Gino's Pizzeria & Restaurant | 345 E. 83rd St. (Btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.) | 212.717.5336 | On Menupages

PIZZA. THE MORE it stays the same the more it changes. In an unappetizing comparison, pizzas are like shoes or the wheel: they come in way more varieties than any person needs.

Since the 70s, the traditional pizza has reinvented itself seemingly every decade only to see its truest fans return to pizza's simpler roots. We tried West Coast pies with pineapple and ham or barbecue chicken; Chicago's deep dish stomachfuls enjoyed a brief run of curiosity here in New York and elsewhere.

Soon after more diets were busted by pies topped with pasta and more cheese or lasagna ingredients. And at the start of the 2000s, we were not only topping our pies with more unconventional items from walnuts to potato chips to lardo, those toppings were being placed on crusts of a greater variety of thickness and crispiness, from doughs created from a greater variety of flours.

Most recently, the city has been inundated with a flurry of new, "new" pizzerias—many of them of Napolitan providence—including No. 28, Motorino, Luzzo's, Kesté, Veloce, and the present circus attraction known as Pulino's.

Many of the these places have continued the evolution of the vegetable slice, which, back in the day, started with just peppers and/or onions, then mushrooms, then eggplant, then spinach, then broccoli. Now eaters have found collective glee in the much-pressed artichoke slice of Artichoke Basilles and the Brussel Sprout slice at Motorino.

I've had all of these vegetable slices, except for an eggplant slice. I didn't warm up to eggplants until late in life, but my 25-year local pizzeria, Gino's, has had eggplant slices since the first time I stepped foot in the place, and it's been pretty much the only slice I've not chosen to try.

That was until today, when, with a slight hangover, I decided to remedy that oversight.

Yes, I backed up the eggplant with my go-to sausage slice, but that was completely unnecessary. The eggplant slice was solid—figuratively—a tasty treat, as eggplant is always served best from a hot oven. There was great texture in each bite, and the default extra cheese added to its subtly fine aroma.

So, although I'm always interested in pizza's next reinvention, it's very comforting to know I can still feel most at home with the local standby. Sure, the new, exotic pies may be great for a fling; but this is not the pizza you "date", this a the pizza you bring home to Mom....

Bun Apple Tea!


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Gino's Pizzeria & Restaurant | 345 E. 83rd St. (Btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.) | 212.717.5336 | On Menupages