"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Taster’s Cherce

All I wanted was a slice, is that too much to ask?

I got off the R train at Union street in Brooklyn and walked up to Fifth avenue. But the pizza shop on the corner–Fifth Avenue Pizza–was closed. So I turned left, in the direction of Flatbush avenue. Four-and-a-half blocks later I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t passed a Pizzeria. On a commercial street chock full of restaurants no less. 

I didn’t want to keep moving away from Union street, where I was eventually headed, so I doubled-back, crossed over Union Street and continued on, figuring, again, a pizzeria would be a stone’s throw away.

Nope. Nada. Bubkus. I was apoplectic, hating hipster Brooklyn like never before, when I finally found a spot, on 3rd Street just off Fifth Avenue called Villa Rustica. I went in and ordered a couple of slices and sat down to eat.

Now, unless I’m at a fancy pizza shop, one of those places that claims to be “the best,” I’m not overly picky. What I’m looking for is a representative slice. Something I could offer an out-of-towner as an example of a good New York City slice. (Talk about a new spin on VORP–value above replacement pizza!) Well, the slice at Villa Rustica was just that–and better than any of the local pizza I have around my way in the Bronx.

It wasn’t spectacular, didn’t re-invent the wheel, but it was satisfying and delicious and it made my anger go away.

Ah, the restorative powers of a good, representative, New York City slice.

[photo credit: akuban]

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Taster's Cherce

Tags:  brooklyn  pizza

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1 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 17, 2010 1:31 pm

And as fate would have it, when I walked back Union street later to catch the R train back into Manhattan I saw a pizza shop next to where I exited the subway hours earlier. So I guess I'm the schmuck.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 17, 2010 1:53 pm

Oh, and full disclosure, I stole that VORP line from Diane...and didn't give her credit. I'm a HERB!!

3 rbj   ~  Mar 17, 2010 1:56 pm


OT, Knoblauch is a putz:

"HOUSTON -- Former major league infielder Chuck Knoblauch has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault on his common-law wife."


4 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 17, 2010 2:01 pm


and Rangers mgr. Ron Washington isn't much better


"Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine in a Major League Baseball-administered drug test, SI.com reported today. Washington confirmed to SI that he did test positive."


Not a good influence for Josh Hamilton :-(

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 17, 2010 2:05 pm

better than Sal's?!

Alex, why you gotta do the Albanians on Riverdale Ave like that?

6 rbj   ~  Mar 17, 2010 2:11 pm

[4] Ouch. I want to pull for Jush, it looks like he's succeeding at recovery. He doesn't need any sort of temptations in his way.

7 festus   ~  Mar 17, 2010 2:12 pm

You was in my hood! Tomato n Basil is the one right by the R at Union, which can be hit or miss, but I generally think it's fine. I live around the corner from Villa Rustica but have never tried it, so I will. Also, La Villa, on 5th Ave, close to 1st Street, has really good pizza. In general, though, I think the food in the neighborhood is kinda mediocre.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 17, 2010 2:12 pm

Sal's is my go-to, but I'd rate the BK slice as superior.

9 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 17, 2010 2:25 pm

I lived in the Slope, on 1st street between 6th and 7th, from 1994 to 2007. Yesterday was the first time I had been back in the nabe since then. Sigh ...

10 The Hawk   ~  Mar 17, 2010 3:40 pm

I used to live on Carroll St and there was no decent pizza there for the longest time. That one that was closed on 5th stunk. And this was before it was inundated with restaurants and families and fifth ave was dotted with people hanging out on lawn chairs on hot summer nights ... (I wouldn't characterize that area as hipster, judging from the available nightlife and inability to walk down the sidewalk in the daytime without being pushed aside by stroller caravan after stroller caravan).

Anyway the one by the subway was the first okay one to open up. But even that is a bit of a hike. Pretty annoying. I used to spend all my pizza time at the bageltique or whatever it's called.

11 The Hawk   ~  Mar 17, 2010 3:40 pm

[10] I should say home-owning families. There were always families, duh

12 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 17, 2010 3:59 pm

Pino's on 7th Avenue was my pizza jernt of cherce ...


13 ms october   ~  Mar 17, 2010 4:00 pm

[0] a "representative slice" - haha alex you sound like kenny singleton :}

finding a good slice in new york should be easy as well pie. but not always the case.
i am moving next week and i really hope i can find a good pizza shop near me - the crust better not taste like a shoe.

14 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 17, 2010 4:03 pm

Value over replacement pizza. You know, I finally understand VORP in baseball thatnks to that analogy. Thanks HERB (and Diane).

15 The Hawk   ~  Mar 17, 2010 4:04 pm

[12] Yeah that place is good enough. Too far to walk for a slice though, for me.

16 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 17, 2010 4:12 pm


well ... it was 1) right around the block from my house and 2) open reasonably late most nights ...

during the 2003 blackout, they were one of the few businesses still operating .... whatta scene

17 The Hawk   ~  Mar 17, 2010 4:15 pm

[16] Technically I guess it's the same neighborhood but if I gotta walk 10 minutes for a slice of pizza, something aint right. Well anyway looks like that's been rectified but I don't live there anymore either so it's too late for me!

18 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 17, 2010 4:49 pm

Hawk, you are right, it's not a hipster hood. More like yuppie. My bad.

19 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 17, 2010 6:00 pm

The pizza tales coming from the Banter make me cry every time..you just CAN'T get a proper slice anywhere outside New York..there are many "Italian" pizzerias here, all with proper brick ovens, imported olive oil, Italy-trained chefs (when the Japanese study cooking, they go the whole way!), but no one understands that a real "slice" is still much better!

20 rbj   ~  Mar 17, 2010 8:15 pm

[19] It ain't just fair, Tokyo. Every place I've lived not in NY (and I'll include the Hudson Valley & northern Jersey in "NY") hasn't measured up. I blame the rise of chains like Dominos & Pizza Hut, et al.

21 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 18, 2010 12:13 am

[20] There actually were quite a few great pizza places in the Hudson Valley when I was growing up. I bet most of the original owners retired and passed it on to their kids or new folk who were not quite as inclined to put in the effort to make it remain great, especially as you said with Domino's rearing its ugly head. Remember when Domino's was like sheetrock slavered with gravy and old shaving cream? And when Pizza Hut was really strawberry shortcake on a used sponge? Oh wait...

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