FiDi’s It’s A Pizza Offers A Decent Slice…And Uzbek Food?

There are a lot of places serving slices in the Financial District, and I’m always on the hunt for my favorite. I think I may have found a new front runner with It’s A Pizza on John St. (btw. Broadway & Nassau) – a place that caught my attention with its sign that makes it look like a chain even though, to my knowledge, it’s not.

They have a very busy front window that displays a number of signs for what they sell including pizza (99 cent slices from 3-5 p.m.!), pastas, a chicken over rice special and sandwiches. Things only got more awesome when I got inside and noticed they had some very un-Italian specialties listed including something called a samsa and some dumpling-looking things called hinkali. Part of me wanted to order all of these crazy things, but since it was my first time visiting I thought I should actually eat some pizza since it’s the place’s namesake.

It’s a long narrow restaurant and seems to be the mirror to the Roxy Coffee Shop next door. It’s a lot classier than your normal slice place, in that it actually has some tables and not just a communal counter and a couple of stools.

I ordered a cheese slice ($2.50) and then on impulse threw in a samsa ($1.50) because I had no idea what the hell this thing was, but it looked kind of like a larger version of the borekas I got at the Fulton Stall Market. Thanks to the wonder of the Internet I discovered that samsas are a specialty of Uzbekistan. The hinkali (5 for $7.50) are boiled, meat-filled dumplings from Georgia. Oh New York, I love your cultural mash ups.

The slice and samsa were taken in a back room to heat up, and it was then that I noticed this place also sells crepes, and you can get them for lunch, apparently, as a lady in front of me ordered one. And in a case off to the right there were a few desserts including cannoli. Is there any food this place doesn’t make?

My food was heated soon enough and as I walked out I noticed several people were eating pasta out of giant bowls, so that must be a hot item.

The slice was just to my liking in that it had a really thin and crispy crust with none of that cornmeal business going on. And while the cheese could have been slightly more plentiful, it went well with the light crust. Some people may complain about the lack of heft for $2.50, but heartier eater you may want to get a couple of slices since one probably will not leave you full unless you’re a light eater.

Thankfully I did not make a mistake ordering the samsa. It was basically a flaky dough with a thin patty of spiced beef on the inside.

It kind of looked like a McDonald’s sausage patty, but was way better. If you’re looking for a nice mid-afternoon snack, this is a good one.

I’m glad I finally checked this pizza place out (anyone tried anything else here?), if only to discover their non-pizza offerings. And now I can finally offer people recommendations on where to get some good hinkali in the city.

It’s A Pizza, 20 John St. (btw. Broadway & Nassau), (212) 964-0999



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