This "Slice" is far from perfect.

I realize that I’ve been avoiding writing about pizza – the reasons for that are twofold. One, I totally burnt out on pizza during spring of this year, while living in a rather obscure corner of Brooklyn with limited delivery options. Two, I think that Slice (the website) does a fantastic job covering it. I’m going to do a review of the place that caused my pizza burnout soon (it’s fantastic, seriously). In the meantime, I’ll fill you in on last night, when my girlfriend and I ordered in from a new place, named in an unwieldy and immodest fashion “Slice: The Perfect Food.”

Far be it from me to argue with the categorization of a pizza slice as the perfect food, at least in a certain category of local fast-food specialty – it’s hard to imagine NYC without its pizza parlors, which are to this city what doner kebap joints are to Berlin, or burrito stands are to L.A. Most pizza available in the city at least toes the line of some kind of long-established and well-thought-out tradition, though – whether it’s Neapolitan, Sicilian, or Italian-American, variations on a theme are the name of the game.

“Slice: The Perfect Food” (hereinafter STPF) has none of those pretensions; its affectations are altogether more precious. Like its spiritual (if not gastronomical) predecessor, the California Pizza Kitchen, STPF throws the whole lot of tradition out the window in favor of the idea of pizza – a baked crust with sauce and the occasional cheese sighting, where seemingly any topping is fair game. As an additional affront to pizza traditionalists, STPF (located at 1413 2nd Av.) claims to concentrate on the organic and restricted-diet-enabling side of the ingredient spectrum – the cheeses available, for example, start out at a relatively straightforward organic mozzarella, but move along to the lactose-intolerant-friendly goat cheese, soy mozzarella, and rice mozzarella. There is a gluten-free crust available, too, which makes the availability of whole-wheat crust seem downright normal.

Needless to say, this kind of menu is likely to give fans of traditional pizza the heart attacks that the healthy ingredients were designed to prevent – that is, if the prices of the pies and slices ($4?!?) don’t cause a coronary first. Being the open-minded sort, though, I thought I’d give the place a try (full disclosure: it was also pouring rain out, and my girlfriend’s internet wasn’t working to check menupages).

We elected, from a book-like menu containing several more drawn half-naked women than pages of food choices, the rather irritatingly named (hint: the more money you shell out, the smarter you are) “expert” pie ($24), which promised grilled organic rosemary chicken and basil with marinara sauce on herb crust. We added the organic mozzarella at an indeterminate cost, braving the fact that the price of extra cheese wasn’t listed.

Thirty-five minutes or so later, the pie arrived, and the disappointment began. The crust was tough as nails, a fact not aided by the pizza having cooled substantially from its removal from the oven. While the cheese-and-sauced portions were fine, if bland, we frequently discarded bits of the outer rim of crust. Yes, the pie was good enough to finish, but if it had been any colder, we would have had to reheat it (it would have been tough in a standard-sized oven, too – the pies are rectangular).

You’d think the story would end there, but you’d be wrong. My girlfriend and I were picking at Ciao Bella Chocolate Sorbet and Pumpkin Gelato pints (the former, by the way, is still my favorite of the two, but the latter…it’s really, really good), when the doorbell rang. Having ignored his phone call earlier, she and I thought that it would be her best friend coming to collect something he’d forgotten. Instead, it was a second STPF delivery person bearing an “expert” pie with added cheese, an hour and ten minutes after our initial order.

Needless to say, she was as befuddled as we were, particularly when confronted with the evidence (read: box) that we had just consumed the pie we’d ordered. This pie even had the address written on the side – did we end up with someone else’s pie earlier, I thought? My girlfriend, always quick on her feet, offered the use of her telephone to the pie-bearer to call STPF and clear up the mystery. We’re not quite sure what the problem was, but after the call ended, the second pie was offered to us, gratis (other than my girlfriend tipping the delivery person – rarely has a tip been so well earned).

Anyway, “expert” #2 was leagues better than the first. Most importantly, it was hot out of the oven, making the crust significantly less tough, and the chicken/cheese/sauce combination more appealing – just a completely different experience. Frustratingly, we were too full of cold-ish pizza and gelato to really appreciate it. My girlfriend just reported, though, that even cold (refrigerated overnight and consumed for lunch), this pie was much better than our original from last night.

