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61. Suma Pizza

Classification: Traditional

Location: The Bronx, New York

A few years ago, I was in New York for work, but I arrived the day before the conference's Opening Night evening gala. That left me almost a full day and a half to wander around the city exploring. With a bit of good fortune, it happened that the villainous Red Sox were invading the House That Ruth Built®—Yankee Stadium, and I definitely would be in attendance. It wasn't necessarily a "bucket list" item for me, but if I were to able to choose any game to see in a given year, this rivalry would pique my interest.

Staying in mid-Manhattan, I took the subway up to the Bronx with a carful of unibrowed galoots still wearing their decades-old Paul O'Neill jerseys. It nicely set the tone for the evening, which would begin at Suma, chosen specifically for its location across the street from the ballpark. None of its decorations or surroundings drew attention to themselves. In fact, it looked like 1,000 other pizzerias you could find in all 50 states. I was a bit disappointed because I thought it might be the Toots Shor's of the New York pizza scene, but there was barely any Yankees vibe or memorabilia to the place at all; mostly wall to wall hard plastic bench seating and linoleum flooring in a forgettable dining room kept at a steady 92 degrees.

But the pizza was a good way. The entry into the restaurant was typical pizza-under-glass, followed by your selection, a quickie oven reheat, and serve. There were two minor hiccups, which may have marginally enhanced my visit: 1) there was a wait for pepperoni, so I settled on two slices of sausage, which was fine, because I like them equally; and 2) the sausage slices on display were not the slices served to me after re-heating. What you see pictured above shows an unorthodox cut of meat that, while technically meeting the legal definition of sausage, is not what I ordered. I enjoyed the variation and now lead a fuller life for the experience, but it was really too much meat. I actually picked off about half of it. Overall, the pizza was solid, and had some uniqueness, but not worthy of an elite rating. And the Yankees win a 3-2 nail-biter. (7 of 10 stars)

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