RECOMMENDED: Complete New York pizza guide
90 Worth St at Broadway (212-608-3222)
Former Italian hip-hop artist Alberto Polo Cretara (pictured) may be a native of Naples, but he refuses to cook his city’s pizza here; due to a difference in the water, he says, “Neapolitan pizza only tastes good in Napoli.” Instead, he specializes in the ultraportable Roman slice, a variety he knows well, having trained at Rome’s respected bakery and pizzeria Forno Campo de’ Fiori. Cretara strives to use only the best imported foods: Italian extra-virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes from Agro Nocerino in Campania, and fior di latte and buffalo mozzarella from Naples. Other ingredients are strictly domestic, including local produce and flour, an item Cretara feels is too delicate to ship across the ocean without compromising its quality.
Cretara’s four-foot-long rectangular pies emerge from his triple-decker electric oven (wood fire isn’t a Roman requirement) with a wonderfully thin crust, crispy on the bottom while supple enough to chew with comfort. Sold by the slice, his pizza is the quintessential to-go item: Unlike its Neapolitan brethren, it’s intended to be eaten at room temperature and has a stiffness that allows it to be easily carried in one hand. All the toppings go on raw and cook with the dough, from the tomato sauce on the Margherita to the paper-thin slices of potato and onion that grace another of his pies, resulting in a clean flavor that won’t weigh you down while on the run.