We've already waxed poetic about Louie and Ernie's, a Bronx institution of the very old school variety, extensively over on Slice. Solidly on the list of Adam Kuban's "Great 8" list of New York slices, L&E's is so much a part of the community's fabric that the street corner the store occupies ("Ernie Ottuso Square") was renamed after an original owner.
Here there are no "artisan" pretensions—just a refusal to give in to leftover dough. That is to say, there is no slice left behind. Our past coverage has been justifiably focused on the white pie with sausage and onions. But less has been said around these parts about their fried calzones.
The calzones ($3 to $4.50) are offered both baked and fried, the fillings determined by the cooking style. Inside one of the baked calzones you might find chicken parmigiana, whereas the fried fellows stick strictly to ricotta. And there's a ton of that good stuff inside them: cut the golden crust with a knife and you'll prompt a flood of pillowy cheese to ooze out.
The ricotta serves as the appropriate counterpoint to the crunchy shell; a cheese with more body and fat, like mozzarella, would bog it all down. When ordering, keep it simple and skip the ham combo: those infrequent slivers of meat go largely unnoticed, both in flavor and texture.
The fried calzones here are not the pizza's equal, and it would be an error to not take advantage of what they do best at Louie and Ernie's—that almost unequaled classic white slice. But on a cold winter day, when you want more than just one slice but aren't hankering for a whole pie, the fried calzones are your savior. Just enough to satisfy, and not too oily too boot.
Louie and Ernie's
1300 Crosby Avenue Bronx, NY 10461 (map) 718-829-6230