Posted by: Orlick | May 14, 2010

Staten Island Pizza – Victory Blvd is mine – D’Oro, Paesano’s, Goodfellas, Classic by the Lake

Last year’s Staten Island tour was easy to decide. The island is notably famous for about 6 pizzerias. First Joe & Pat’s, you gotta go there, and Denino’s is a must, Lee’s Tavern switches it up but still is knowingly undercover and up there with the best, then Jimmy Max was a place I explored and was taken by it’s bar pie. That Jimmy Max adventure was the only exploratory tour I needed to do. I didn’t realize it, but I basically lifted last year’s tour from the official SINY pizza tour. We rounded out the tour with the new kid on the block, who was just starting to get some top 20 lists, Salvatore of Soho. And that tour was great. I recommend it to anyone who steps into Staten Island.

But according to the rules of the 5-Boro Pizza Tour, only one moves on. I don’t expect the quality to diminish, but I do expect more pizzerias which aren’t on the common pizza map. These exploratory tours are filled with much more speculation. Most pizza is very good in Staten Island, so it’s nearly a joy doing these rides – not like Manhattan tours where I’m going on the basis of tourists who don’t know their pizza and spout off their experience by saying Now that was a real NY slice! And not like the the Bronx where most recommenders will say Yeah, it’s great – for the Bronx…. Here, it’s great pizza all around, but it’s more difficult to find the 5 standouts because i’m drawing from a much bigger pool and I hear about new pizza every week lately. There is definitely room for another tour.

The next 5 for Staten Island have to measure up to top-tier – I wouldn’t put anything less than excellence on the tour. My method is to follow as many leads as I can, no voice too small, and be open minded to many people’s idea’s of what is the best pizza.

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Victory is a crazy ride. There are massive hills. I’d love to take it on a day with no cars. I’d go as fast as the roads will let me. But for you, I’d make sure to have good brakes before riding here, some of the roads you encounter are impossible to navigate across by your leisure. As a cyclist, you have to do something difficult: wait for green.

I came across this piece of excellent signage. The black, red and white paint on the lightbox had to be good, right? I stopped in for some road slice and was greeted by 3 older ladies splitting a pie. How quaint. The owner was easily Italian, conversing the language with a customer who came in and out.

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Classic by the Lake, 1264 Clove Rd

The slice wasn’t tour worthy, but still excellent. It was very thin, cheesy with a great coastline and a fluffy, buttery crust. The cheese is thicker than the crust at some points, and looking at the bottom, at times it becomes transparent. Is it a Brooklyn style on Staten island? I don’t know, but it’s one of the best.

Strange pricing though – $2.18 for a slice of pizza? I know the taxman is on your back, but c’mon, what am I gonna do with all these pennies? Just make sign say “Price includes tax”, or charge me 2 more cents convenience charge.

Looking through the menu, they’ve got some enticing pies like The Good and Fishy with fresh clams, shrimp, garlic, mozzarella, sauce and optional hot cherry peppers. Also their Al Capone pizza: “Our Chicago style pizza with sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, meatball, onion, green peppers, mozzarella and sauce.” I bet these are great here. Let’s go back.
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Goodfella’s, 1817 Victory Blvd

You can’t walk out of here without knowing that it’s the “World’s Best”. They’ve been winning competitions for years and proudly display signs of their accomplishments everywhere. These pies are available to try: Pizza alla Vodka (Best in America 1994-1995), Sally Pie (#1 in America 2001), and World’s Best Pizza Smokin’ Goodfella’s (World’s Best 2007). Now, these aren’t blanketing surveys like the 5-Boro Pizza Tour, no, they are competitions where proud men come together in Las Vegas or another gambling capitol and judge another’s specialty pizza. There’s probably an entrance fee, and if any old world pizza makers were there, I’d be heavily surprised. All of these new pizzaiolos competing with what they can put on top of the pie, when all I want to consider is the pie itself.

But for their standard, it’s just good, not great, fellas. Take it easy with the signage. An individual pie is about as filling as 1.5 Bronx slices, which also equals about 3 or 4 regular slices. I’m not putting them down for this, Bronx slices are huge. I’m just offering up a comparison, and trying to show how filling it is to have one yourself. Which I did here, along with the 3 other slices of the Victory tour.

