Friday, March 5, 2010

Foodie Fridays: N.Y.&C. Pizzeria

N.Y.&C. Pizzeria
1120 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-9099

Listen up, Westsiders! For this edition of Foodie Fridays, we’ve finally crossed the 405 (it wasn’t that scary after all…) and made it to Santa Monica. Our destination? N.Y.&C. Pizzeria, a casual eatery on Wilshire by 12th St. that offers a revitalized take on pizza parlor classics.

With Abby out of town, Foodie friend Noelle joined us for the outing. We toyed with the idea of referring to Noelle as Abby throughout this post, but figured our loyal fans would be too smart to fall for our tricks.

Drawing on its name, N.Y.&C.—which opened this past fall—serves up both New York and Chicago favorites. It’s hard not to immediately notice the tributes to these two cities, with memorabilia—street signs, photographs, baseball jerseys and more—from the Big Apple adorning one wall and a collection from the Windy City taunting it from across the room. Seating options include tables, booths, and stools at the bar.

Being an East Coast native, I am the first to criticize the lack of good pizza in L.A. Oh, how I miss Jumbo Slice in DC! The owners of N.Y.&C., who also run SOUTH in Santa Monica, felt similarly given their ties to New York and Chi-town. The decision to offer both varieties—a concept virtually unheard of elsewhere—came about as they decided to leave it up to patrons to choose which they liked better. At N.Y.&C., the owners took their memories of classic pizza spots like Gino’s and Lou Malnati’s and created their own version here in L.A.

The appetizers are almost as good as the pies themselves. The golden brown garlic knots are of the perfect texture: firm and crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Most importantly, they aren’t overpoweringly garlicky.

We also sampled the generously-sized meatball, perfect for sharing as it swims in a sea of sweet marinara sauce and is sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

What’s a pizza and beer night without some wings? N.Y.&C.’s buffalo wings are bold and zesty and are served with the traditional sidekicks of celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.

And now for the main attraction. The specialty pizzas are named after iconic locations in New York and Chicago, like “The Empire State” and “The Navy Pier.” We tried “The Sears Tower,” which is topped with meatballs, mushrooms, tomatoes and green peppers.

Sauce lovers will be in heaven with the generous amount piled on the Chicago deep dish pies. Not only are they topped with high quality meats and the freshest veggies you could ask for, but the sauce and dough are made daily.

As cheese lovers, however, we preferred the New York variety. Baked to golden brown perfection, chewy cheese tops a thin layer of sweet tomato sauce. N.Y.&C. offers an unbeatable $8 special for two slices and a beer ($6 if you swap in soda… where can you beat that?!) Here we see Noelle, doing “The Abby” as she bites in…

Also on the menu are a selection of sub sandwiches, salads and pastas. If you can find room for dessert—we had trouble—go for the warm deep dish chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream. Wash it all down with your pick from a great selection of beers on tap. Both recognizable and specialty beers are available; we enjoyed the light and crisp Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale.

Even if you aren’t hungry (what kind of Foodie are you?), head to N.Y.&C. to grab a beer and catch a sports game playing on one of the flat screens. To top it all off, the eatery is open until 2:30 AM during the week and 3:30 on the weekends, so say buh-bye to the Del Taco drive-thru and stop by for some late night nibbles. Although I personally don’t think L.A. will ever quite do pizza the way the East Coast does, N.Y.&C. certainly makes a valiant attempt and is worthy of praise; these are definitely some of the best pies in town.

Photos by Jennifer Saracino.

NEXT TIME on Foodie Fridays: Special guest submission! San Fran Foodie roundup by FoundTrack godfather Nass and his buddy Lana.

Mail to: foodiefridays at foundtrack dot com


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