Monday, January 17, 2011
For as long as I have been here in Tokyo (thats over 5 years now) I have always been on the look out for the best and most authentic New York style pizza. Pizza (and Bagels) are probably the 2 things that a native New Yorker misses food-wise here in Japan. There have been some (over-priced) decent pizzas here and there but nothing that comes close to a real NY slice.
However that changed recently when I had my first taste of what I consider a true New york style pizza at Rocco's New York style pizza in Oji, Tokyo. The place opened in June 2010 and I'm ashamed to say that it took me this long to find it (January 2011).
Needless to say they serve up a good pizza that is on par with what I would consider a good slice back home in New York City. Rocco's sells pizza by the slice or by the pie (they have 2 different pie sizes) and offers a variety of toppings, "traditional" New York standards or Japanese style. And the best part is that the prices are reasonable if not cheap compared to the usual Japanese pricing you find on most "non-Japanese" food here. A regular cheese slice sells for 350 yen and toppings are 25 yen each.
I had a regular slice and a slice topped with sausage. Both were surprisingly good slices with sweet and flavorful sauce as well a perfectly baked thin crust that cracks nicely when you fold it. The cheese was cooked perfectly, not burnt, and stretched with "strings" of mozzarella cheese with when you took a bite. All important points for me when it comes to a true New York slice. You can even top off your slice with the usual staples of condiments found in every pizzeria in NY such as garlic powder, crushed red peppers, oregana, parmesan cheese...
Up until I came across Rocco's pizza, I thought it was just impossible to make true New York style pizza here in Tokyo or Japan for that matter (something about the water, ingredients, etc.) but now I know it just required a dedicated foreigner. Sbarros and Costco were the closest (sad to say, but I think other foreigners would have to agree), but Rocco's pizza is a much better and truer slice of New York style pizza, and I know I will be back often. Rocco's New York style pizza restaurant (owned and operated by New York expat Dan and his wife Keiko) is located under 5 minutes from the Oji station in Tokyo and has a classic corner pizza place feel, minus the fat sweaty guy making the pizza.