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"Keepers of the Flame" who have "mastered Neapolitan and Neapolitan-American pizza-making traditions and techniques, and in some cases improved upon them."

Jerry Shriver

USA TODAY

 

A "step above your everyday pizza place", these UES–Forest Hills joints specialize in "charred", thin-crust pies with "perfect sauce" and some "gourmet flair"; true, the decor and service are strictly "no-frills", but they fill the bill as "family"-friendly choices with a "neighborhood feel."

Nick's — a small, pleasant corner spot with brick walls, a pressed tin ceiling and hearty service — adheres to all the Italian family-style macaroni-and-gravy hokum. What separates Nick's from some of the others is a track record of taking food seriously, especially pizza. The crust is beautifully thin and crisp, blackened in spots and smoky. Tomato sauce is well-seasoned, and toppings are excellent. Beyond pizza, try tiny baked clams heaped with bread crumbs, garlic and herbs. Shrimp Zi Pepe are excellent. Pastas are not going to break new ground, yet the simplicity of the familiar preparations is redeeming.

 

—Eric Asimov 

 

At Nick's Pizza in Forest Hills, Queens, owner Nick Angelis's light, fragrant, superbly charred crusts contrast beautifully with creamy fresh mozzarella—melted but not boiled over—and bright tomato sauce and basil. No wood, no brick, no coal—how does he achieve pizza greatness with a gas oven? The mystery is part of Nick's allure. That, and a wine list that goes beyond the basic pizzeria house red and white, plus killer cannoli that will change forever your perception of the Mulberry Street staple.

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No way could we stroll into this new Manhattan branch of the excellent Queens pizzeria and summon up the superhuman willpower necessary to resist one of Nick Angelis’s perfect pies—light and fragrant, expertly charred, and mottled with creamy mozzarella that seems like it was pulled fifteen minutes ago. But now Nick has larded the menu with family-style portions of toothsome orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, and an eggplant parmigiana that could make somebody’s mamma the star of her own reality show. Normally, the stuff in pizzerias that isn’t pizza should be ordered only under duress or during a crisis—like when the pizza oven blows up—but here it’s nearly as good asNo way could we stroll into this new Manhattan branch of the excellent Queens pizzeria and summon up the superhuman willpower necessary to resist one of Nick Angelis’s perfect pies—light and fragrant, expertly charred, and mottled with creamy mozzarella that seems like it was pulled fifteen minutes ago. But now Nick has larded the menu with family-style portions of toothsome orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, and an eggplant parmigiana that could make somebody’s mamma the star of her own reality show. Normally, the stuff in pizzerias that isn’t pizza should be ordered only under duress or during a crisis—like when the pizza oven blows up—but here it’s nearly as good as the pie, and better than most of what passes for Italian on the Upper East Side. the pie, and better than most of what passes for Italian on the Upper East Side.

 

— Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfled

13 PIEMAKERS 'TRANSCEND' ALL OTHERS

 

In his new book Pizza: A Slice of Heaven (Universe; $24.95), Ed Levine writes about pizza from every part of the country and abroad, drawing upon recommendations from other food writers and his own sampling of more than 1,000 slices. 

 

After a year's research, he identified 13 pizzerias in the USA that he says make "a transcendent pizza that could cause grown men and women to moan with pleasure in public without embarrassment."

 

And from that list he crowns six "Keepers of the Flame" who have "mastered Neapolitan and Neapolitan-American pizza-making traditions and techniques, and in some cases improved upon them."

 

One of his 6 choices for a superior pie was Nick's Pizza.

 

—Jerry Shriver

Nick's Pizza is more than just a pizza place...Nick's serves up the thin-crust variety with fresh mozzarella, baked to perfection in a brick oven - are consistently satisfying. No matter what kind you get - we like them with onions, peppers (red and green) and thin slices of fresh garlic - they're topped with a few strips of fresh basil. Indeed, Nick's has the sense to realize that a little fresh basil works on just about everything but the cannolis. It's also fun to watch pizzas being made.

 

— Laura Williams 

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