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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Taste at Slice

YESTERDAY was my first Monday at the new job that was not a double. I did, however, attend a three p. m. training session led by our coffee purveyor, La Colombe. At four o'clock I was free for an hour before I had to return for dinner service. Slice was next on my list.

Even sans a/c, I decided to take a seat inside (they also offer sidewalk seating). The waitress-hostess looked like she had been waiting for me all afternoon. She brought me to a window table, facing the bar and left me with a set of food and drink menus. Scrolling down, I was surprised to find so many whole wheat pizza options (fake pizza, if you ask me). Being my first time at Slice, I decided to choose a simple pizza (there were some rather exotic toppings, like chicken ṭikka masālā); I chose the novice pesto: herb crust, basil pesto, local fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and basil ($13 for a personal size).

As I waited for the pizza I wondered if they used a proper brick pizza oven, reaching 900° or if they cooked their pizzas on a pizza stone. I couldn't tell what was going on behind the open kitchen's secret curtain... When my pizza arrived, its plating revealed the answer.

novice pesto flatbread

I'm glad that at various points (at least), Slice refers to their pizzas as flatbreads. Because on a cookie sheet a pizza is not made. Perhaps I'm a tad over-passionate about proper pizza-cooking technique; I once worked for Donatella Arpaia from whom I'd learned quite a bit about the meticulous methods used in making authentic Neapolitan pizza. Getting past the shock of the cookie sheet, I dug in.

As a flatbread: the novice pesto was enjoyable enough, with o. k. flavor. Very crispy and easy to eat without utensils (a knife was not supplied anyway). I checked their wine list to see if they offered any sparkling wines. They do not. I certainly would return to try some of their other flatbreads, even though their pizzas seem more like a snack to me than they do a proper meal. However, Slice's pizzas do seem suitable for lunch or for sharing--along with a few other dishes--with a friend. (They also serve some salads and starters.)

And Slice does have a certain "cool" factor to it. My waitress--tattooed from what seemed to be head to foot--was so hip, I was nearly afraid to put my napkin in my lap as I sat down. I also noticed a slew of Connect Four games stocked at the menu station behind me and if you're into local beers, Slice has plenty of those as well. Towards the end of my meal, I even considered inquiring about a server position... just to befriend my waitress. She would certainly up my cool quotient.

Slice, 535 Hudson Street, West Village
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