Great photos and reviews! Thanks & keep them coming! My read is that, for NY slice ( not neopolitan ) Pizza Town has the early lead! Interesting that Best didn't do it for you Chau
Mark, from what I have read and just tasted, it appears that there are 2 categories to the NY slice. One with a softer, more blonde rim, softer bottom that is less brown and crispy. If this is so, I would put Best into this category. Now that I think of it, I clearly remember Best's crust and crumb. The crumb was rather dense, soft and slightly chewy, although the rim was very small and not large. It's as though this crust had no oil in it and a moderately low hydration.
The 2nd (sub)category for the NY slice style clearly has a crispy crunchy bottom. Still foldable, but clearly cracks when you fold it. It may soften up as it sits, but out of the oven it is crispy and even dark as seen by the bottom shot of New Park's slice. Now I think that pie was ordered extra crispy or well done, so it was perhaps baked that way on purpose, but even if it wasn't baked so dark, it would have still been crispy on the bottom. This was also true of Pizza town's and Totonno's pie. The Totonno's pie we ordered (and can be seen in Norma's pics) is not as dark as they normally serve. This one I clocked at 5 minutes while Scott timed one just under 6minutes. The one we had was clearly crispy as well when it was sliced. I could hear it from across the room. If they normally bake em darker, then the crispiness would be even more so. This can't be a coincidence. This crispiness, I favor and crave. This seems to be in direct contrast from the description of slices that I have read about NY slices with the crust light blonde or even white and a very soft bottom. Now if you take one of these crispy pies, par bake it light, let it sit in a display counter, then do a really quick reheat at low temps, then I can see the lost of crispiness and what folks would describe as just foldable and soft. Perhaps Scott and others can clear this up for me.
I probably shouldn't have said better or best, but according to my taste, I much preferred Pizza Town and New Park, and even Totonno's over Best.
I hope other's will chime in on what their favorites were among the different styles and places.
You guys are fanatics! Thanks for sharing some of your NYC adventure. Can anybody give a description of the ovens in the pics? It look to me like a Farrara, an a Acuna, maybe an Ambrogi, a hand built...? What temps were they running, what kind of wood, etc.?
Grimaldi, perhaps others who are familar with ovens can tell you what each place uses. As far as temps, I didn't see anyone check temps with an IR gun at any of the places. In working with the ovens daily, I'm sure the oven guys get a feel for the temps and how the oven is baking on any particular night based on the size of the coals and fire so checking temps is not needed. Most of the NP pies were baked between 70s and sub 2 minutes, which should put their temps between 800-900F or so. That is only a rough range. I only asked about wood at Vesta, and Frank said they use a mixture of hardwoods. I'm sure hard wood is hard wood though as long as it is seasoned wood. As far as I know, the different woods do not impart different flavors to the crust. As far as a smokiness to the pies from WFO's, there is a distinct char flavor from the pies from wood fire ovens, but I am fairly certain it is due to the char and leoparding spots on the crust as oppose to any smokiness that the pie takes on from being domed or in direct contact with the smoke in the oven. The distinct taste of char is favored by some that can be easily confused for "smokiness" from WFOs.