Spring Break: sugar sand beaches, marine blue water, mojitos muddled with fresh mint…All vibrant memories of Spring Breaks past. This year: bright lights, polar bears in Central Park, Matisse up-close, corned beef piled high on rye and Elphaba working her magic on the stage. The first night in NYC demanded true New York style pizza at a local fave: Lombardi’s. Touted as one of the best coal-fired pizza spots in NYC, we had to try it! We were not disappointed and may never eat pizza in Virginia again.
Lombardi’s, located a short subway ride from our Theatre District hotel, lived up to it’s rep. There was a short wait when we arrived so, we bellied up to the bar and had a couple of Brooklyn brewed beers. The barkeep was phenomenal! No tickets, no POS (point of sale, not the other p.o.s.) system, genuine New York humor, knowledgeable- awesome. A customer ordered a “blue motorcycle” and the barkeep dryly stated it was a family place and blue motorcycles were out front. Entertainment and good brews, how could we go wrong? He did not miss a beat from server needs to a full bar of customers. A short wait later, our table was called and we preceded to an unforgettable experience with dough, sauce and cheese.
My husband and I ordered a small pizza with roasted red peppers, Italian sausage and wild mushrooms. Our daughter ordered a calzone filled with ground beef and fresh ricotta. The service was good, but not overly obtrusive. All of the pies coming out of the kitchen made my mouth water. Crispy crust, fresh ingredients- but not fussy. When our order arrived, I was ready to dig in! The crust was just as I thought: perfectly crispy to the bite, but soft enough in the center to be pliable. The cheese was obviously fresh mozzarella. The slices were melted but still visible on top of the pie. The toppings were robustly spread across the surface and the sauce, a San Marzano tomato variety, sweetly burst in my mouth. The combination was rustic and delectable. The calzone did not disappoint either if my daughter’s shoveling was any indication. I had a taste of her filling and it was as delicious as the pizza.
I know there is a rivalry for whoever may be crowned best pizzeria in NYC, but my vote goes to Lombardi’s. Their commitment to fresh ingredients, local beers on tap, and authentic cooking methods created a winning combination for my family’s first night in New York. Expect a wait if you go :)!