Years ago I was on assignment for Gourmet in Pittsburgh and stumbled on a very strange pizzeria. The place turned out the usual round Italian-American pies, but instead of serving them right away, they put them aside and used the slices later on to make wedge-shaped sandwiches, two slices per sandwich, which featured the usual cold cuts along with lettuce and tomato. Frankly weird!
I never went again, and now the place seems un-Googleable. Yet, the idea made an impression on me, and I kept on the lookout for something similar in New York City, where all forms of pizza are known to exist simultaneously.
I finally found something similar at Marabella, a pizza-shaped premises on Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside. This rollicking neighborhood spot decorated with maps of Sicily offers the usual assortment of slices, pastas, and sandwiches, but one displayed in a glass case on the counter caught my eye.
These were wedge-shaped sandwiches that seemed to be made with two slices of pizza. The slices were really a tomato-smeared focaccia cut in half horizontally and then further cut into wedges, but damned if they didn’t look like slices of pizza. The effect was nearly the same. The filling was breaded chicken cutlets with cheese melted on top, and arugula and tomato completed the illusion that it was a sandwich made with two slices of pizza.
The sandwich ($7), called a focaccia chicken cutlet sandwich, was popped in the oven and heated up — tomato, arugula, and all — before arriving to me on a white paper plate. The thing tasted great: The annealed tomato sauce and a bonus tomato wedge on top contributed lots of flavor and moisture, while the chicken cutlet retained its crunch even under a mantle of cheese. Still, I wanted to ask the pizza guys if they’d mind making me one with two slice of cold cheese pizza instead. 41-07 Greenpoint Ave, at 41st Street, Sunnyside