Mere steps from Ramen Jinya is the new Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizza which opened April 8 (almost 2 weeks ago as of this post). I think there’s been huge latent demand in Vancouver for NY-style, thin crust, QUALITY pizza. Downtown is awash in cheap slice pizza, so how does SOB compare? Will you pay more for quality?
Getting my biases out of the way: my reference point for the most awesome pizza I’ve ever eaten is Apizza Scholls in Portland (massive trip report here, tons of pictures, just let it load in the background if you’re interested in my Portland trip megapost). They do what’s technically known as New Haven-style pizza, a close cousin to New York-style pizza. They refuse to put too many toppings on their pizza (I believe it’s 3 max). The crust is thin, crispy & chewy and just CRACKLES in your mouth. Great sauce that you can actually taste, and the quality toppings shine through. The words “balance” and “amazement” come to mind.
A local favourite of mine would be Pizzeria Farina, a place that side-stepped the neapolitan craze of a few years ago by doing a hybrid NY-style/neapolitan pizza that’s been my go-to place ever since they opened — the finocchiona is my favourite…amazing bursts of sweet/spicy/savoury in your mouth! After eating Farina pizza for the past few years, I just CAN’T go back to Uncle Fatih’s/Megabite/et al…I JUST CAN’T! I might go back to Supreme Pizza one day, but I haven’t been drunk or high enough to actually do it. (Side note: Supreme Pizza’s pasta is like deluxe Chef Boyardee with a layer of crack on top!)
As you can tell, I favour thin crust and minimal toppings. But I want all the elements to express themselves fully in my mouth, from crust to sauce, to cheese and toppings. So with that out of the way, here’s the photos!
They’re not a typical late-nite downtown slice joint…so be mindful of their hours 😉
It’s cramped in there. But it’s a slice place, so turnaround for seats is fairly fast.
Really friendly service! They don’t make you feel like you don’t deserve to eat here.
The pizzas available that day were:
- Spice ($4.00) – capicollo, spicy salami
- White ($4.00) – four cheese (mozzarella, smoked provolone, ricotta, grana padano, garlic, oregano)
- Classic ($3.50) – pepperoni
- Original ($3.25) – margherita
The glass serves dual-function of signage and sneeze-guard.
The pizzas are 14″, and slices are 1/4 of the pie.
They also sell whole pizzas. Full menu is also available on their website. NOTE: Clam pizza is only available in whole pies, not slices. I assume it’s the same deal with their W.O.P. (lol) pizza.
I love how they’ve kept the toppings simple. The most “loaded” pizza is the W.O.P..
Spice slice with capicollo/capocollo/cappicola/capicolla/coppa and spicy salami. They also threw basil on there (unlisted ingredient).
I put dried chili flakes on it.
Decent light char on the bottom. Good integrity.
When you order multiple slices, they stack them onto one plate with waxed paper in-between.
Classic (pepperoni) on the left and Original (margherita) on the right. Both slices were approximately the same size, although it doesn’t look that way in the photo 😛 You ARE getting 1/4 of a pie.
Thin, chewy (in a good way) crust and salty pepperoni in every bite. The crust isn’t as thin as Pizzeria Farina, but still thin enough to do the NY-style folding thing as you eat.
Time to split hairs: the sauce is there but doesn’t speak loud enough for me. Farina’s San Marzano sauce is still the benchmark. The crust was a little inert, tastewise, but apparently NY-style pizza uses a fast-rise dough, so the dough doesn’t get a chance to develop deeper, complex flavours like Farina’s slow-rise dough does. The crust could also be interpreted as a litte bit “tough”, but more of a speed bump for me rather than a barrier. If you’re used to cheap dollar slice (wow, really dating myself here) you’ll be taken aback by the texture of real pizza dough made without tons of oil or whatever to make the dough soft, fluffy and easy to work with.*** But this is all insufferable foodie-type nitpicking. I’d have no problem coming back here, especially to try their New Haven-inspired Clam pie.
Underbelly of the Original. Not bad! Next time I might ask them to reheat the slices a bit longer, to maybe get a bit more crispiness on the bottom.
Standard shakers of dried chili flakes and cheese product. Ain’t no way I’m calling that “parmesan”. Some people on Chowhound were wanting shakers of oregano too. I’ve never shaken oregano on my pizza so I dunno if it’d be a good thing or not.
Bags of flour stacked near the front door. I believe this is Canadian wheat but possibly milled in the US. Pizzeria Farina also uses Canadian wheat as opposed to Via Tevere’s VPN-mandated Caputo “00” Flour. That said, the Farina crust just tastes better, with a deeper, more flavourful crust.
There’s some (debatable) room for improvement, but as it stands, SOB has the best by-the-slice pizza you can get in Vancouver. The cost difference over typical slice pizza is worth it.
PS. Nat’s New York Pizzeria in Kits hasn’t registered on my radar in YEARS. I don’t care if Joshua Jackson from Dawson’s Creek likes it.
*** NOTE: another wrinkle in the pizza debate: this Serious Eats article, The Pizza Lab: Three Doughs to Know, talks about the differences between dough meant for Neapolitan-style pizza, New York-style pizza, and Sicilian-style square pizza (which you never find in Vancouver). NY-style pizza dough actually incorporates olive oil and sugar! I have no idea if SOB put oil and sugar into their dough though…