I wanted to love Luzzo's pizza. I really did. Atlanta pizza maniac Jeff Varsano raves about it, and I trust his pizza palate. I had heard many stories that it is frequented by Italian expats who come to kick back, have a glass of wine, eat some pizza, and watch Italian soccer games at the small dining room in the back of the restaurant facing the wood-and-charcoal-burning oven.
I hadn't been to Luzzo's since it first opened serving more traditional New York Italian-American pies, so I was very excited to finally be going back.
What I found was not what I expected.
On a Saturday afternoon, the Italian expats were there doing their thing in the back room. We ordered a pizza with sausage and a focaccia with walnuts, mortadella, and cheese.
My heart sank when I saw our pizza. It was basically flat. There was no lift, no raised lip that I crave in great pizza. There were one or two air bubbles that supplied whatever lift there was. The mozzarella was fine, ditto for the sauce, but a great pizza starts with a crust, and Luzzo's crust was not up to snuff. The focaccia was better but certainly not inspired.
I'm going to stick with Una Pizza Napoletana when I'm near First Avenue and 12th Street looking for great pizza. And if I need a slice, I would happily hit up Vinny Vincenz just up the street from Luzzo's. Or maybe I should give it another chance. Every pizzeria deserves a second chance.
Address: 211 First Avenue, New York NY 10003 (b/n 12th and 13th streets)
Notes: More Luzzo's on Slice