I’m not quite sure why it’s taken me more than a decade of living in Queens to try Rizzo’s Fine Pizza. After all, if I hear of an amazing Chinese dumpling, I can scarcely wait a day to try it. Perhaps it is as my dear departed friend food writer Josh Ozersky once said: “Joey has forsaken his Italian heritage to eat Chinese food in ethnic hell holes.”
Upon entering the 58-year-old Astoria institution last Saturday night I noticed Ozersky was one of many food writers whose accolades lined the walls. When I got to the counter I paused for a moment—as if there was any possible order for a first-timer other than the shop’s famous thin-crust Sicilian.
I’d never seen a Sicilian slice quite like it, a blistered rectangle of mozzarella sat in the middle of the slice whose outer edge was curled, as distinctive as the tail-fins on a classic car. Nor I have tasted any Sicilian like it. It was light and crunchy as opposed to bready and heavy. Lovely sauce and good combination of cheeses, too. My one complaint, the square of mozz pulled off like a scab, albeit a delicious pizza scab.
For about a nanosecond I considered whether to eat another slice, after all I’d downed a dozen oysters at Mars. “I’ll have another,” I said to the Moroccan counterman. “You get one slice on the house,” he said. “Any kind you like.” For a moment I paused, as if there was any possible choice for a Rizzo’s buyback than another square. “I’ll have that one, the corner,” I said.
Oh in case you’re wondering that Ozersky quote is as follows: “The great NY pizza slice is an elusive dream, but many Astoria locals feel they’ve found it in Rizzo’s on Steinway Street . . .”
Rizzo’s Fine Pizza, 30-13 Steinway St., Astoria, 718-721-9862