It’s really amazing how many places advertise that they have the best pizza in New York. Some signs even proclaim the best pizza in the country or the world. I mean, who are these people? Can a chef decide he has the best pizza in the city and then post it on the window for all to believe?
I need more than just a sign to back this up. An article in NY Magazine works (like Kesté), a write-up on all the NY pizza blogs (like Di Fara) or maybe just a ton of recommendations and a personal facebook endorsement from my best friend’s mother (as is the case with Waldy’s).
Since its name kept coming up when talking about my pizza search and it has a very prominent sign claiming it New York’s Best Pizza, I had to find a lunch time to check out Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza and see for myself.
I arrived around 1pm on a Wednesday and the small little restaurant was slamming. There’s a counter and a handful of tables that were all pretty much filled. There were also many people waiting for their take-out orders. I’m not usually in midtown around lunch time, but I imagine this is a typical weekday afternoon.
There’s no table service so I ordered my pizza up front. I was impressed by how friendly and helpful the staff were, especially considering how many orders they kept taking. I figured I would have to wait a bit so was very pleasantly surprised to discover that there was a bookshelf full of food books to peruse for just this very moment.
As I waited, I dove into Ed Levine’s book on pizza in America, A Slice of Heaven. The guy definitely has me beat on the pizza adventures. I become so engrossed, I almost forgot I was waiting for lunch.
So the deal at Waldy’s is that they make ultra-thin pizza. I mean, ultra thin. And they cook it in a wood oven with fresh, unique toppings. Of course, I stuck with the Classic Margherita, the pizza to judge all pizzas by.
I think there’s a fine line between NY thin crust and a cracker with cheese and tomato sauce. And Waldy’s walks that line. Their crust is amazingly thin. Of course, it was very crispy and had a nice charred flavor. But I do wish there was a bit more substance to the bread.
The mozzarella was incredibly creamy and I think there was some parmesan because it had a nice bite. The tomato sauce itself might have been a bit more flavorful, but the addition of fresh tomatoes helped with that. The basil was shredded very thin, but it was plentiful and added that fresh herby finish.
The pizza here was tasty and I do love a thin crust, but at some point, it blurs the line between pizza and something else. I mean, much thinner and Waldy’s would be nothing but toppings. And nobody seems to advertise the best toppings in the city – it’s the pizza people want!
Is Waldy’s Wood-Fired Pizza the best pizza in NY? It comes close to not being pizza at all, but since it stays on this side of the line, I give it a 7 out of 10 for some tasty flavors, good service, and some good reading material.