I can’t really complain about two pizzas for $30-ish, but I don’t think this experience was typical – if it is, STPF won’t be in business for much longer. I’m not sure if it will anyway – I suppose there are plenty of people in the UES who will happily pay $24 per 2-person pie, but are these people also finicky enough to order rice mozzarella and gluten-free crust, and forgiving enough to order again after a cold pie is delivered? Regardless of what I think of the place from a business standpoint, the inconsistent pies could also use some improvement, even within the constraints of the menu; hot delivery of every pie should also be a top priority. Perfection, to put it mildly, remains elusive.


Filed under NYC

10 responses to “This "Slice" is far from perfect.

  1. Rice mozzerella? …I didn’t know there was such a thing. :OFunny you had pizza because today at lunch I had pizza in NYC for the FIRST TIME EVER. FIRST NYC PIZZA. (At DeMarco’s.) Whoa. Not that I don’t think pizza isn’t good, but I’m definitely not a pizza…person? I’m a bread person. A scone person. A cake person. Sugar.Your pizza experience sounded odd. But you got two pizzas, so…woo!

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve eaten at Slice The Perfect Food nearly every other day since it opened and I disagree one hundred percent with the dumb writer of the article. It’s EXACTLY what I was looking for because it’s delicious and fresh and everything is organic to start and tastes like pizza but you don’t feel disgusting afterwards. The people there are so friendly and well educated, and so interested in a healthier lifestyle without compromising taste it was refreshing to eat there than a crappy greasy dirty regular pizza joint. I don’t mind the price so much because you pay at least 10 dollars for lunch in NYC…and 4 bucks for a slice fills you up! If you don’t like the prices, why are you in NYC for th love of god?! Either the author is a cheapskate (it sounds like it) or she doesn’t know good food when she sees it. I heard about SLice from the Daily Candy AND the New York Times favorably and they hold a lot more stock than this dumb website. Get a clue and grow some tastebuds! Otherwise, you should opt for moving somewhere in Idaho for better prices and greasier pizza. Jennifer. a BIG fan of SLICE, the PERFECT FOOD.

  3. Anonymous

    The writer of that last comment is obviously stupider than the guy who wrote the article.

  4. Anonymous

    That was the most disgusting pizza I ever ate! I will risk my stomach problems and eat normal pizza from now on.

  5. Anonymous

    I couldn’t disagree more, personally. I was recently in NYC while on a college hunt, and I had the opportunity to sample several different pizza shops in the process. While I enjoyed the traditional greasy NY pizza, I was far more taken with the fresh, hot, delicious pizza of STPF. Perhaps it was a bit expensive (where I come from in the Midwest, I can get a whole pizza for $8), I really did enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone. 🙂

  6. Anonymous

    well… i’m sorry that your STPF experience was so terrible as you say, but I have to agree with all the people who have spoken favorably of the place and its food. It truly is DAMN GOOD pizza that you don’t feel disgusting for eating. SURE, OK, it isn’t “traditional” pizza. If you want traditional go to Totonnos on 2nd and 81st. THAT is damn good pizza as well. But another kind. The kind YOUR tastebuds are better suited for.STPF not only is fresh, and healthy, but filling and satisfying. I’m a personal trainer and athlete and I have to watch what I eat most of the time, so believe me I’ve TRIED many a pizza claiming to be healthy AND tasty. THIS is the first time that those claims hit the mark.It isn’t for everybody. Some people prefer the greasy regular pizza. hell, so do i once in a while (and that’s when i go to Totonno’s). But for the rest of the time, if you want pizza but don’t want to break the calorie bank, STPF IS the perfect food.i.b.

  7. Anonymous

    The author’s comment “finicky enough to order rice mozzarella” only exemplifies the frustrations of the lactose intolerant. STPF is obviously serving a niche for those who are health conscious and/or lactose intolerant. I’d love to eat regular cheese but I don’t have that option since I am lactose intolerant and it isn’t some “finicky choice” I’m making.

  8. Anonymous

    fuck slice, organic ingredients, no knowledge on how to cook them. cardboard is a good description when asked what the pies taste like. keep it greasy

  9. Anonymous

    Ummmm…doner kebob not kebop and London would have been a better example than Berlin…also tow not toes…good morning!

  10. i.b. curious about the pizza joints that say they're healthy and tasty. (STPF seems cool) Not many for sure. We're rolling out a more accessible pizza that's physiologically correct because of a 12 grain/seeds crust with prebiotics and probiotics, but without the cost barrier of organic ingredients. Naked Pizza. We like organics, but the real health benefits come from a diversity of real food.

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