Eater reader and New York Times critic Pete Wells wants you to head to New Jersey for New York’s best pizza. Known to make the occasional bold statement, Wells poses in his latest review that Jersey City’s five-year-old Razza is serving the best pizza in New York, a tune different from Ryan Sutton’s recent praise of Manhattan’s Corner Slice.
While plenty of New York pizzerias are mastering various styles of pizza making, what Razza is serving is like nothing Wells has ever had. “Razza, which burns wood, is one of the few that excel at both dough and toppings,” he writes. “[...] I would have asked for a pizza dressed with nothing but olive oil. I’m willing to bet it would be delicious that way, with the texture and flavor of naturally leavened bread right from the oven.”
Here is Wells on some of the dishes he enjoyed most:
For the Garden State pizza, he runs ripe red local tomatoes through a food mill. I do not have a seven-point rubric to describe the flavor of the sauce, but I can say that it was bright and sweet enough to remind me that ripe Jersey tomatoes are still worth hunting down. The buffalo mozzarella, meanwhile, was more buttery and flavorful than any other American mozzarella I’ve tried. It had a slight tartness and melted into soft, unrubbery, creamy-yellow circles.
For the past two years Mr. Richer has bought local hazelnuts, a crop that had stubbornly refused to grow in the state until the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University developed blight-resistant trees. The nuts, fat and round, are barely chopped, and baked with ricotta, mozzarella and just enough honey to point up their natural sweetness.
Wells adds a quip that Razza’s chef and owner Dan Richer offered Wells and his guest a 50-50 pizza after the two-top couldn’t decide between two varieties, it was unclear whether Richer recognized him or not. Three stars.