Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck

What can I write about Pizza that hasn’t already been written? 

1.  The history? Pizza is not Italian.  At least not originally.  Started in Greece… no tomatoes… Queen Margherita… colors of the Italian flag… WWII… Italian Immigrants… Pizza Hut… 30 minutes or your pizza is free… Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell.  I covered everything right?

2.  The best pizza in New York?  I don’t even want to start that argument…

3.  Tourists visiting New York eat at the worst pizza places.  How else do you explain the existence of a Sbarro’s in Times Square?  (It still amazes me every time I walk by that place and there are people eating in there)

The list could go on and on.  The simple fact is, I’m not a pizza aficionado.  Don’t misunderstand this for pizza hate… I love pizza just as much as the next guy- I’m just not a connoisseur.  I guess some places are better then others, but I can’t really pinpoint exactly what I love and hate about each slice.  If you’re into that sort of thing, there are plenty of blogs that talk about pizza… and only pizza.

But the truth is, pizza is one of those things that has so many different varieties that trying to determine the “best pizza” is futile… because everyone likes something different.  You’ve got deep dish, thin “New York” style pizza, Sicilian, pizza with tons of toppings, pizza with no toppings, crunchy crust, floppy crust… it’s no wonder people love to argue about this crap.

Anyway, when talking about great pizza in Midtown, one name comes up all the time:   Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck.  I finally went last week to check it out, and found an amazing slice of “pizza” that will find just as many haters, as lovers.

The pictures, +/- and more… after the jump.

I hate reviewing places.  I could easily say “The pizza at Jiannetto’s sucks!  It’s got no cheese!  What kind of pizza has got no cheese???”  Of course that would not only be a disservice to Jiannetto’s, but also to people who enjoy what I have come to learn is “authentic Sicilian pizza”. That’s right.  Sicilian pizza is not just square pizza.  It’s square pizza with little to no cheese.  Bread, sauce, basil, and a sprinkling of parmesan… and if that type of pizza doesn’t make you go “Hey Goober!  Where’s the cheese?”, then Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck is your new favorite spot.

Even if you love cheese (which I do), and can’t imagine a pizza without cheese- it’s still worth checking out Jiannetto’s.  First, they have a pizza oven built into the truck.  A pretty sweet sight in and of itself.  Second, no cheese means you can fully appreciate the sauce.  It may be too sweet for some, but the sauce at Jiannetto’s is meant to be the real star… and even if you don’t want a slice of their pizza, there are other things to order that get covered in sauce.

One of the most popular is the Sicilian Rice Ball (or arancini as it is called in Italian).  I’m a big fan of the rice ball.  Ever since having them in Rome, I fell in love with these balls of rice (about the size of a tennis ball), usually stuffed with cheese and a little sauce, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried.  So delicious.  I can’t be sure, but if Jiannetto’s is any indication- the Sicilian version comes stuffed with cheese, ground beef and peas (almost like the Italian version of Shepherd’s Pie). They serve it broken already, in a tin container with a side order of garlic knots.  For $4, it is the steal of the century.  Unfortunately, they only have a limited amount and they always run out early.  If you want to guarantee a rice ball, call ahead and have them set one aside for you (the guy on the truck said he’ll do it).  The garlic knots were not fresh (or garlicky) but they can be salvaged with a quick dunk in sauce and parmesan.

They also have daily pasta specials, and all the parmigiana sandwiches you would expect from a place like this.  There’s two locations, but like I reported on Friday, the truck normally on Park and 51st got into an accident and is out of commission… which only means the one on 47th is just going to be that much more crowded.

THE +

  • It’s from a truck, but it’s made fresh, thanks to their built in pizza oven!
  • If you like thin crust Sicilian Pizza (bread, sauce, sprinkle of parmesan) then this is one of the best slices in Midtown
  • The crust is delicious.  And so is the sauce… (but some may find it too sweet)
  • The rice balls… if you like ground beef and peas!

THE -

  • Where’s the cheese, goober?
  • The parmesan they do sprinkle is powdered.  This is something you might be able to overlook if your pizza is already covered in Mozzarella… but with no cheese, it’s a little harder to ignore the fact that the stuff is powder.
  • The lines.  This place is really popular, and if you don’t go early, you will have to wait.  Call in your order to save a little time… especially for the rice balls and sandwiches.

Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck, 47th St. btw. Madison & Park (on Vanderbilt Ave.), 917-287-7241

(There’s also one on the corner of Front & Wall St. downtown for those of you work around there)

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