New York and Chicago pizza have come together at last, as NY Pizza officially opened last night at 11th and Wilshire in Santa Monica. The room, representing Gotham on its left side and Chi-town on its right, looked less like that one episode of Perfect Strangers (wherein the cousins split their apartment with a piece of tape) than we expected. Décor tastefully relies on black and white photography, vintage posters, and the occasional sports memento in tribute to the great cities, uniting in a bar stocked with drafts and affordable wines. Whether to the credit of blog hype or the owners' network from their nearby restaurant/bar South, the joint was jamming last night, with a majority of the crowd ordering the more exotic Chicago-style pie.
Despite a crush of Westsiders who looked like they'd be just as comfortable in Jumbo's Clown Room, service stayed on point, even when the place appeared overwhelmed. Five blaring television sets hardly eased the chaos.
Both NYC and Chicago pies cost twenty bucks each, with strombolis and calzones a whopping ten. A two slice special arrives for six dollars, with a draft ale available for an extra two. We dug into a New York slice and found the pepperoni version to have a rich sauce that betrayed the sloppy appearance of the slice with deep flavor. The plain slice spoke to us less clearly, but we liked it a little better than our last from the Joe's import nearby, though New Yorkers would probably beat us with brickbats if we said it out loud. We'd hit Dagwood's for a plain slice, but would choose NY for the adult pizza parlor atmosphere, complete with Galaga and red plastic cups, when it comes to wasting an hour.
With plans to serve pies way past bewitching hours (up to 4 a.m. in due time), we predict a stream of post-club eaters who are sick of Izzy's, while the well-planned space could keep NY filled round-the-clock as a nice neighborhood date joint. NY Pizza, 1120 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401.