son joe's really cool too. I'm glad this place is doing well - it's the only decent slice in that area. the fresh mozz slice and the upside down and marinara sicilian slices are also incredible, so make sure you try them too. they use a different and incredibly tasty sauce for the sicilian ones.

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  7. Wow what a slice 2.50 is a good deal best pizza I had ever had fresh ,hot tasty best pizza on earth @Kidd.

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  8. On the Slice Harvester's "perfect slice" recommendation, I figured I HAD to give this place a try. Fortunately, my son needed some pants, and both Old Navy and H & M are nearby, so earlier today I made the short trip from those crowded stores to here. WOW!! Pizza nirvana. Absolutely one of the best pizzas I have ever had, slice or whole pie.

    This place is the sweet Yin to the Upper West Side Sal's salty Yang. (funny how both places were owned by guys named Sal who have since passed away. I wound up over-stuffing myself with THREE slices and a small root beer.

    BTW, only downer: Only a limited selection of fountain sodas to be had here. No bottles or cans that I could see, and he was also out of fountain iced tea.

    Bravo Slice Harvester, you are my pizza hero.

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  9. Oh, I forgot to mention. In case you didn't know, there is a giant blow up of the rave Slice Harvester review in the front of this place, along with several not quite so giant blow ups of other rave reviews from various books and media.

    I have no idea what the legalities of your copyright on this blog protects you from, but I hope they at least informed you that they were going to extensively quote you.

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  10. The Pizza here is AMAZING. They use awesome ingredients, 3 different sauces, and don't make anything other than pizza and rolls. I think its really cool they they blew up Slice Harvester's Review. It promotes the pizza place and Slice Harvester as well. I wouldn't be so quick to try and flex legal muscle if there was no permission to post the reviews because the owner is also an attorney. What would be the point anyway? Talk about being petty! Everyone benefits including people like ronwass above who didn't even know the place existed.

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  11. When did I say anyone should sue? Peace brother anonymous.

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  12. Oh yeah! This is my favorite pizza place. I agree with BBC about the sauce - that's my favorite part too. And I agree with your assessment about everything else. Why can't others do pizza like this? And what's more: this place is CONSISTENT. I've NEVER had a disappointing slice here. Go again sometime and see. :^)

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  13. I have no idea what people are talking about. Just tried a cheese slice from this place.

    It was just okay. Better than the average disgusting corner pizza place? - sure - much better? - no way

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  14. Because of your recommendation I ate at ny pizza surprema last night before heading into msg and you are dead on it is a great slice ……….I hope you keep up your great work on informing us on where to fine a good/great slice around the city and I have to thank you for that so thank you…………………

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  15. I loved my slice Pizza Suprema! I think my favorite was called "Grandma Pizza" when I visit NYC again that place will be my only choice again.

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  16. Yeah, I tend to agree with poster from January 10, 2011: meh. It was a good slice, fresh, hot, crunchy medium to thin crust, gooey cheese, quality ingredients. But the best slice? Nope.

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  17. WOW, WOW, WOW! This slice brought me back to my childhood. I was brought up in Brooklyn and have watched the quality of the slice really go down the tubes in both Brooklyn and Manhattan as well. I haven't had a slice this good in about 20 years! I think this one was probably better than the one I had 20 years ago. Nice thin, slightly charred yet bendable crust, with a terrific sweet yet tangy sauce with a zingy not overwhelming amount of cheese.
    Slice Harvester you know your Pizza!

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  18. LOL!! I Vety much repect any big city in this country and NYC is right there at and in my opinion NEAR the top, WELL above LA and Houston or Philly and Just behind Chicago. NYC Pizza?? Great!
    . It is not as good or diverse as Chicago`s Pizza (I know New yorkers will rip this) but it`s true. New yorkers just know about the "Popular" Chicago Joints. The "Hole in the wall" Joints KICK AS*! Deep Dish, Cracker thin and Medium Crust, they are all Great! If any of you can open your mind just a little i can give you 20 pizza joints that have been around since the 10`s or 20`s that have not changed a bit. If they have, they have actually gotten better.

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  19. ongrats to these people. That must have been Great to do. NYC Pizza is awesone.

