Yep, it’s another “best _____ in New York” post. This time around, we’re taking on the best of the best of pizza.
First, hard stop. I’m of the opinion that if you look for “the best pizza in New York City,” you’re going to be let down. It happens all the time – this has to be some kind of psychological phenomenon, and expectations are rarely met. It’s why I’ll never wait in line for too long to eat somewhere, because by the time I sit down, I’m expecting something life altering.
I digress. If you do your research for some of the top-rated pizzerias in New York, L&B Spumoni Gardens is always on that list. This Bensonhurst shop has been in business since 1939, and this year celebrates 80 years of serving up Italian specialties, Spumoni, and their signature, square pies. The square slice is, for lack of a better term, different. Traditional Sicilian pizza has the cheese on top. At L&B Spumoni Gardens, the cheese goes in between the sauce and the dough. For certain pizza connoisseurs, this might be horrifying to picture.
L&B Spumoni Gardens is also noted for their impossibly long lines, even during winter. Most people I know have been here, so I always felt like I was missing something. In an attempt to remedy that, I made my way here on a late spring day, more than up for the challenge of testing out “New York’s finest slice.”
I waited in line (there is a separate line for those looking to order a full pie to go) for about 15 minutes, and ordered 2 square slices. L&B is cash only, and the guys behind the window will rush you to get your order out and move. After all, there’s customers to be served. Fortunately, the line moves fast, and you get your food pretty quickly as well. There’s also ample outdoor seating, and I got a table for myself with no problem.
Of course, a trip to L&B Spumoni is not complete without that namesake dessert. Spumoni is a “molded gelato” made with layers of different colors and flavors. To give you a better idea of what’s going on, Neopolitan ice cream is a variation of spumoni. L&B makes theirs with chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio.
So what’s the verdict? Does L&B Spumoni live up to the hype as New York’s best pizza? I think it’s a serious contender, probably rivaled only by Prince Street. The cheese-under-sauce concept worked way better than I thought it would, and I can see why this place is so popular. The spumoni was delicious and not too sweet, and definitely worth adding to your list of “must eat” in New York.
Just don’t ask for any pineapple.