My search for the best pizza in New York continues….
In my hit music video Empire Plates of Mine, I make a joke about Staten Island. I say “Never been, but Staten Island’s gotta have some decent food.”
Gothamist gave me some criticism for being oblivious to Staten Island’s food scene. The truth is I had been to Staten Island and tried some great food. The lyric was just a playful joke (Staten Island is always the butt of NYC’s jokes). But the embarrasing truth is I’ve only been to Staten Island for pizza. I know there’s a world of food options out there beyond the free ferry, but I’ve yet to explore it.
So a few days after the article ran, I decided I do need to get out to Staten Island more often. I know that the borough is known for its vast ethnic food (specifically Central American and Sri Lankan), but I couldn’t resist checking out one more of the legendary pizza spots I had yet to visit.
Joe & Pat’s is one of the most famous pizzerias on Staten Island and somehow I had never been. Maybe it’s because a few years ago Joe Pappalardo’s son AJ opened up Rubirosa in Manhattan serving his father’s signature thin crust pizza.
But I wanted to visit the source. Since I was dining solo, I opted for some slices in their casual take-away area. The only pizzas available by the slice were their original and their Sicilian. So I got one of each.
Most noteworthy on the original slice was the incredibly thin crust, yet it was missing a browned crisp char that I like with my thin crust slices. The slice was good, but nothing spectacular in my mind. I remember Rubirosa’s being much better. But perhaps the experience of a slice and a full pie was quite different. Now I wished I had brought a group of friends who’d travel out to Staten Island with me so we could try the entire pie.
I did prefer the chewy breadiness of the Sicilian slice. The acidic sauce on both was a nice contrast with the rich (but lackluster) cheese. This hearty Sicilian was not as memorable as the classic L&B version, but elevated above your usual corner pizzeria take.
Watching the community at Joe & Pat’s made me realize this pizzeria is indeed an icon and is very important to so many locals. However, based on these two slices, I’m not sure the pizza itself is worth the trip out to Staten Island (especially since you can get this family’s food at Rubirosa).
But the truth reavels itself. Staten Island does have some “decent” food. Especially if that food happens to be pizza.
Is Joe & Pat’s the best pizza in NY? Their slices are good, but nothing special. If you’re a fan of thin-crust and are looking for something better than the typical corner slice joint, you’ll enjoy these. I give them a 6 out of 10 rating.
|JOE & PAT’S|
|1758 Victory Boulevard (between Manor Road and Winthrop Place),
Castleton Corners, Staten Island