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  20. dude! our animation studio just moved to 27th and 7th this week. it's about time i try this slice, today is the day!

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  21. the slice harvester does not lie! the sauce alone blew my brains right out of my skull. amazing! i love how many little plaques with your article on it they have around the shop too!

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  22. i love my Joe's ... its the best. Been eating it for years. ill try this place and let you know....

    Much Love, The Bezinator!

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  23. I'm going tonight too -- we'll see how it stacks up to Joe's. I'll unzip for a slice.

    SJAZBAH

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  24. EXCELLENT slice and quite near home, too. How I missed this place all these years is beyond me but it's wonderful. My faves are the fresh mozz and the upside-down Sicilian. And Joe's a total sweetheart--I hope his kids will be consider perpetuating the business when they grow up.

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  25. I just started working near Suprema and I am so stoked for this pizza on the reg. This morning I noticed that they have Slice Harvester zines up on the wall, and medals of honor!

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  26. No wonder why you stopped reviewing pizzerias........if you think this place is the best, you have no idea what good pizza is. I mean seriously? Have you ever had a good slice of pizza? Sauce was great (I'll give them that), and that's as far as it goes. The crust was way overcooked (ie: almost burnt) and didn't really have any flavor. Yes, it's crunchy.....maybe too crunchy? Yes, too crunchy. Crunchy like when you try to fold it in half, it breaks. Sorry, that's not good. Cheese was standard fare. $3 for a PLAIN average sized slice is HIGHWAY ROBBERY even in NYC. The sign outside says "REAL ITALIAN PIZZA" but I've been here twice (one time too many), and never saw anyone but Hispanic-Americans (not that there's anything wrong with that) that don't understand English too well, behind the counter. Pizza was the same both times, SUB-PAR! Won't bother a third time. I really hate how some hipster Pizza-blog guy can claim some place is amazing (even when it's clearly not) and all the sudden they get a line out the door and charge double what everyone else charges. I like ALL varieties of pizza styles, but this place comes up short on all counts. I have been making better pizza in my home oven for many years. This place was a serious, I mean SERIOUS letdown. Unfortunately, now I can't trust any of your other reviews.

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  27. Jajajajajaja! Lo siento, amigo. No habla ingles.

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  28. After reading the Pizza Harvester review, I was excited to try their slice. Unfortunately, my slice had an unappealing tasteless dry/ cardboard- textured crust, cloyingly-sweet sauce and mediocre pizza chain cheese. It had definitely been cooked and reheated but the sauce alone would have made a fresher pie unpalatable. I give it only one star as I took three bites ( I kept hoping to find something good about it) and threw out the rest. Has it changed?

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  29. The only person who would say that this is not an awesome slice has to either be the competition or just someone who is just a jealous ass. You are so on sliceharvester. Went here based on your recomendation and it was that best slice I ever had and Ive had a lot of pizza. Great work!

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  30. Went the other day, as I am prone to, when I am in the mood for a walk during lunch. I have been going here approximately once every other month since this review was originally posted. The pizza is amazing -- truly the best I have had in Manhattan in many years. I am thrilled I found it, thanks to you. So last week, when I was there, I had the pleasure of meeting Joe, the owner. He was very friendly as he asked if I was enjoying my slices (it must have been obvious that I was). I told him that I had discovered the place from this site and that it reminded me of the pizza of my youth growing up in NYC -- when pizza was good and fresh and italian in a lot of neighborhood joints. Those days are over, but I'm glad there's still pizza suprema and I was glad to meet the owner so I could thank him for his great product, and beautiful, clean, well run business. Old NY lives on!! Can't wait to go back as the weather gets warmer!

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  31. I went here with 3 of my friends the other day - we were all on a day trip from Philly and were walking back to Penn Station from Chelsea to catch our train. Me and the other pizza snob with me checked out and rejected 3 other places along the way (much to the annoyance of the other two guys) and finally came upon Pizza Suprema. When we sat down at the table with our slices, we saw the Slice Harvester reviews and I knew right away before even taking a bite that we were in for some good pizza. We loved it! I had a plain slice, my fiance had a plain slice, and our one other friend had a sausage slice. We all agreed it was great and the Penn Station location made it convenient for us out of towners. I'll definitely return.

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