"Trust me, Kenji, you're going to like this pizza," my friend said. Words of doom, if I've ever heard them, particularly when coming from a Cypriot (they may know how to grill meat with the best of them, but they don't know pizza from posole). That was right after I'd declared our immediate neighborhood of the upper-teens in Chelsea to be devoid of great pizza (the closest I was aware of was at Suprema, a good dozen blocks away).
I still stand by that claim. The pizza at Gotham Pizza is by no means great—a little greasy with the cheese, the sauce is a little heavy-handed with dried herbs—I'd even go so far as to say that our previous mention of the joint was generous in calling the sauce "above average." What is great about it, however, is the crust.
Rather than the typical New York–style flour or cornmeal dusting on the peel before transferring to the oven, Gotham's gets rolled in a heavy coating of bread crumbs. They serve a couple of purposes. First off, they elevate the pizza from the base of the oven, allowing the base to cook a little more slowly, giving it an extra chewy bottom. Second, it vastly increases the surface area, making this just about the most-crunch-per-square-inch of any pie I've ever had.
It's not for everyone. Heck, it's not even for me most of the time, but it's certainly a unique take, and one that I can easily imagine myself trying at home now and then (perhaps a panko-coated version would be fun?). Similarly, I could see myself walking into Gotham for a slice now and then just for the novelty of such an oddly delicious crust.
If you find yourself in the area, do yourself a favor and check it out. Then report back and let us know: Delicious, or gimmicky?
144 Ninth Avenue, New York NY 10011 (at 19th Street; map) 212-989-8858