"You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars." Charles Kuralt

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Famous Ray's of Greenwich Village

By the time I got to 11th Street and Sixth Avenue and the place that calls itself “Famous Ray's of Greenwich Village”, I was hungry and had an attitude. If this pizza wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be, I wasn’t going to be happy.

If you’ve been to New York and gone out of your way to eat at Ray’s Pizza you’ve probably been lied to. When it comes to finding the “real” one, Ed Asner said it best in the movie Elf, "There are, like, thirty Ray's Pizzas. They all claim to be the original, but the real one's on 11th." As a matter of fact I’ll even go so far as to add that if it calls itself “original”, it’s not.
To look at this place you might wonder how it ever inspired the Ray’s Pizza explosion of the 1970’s. I guess thirty years ago it didn’t look so tired and used up inside. Anyway, I wasn’t there for the décor. I was there for the pizza so good that everyone wants to claim it as their own.
Now I have a confession to make right up front. As good as this pizza is, and for me it is certainly the best pizza in New York, it’s not the best pizza I’ve ever had. For my dollar the greatest pizza to ever see the light of day is currently being made on the Seaside Heights boardwalk at the Jersey shore. That being said, it had been a long time since I had last been here and I was really looking forward to eating.
I ordered plain slices and a soda and sat down at one of the small tables in the back along the mosaic walls. You get a respectably sized slice for your money, and it is loaded with cheese. I can only imagine what a slice with extra cheese would be like. If you can get the end of the slice to your mouth without losing it you are rewarded with the flavors that make this Ray’s pizza great. All that cheese creates a bit of a challenge when you try to pick it up and put a fold in it.

A regular plain slice at Ray's of Greenwich Village has some serious heft to it. The first thing you notice when you pick it up is how heavy it is. It was a little greasy, but not so much that it would run down your arm when you pick it up. The sauce wasn’t too sweet, and with the cheese laid on so thick you can definitely taste the rich milk flavor in it. My guess is that they use a whole milk mozzarella.So, the debate may continue to rage on about which Ray’s Pizza is the real one, but as far as I’m concerned it’s right there at 11th Street and Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village. You won’t find better anywhere in Manhattan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are right about Famous Ray's of Greenwich Village. I'm from San Francisco where we have plenty of pizzerias where you can find a mean slice. I have a certain type of pizza I like and it's the old-school variety I usually can only find at pizzerias that have been in business for years. Everytime I went to NYC I tried a different pizzeria including one in Little Italy and nothing even came close to being good until I found Famous Ray's of Greenwich Village. Friends of mine who are from NYC actually had told me this was the only pizzeria they go to and I should have listened to them earlier. Now the only pizza I eat when I'm in NYC is Famous Ray's of Greenwich Village. If that doesn't tell you something I don't know what does. Famous Ray's of Greenwich Village is the best.