Getting down to business: The old world style is actually a scrumptious pie. Thick sauce, sometimes strong. Cornmeal crusted and fluffy. They’ve got the homemade mozzarella, the wood burning oven, the San Marzano tomatoes, all checks. And even the love, it appears to be there. It reminds me of the previously incomparable Dee’s Pizza in Forest Hills. Unfortunately, this mini-chain based in Staten Island, tolerable because they keep it relatively real, for some reason just doesn’t have the grace I want it to.

Dark wood is the main construction element and cloth napkins make this restaurant lean towards having class. I haven’t been to the original on Hylan, but I imagine it’s in a similar style. And the workers were nice as anything. You can tell that they take pride in where they work – “The World’s Best Pizza” place.

It’s lovely. I’m sure it is. But I’m gonna pass. Their best is a gimmick. The World’s Best, I mean. To me, it feels more for kid taste buds and Disneyland than the Staten Island standard, Joe & Pats. Still good though.

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paesanos
Paesano’s Pizzeria, 12 Bradley Avenue

This was probably my favorite of this Victory Blvd trip.
As far as pizza style, it is in direct competition with Joe & Pat’s. But this is much less pretty, looking like an unassuming neighborhood slice shop. You would never think this is something special passing by. Joe and Pat has the rotating oven and the pretty walls. They’ve both got the pizza.

Excellent cracker crust. Not extremely thin, but still a cracker. If you were to tell God you’ve made a cracker crust pizza, this is something you’d be proud to present. On top, it’s saucy with strong sauce and the cheese holds it own. They actually have a regular regular slice, but I figure this striped one is their standard slice and the other is just to pacify hardheads.

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pizza d'oro
Pizza D’Oro, 3115 Victory Boulevard

One of my favorite eating environments of the year. Huge lettering on the front. When the font is abnormally large like this, it is usually in direct correlation with the satisfaction of the slice. Show me a huge font and a crap slice and I will be filled with disappointment.

Immediately inside, it’s a long counter fronted by friendly mature ladies. Walking to the back, you see 3 arcade machines: Street Fighter II, Pac Man (of course), and a variety machine. Only 2 were operational. In front of them were the classic orange tables, and to the side, up a few stairs, was separate dining room with just as charming wood seating. It felt like a house converted to a pizzeria. How can you deny that?
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They offer a mega slice, comparable in size to a Bronx slice, but it costs $3.50. I think I was spoiled in the Bronx with their extra large pizza, charging no premium for size. Here it is novelty, so they are justified in the price hike. This costs almost double their regular slice, which is still at year 2005 price of $2.00

This slice actually looks better than it tastes. But only because I would rate the visuals of this slice in the elite top-tier of fluffy, bubbly pies. It’s got a lovely crust, yes. And a beautiful coastline with bubble boulders all along the shore. It’s a North Shore Long Island coastline.

This was certainly the thickest pizza of the day. If you like your slice chewy, this could be a best in the city for you. This crust will knock you out based on it’s doughy texture, though lacking in flavor. Fortunately, the great sauce partially makes up for it. And it may have been the the pie’s length of time sitting on the counter, but my slice had a gelatinous layer between the dough and toppings. I’d consider it middle America style, nearly camp pizza, but using Staten Island water. And that’s why it’s great. I wouldn’t pass this up on my way anywhere.

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hi

Links:
Last year’s Staten Island Pizza Tour wrap-up
Staten Island New York Pizza Tours
My interview with Larry Amrosino of SINY pizza tours
Yelp reviews of D’Oro
A SI pizza tour with Scott from Scott’s Pizza Tours on See Pizza, Eat Pizza
Gmap pedometer – see your elevation (Victory rises nearly 300 feet)
NYC Subway Fare History – correlates to the price of a slice

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Responses

  1. $2.18 for a slice of pizza? Yeah, that’s so odd! Love this in-depth write up. And I’m really interested in trying that cracker crust. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that!

    But seriously, are the slices worth leaving Brooklyn for?

  2. is it worth it to travel over an hour for any one slice? that’s a debate.
    but you should find an excuse to get over to SI. I love it there. make your own lil pizza tour.

  3. […] 5-Boro Pizza Tour main page 2010 Staten Island Pizza Tour Map Last year’s tour Victory Blvd Exploratory Tour […]


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