The way that I defend chain pizzerias should give you some indication of how much I generally think New York pizza sucks. It’s not the style I mind–I’ve grown to love the huge floppy crust that you fold together so the grease can drip straight into your mouth–but I just find it so entirely flavorless.
Totonno’s is about as New York-y as pizza comes, with an owner who started at the famed Lombardi’s, a location on Coney Island, and a reputation known the world-over. And yet, I find myself somehow craving it. The crust is brick-oven-browned, a little crunchy on the outside to help it maintain its form. But more importantly, the toppings are so mountainous you rarely see the cheese through them.
And one of their available toppings is basil! Heaven. Indeed, Zagat said, “Only God makes better pizza.”
I have to admit that when I tried Totonno’s for the first time a couple of years ago, I thought it was just as bad as other New York pizzas. So either my tastes have matured, or my expectations are sufficiently lowered after five years of living here.
462 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10016 (map)
1544 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10075 (map)