Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pizza Mercato: "A pleasant surprise from an old standby."

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I went pizza eating alone. It was actually a really nice time, and I think I'm going to do it more often. In this hustley-bustley city, I rarely, if ever, spend some quality time by myself, unless I'm on my bicycle, and then I'm usually commuting to or from somewhere, even then I'm oftentimes riding with someone else. But walking around the city alone on a chilly winter day gave me lots of room to think and assess, especially immersing myself in the panic of last-minute holiday shoppers and end-of-semester students.

It's fitting that my first stop on this lonesome day was Pizza Mercato, as I have eaten many a lonely slice there. It was a favorite of the punks, if we managed to venture East of Broadway, because of the incredible two-slice deal. Back then it was two slices and a small soda for $3.00. The price has gone up to $3.95, but that's still a hell of a deal. I haven't been there in 4 or 5 years, probably, but I remember the pizza being an awful mess. Too brittle, covered in cornmeal, dry as a bone, just like the other Pizza Mercato that I already reviewed!  But still, two slices and a rootbeer for $3.00 was hard to pass up, especially after the average slice price went up to $2.00 and Mercato's deal stuck. What a bargain!

Maybe the management read my review of their other joint, and this change is recent, but in the years since I have been here, the pizza has improved from Tolerable to Barely Good. This slice was not super cornmealy and it had great ratios. It was cooked to have a decent crunch, there was enough elasticity in the cheese, and a perfect amount of grease! Still, there was something lingeringly lackluster about the whole thing, but I couldn't figure out what it was until I got to the final bites, where the cheese had run its course and there was only crust and sauce. It was the sauce. The sauce, which I couldn't taste for the bulk of the slice (thank goodness), tasted totally paste-y! Yuck! Pee-yew! Gezundheit!


Pizza Mercato - $2.25
11 Waverly Pl (at Mercer)
New York, NY 10003

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