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20. Rubby Restaurant y Comida Hispaña

Classification: Traditional

Location: Manhattan, New York

It's a 10-minute walk from the northern section of the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood to the Lincoln Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side, but as I made my daily commute a few years ago, fancying myself as a modern-day Lewis & Clark, I was purposeful about altering my route slightly to allow me to mentally absorb as much of the local landscape as possible. And my discoveries were both historic and revealing: pizza shops populated nearly every square block.

Despite such a dizzying array of options, I pragmatically settled on my dining locale for convenience, finding a place no more than 300 feet from the front door of my hotel. Rubby Restaurant took an unjust beating by the Barstool pizza review guy a while back, but it was everything I wanted from a New York pizzeria: small, locally owned and managed (I think), oversized slices, undisputed deliciousness, and a unique hook. Despite it being my favorite beverage when enjoying Mexican cuisine, I had never even considered mixing Jarritos lime with pizza, a unique interpretation on a timeless cornerstone, and upon closer inspection, it fit sensibly into their hybrid menu that features equal parts Spanish/Dominican flare and Italian classics. It was the grand finale to this pizza opus, and despite having dozens of choices within strolling distance, I chose a follow-up visit a few nights later, a decision that I most assuredly do not regret. The pizza was about as New York as can be imagined; the crust was stable, but the large wedges were more easily consumed when folded, and with the proper blending of toppings, cheese and sauce. It was pizza done right.

With such a great multitude of pizza possibilities lying in wait in any NYC neighborhood or borough, I look forward to sampling more of them in the near future, but I might just have to make Rubby a regular stop whenever I'm in the big city. (9 of 10 stars)

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