On a dispiritingly cold and drizzly Saturday afternoon, AV and I were in need of a pick-me-up. He was hungry, and I had an idea, something I'd been waiting for the right moment to spring on him. AV was game for a surprise, so after perusing some books at the Barnes and Noble on 86th street, we tramped up 10 blocks to continue his NYC pizza education.
Upon arrival, Little Luzzo's, the kid brother of Luzzo's in the East Village, is unassuming. It's a small storefront up a flight of stairs on the 96th Street thoroughfare, and it doesn't look like much of anything. Walk inside and you'll see a couple of beat-up tables and a counter, where some pizzas rest stacked on shelves behind a glass divider. Pick a slice, any slice, round or square. If you're like us, maybe you'll be lucky enough to arrive just as a fresh pie emerges from the oven (for us, it was sausage). No question, get a slice of that. Pay for the pizza. Sit down at a table. Dig in.
And then blink your eyes in amazement, as AV did. "This is one of the best pieces of pizza I've ever had," he declared in between bites. The crust was that perfect mix of crisp-- with a satisfying crack when you bend the slice-- and soft enough to have a bit of tip sag in the corner of the square. The sauce was not too sweet, and it extended all the way to the pie's edges, commingling with the char at the very crust. The cheese was gooey, ample, and appealingly browned. And the sausage was "perfect" and gristle-free.
As we left, take-out menu in hand, AV noted what a triumph it was to know he'd finally found the go-to take-out pizza joint in his neighborhood, and he'd never have to settle for sub-par-- or even decent-- pizza again. I call that an afternoon well spent.
119 East 96th Street, between Park and Lex