Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NY Style: Joe's or Vito's Pizza?

I'm taking a break from posting my Japan travels because I've been on a pizza rampage. Hmm, okay hitting up two pizza joints may not qualify as a rampage but I'd say I've definitely been tearing through those cheesy slices like Godzilla. There's been a number of discussions on Chowhound about the best New York-style pizza in LA and I had to investigate. I've had pizza in Italy before and I must admit that I'm more a fan of New York's version. It's thin, crunchy, simple and sweet.

Vito's is located in the nook of a white strip mall on La Cienega Blvd. just south of WeHo. Not quite a 'joint,' it's a small cozy sit-down place that might fit 15 people at most. Given its reputation, they seem to draw a distinctively East Coast crowd. SNL's Cheri Oteri was there the other night. She probably misses the Big Apple flavor. By far, Vito's has more variety in their display case (see below): deluxe veggie, tomato and cheese, spinach with plops of ricotta...Personally, I like plain cheese pizza. It's nice and simple and you can get a better feel for the crust and sauce. It's $2.50 a slice but the price goes up as you step up the gourmet-ness.

Then last night I tried Joe's Pizza which had a long-anticipated opening a block away from Santa Monica beach. It had the more of the pizza joint feel, with scattered barstools against the walls and a glass partition at the front counter preventing you from drooling over the hot pizzas. They cook up thick-square Sicilian slices but aside from that the offerings seem more basic than Vito's. Though if you talk to the guy at the oven, he'll be more than willing to accommodate requests. I got a slice of cheese ($2.50) and made a special order for mushrooms. A big burly dude looked incredulously at my two slices, as if my tiny body couldn't handle it. I showed him~!

So which do I prefer? It's a tough one, but I'd say Vito's. They both have a tasty, sweetened tomato sauce, but the slice at Joe's was crispy-thin to the point of tasting like a wafer. Maybe an off-night? Vito's dough blended better with the sauce. I think the deciding factor for where I'll be eating at more will be which part of town I'm in. Santa Monica or West Hollywood. Either way, I'm glad there's an option for great pizza. I don't know about you, but I started getting tired of hearing about overhyped gourmet pizza restaurants that charge twice the price for something that really shouldn't cost much at all.

Vito's Pizza
846 La Cienega Blvd.
LA, CA 90069

Joe's Pizza
111 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-9222
Digg this


Anonymous said...

Cafe Angelino on West 3rd has thebest pizza in my book.

Anonymous said...

you missed the boat if you didn't try the Sicilian at Joe's-- it's unbelievable and totally NYC. Ditto for their fresh mozzarella pizza.

Anonymous said...

I live a couple blocks from Vito's and I've still been going to Joe's. Whole pies are better at Joe's, slices probably better (but smaller) at Vito's. And my crust at Joe's has had taste, perhaps it was a bad batch.

Pirikara said...

Yeah, I'm definitely gonna go back to Joe's to see. It's closer to home. And I'll definitely try the Sicilian.

tonyc said...

J Gold just did the exact same slice comparo today:

Pirikara said...

Hi Tony~ hahah, nice article. He took the words right out of my mouth!