Pizza Slice

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The art of good pizza transcends borders. It’s a universal language that speaks to all tastebuds. (That is of course, unless you are a gluten-free vegan.) You don’t have to be an American or an Italian to appreciate good pizza. And you certainly don’t have to be a New Yorker to appreciate good New York style pizza. Which is what you will find at Pizza Slice, tucked away on a quiet side street in Shibuya, far removed from the loud, over-stimulated hustle and bustle of the main drags. Here at Pizza Slice, the senses are stimulated in myriad different ways: the flavors and scents of the happy marriage of dough and cheese, and the sights and sounds of a spacious and bright, well-designed space that is both communal and intimate at the same time.

Since moving here, we heard good things about Slice from friends (who have lived in NYC)––that it is legit NY style pizza. We stumbled upon its unassuming storefront while strolling from Daikanyama to Shibuya yesterday. First thing we noticed was the outside tables of very hip patrons leisurely chatting and sipping on beers.

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Then we saw the cool neon signage bearing the restaurant’s name. Walking inside and toward the back counter where the pizza is displayed and where the ordering takes place, we also took note of the slices of pizza on customers’ plates. Nice, wide slices. On no-frills white paper plates. Lookin’ promising so far.

7 types of pizza pies were displayed at the counter behind a glass case, and an additional roll-like item called Garlic Knots. Names and prices were handwritten for easy ordering. IMG_4208

We kept it simple and went with a slice of plain cheese (¥390, or $3.25) and a draft beer (¥600, or $5.00). Mr. S and I exchanged a mental high-five as we realized what a score this was (for Tokyo)––that’s less than $9 bucks for a decent meal with alcoholic beverage.

The crew here heats up your slice in their oven, which is a legit NY pizza deck oven, before bringing it over to your table. When we ordered, they had run out of the cheese pizza, but happily for us, a fresh pie was in the oven, so the slice arrived piping hot. DSC08571 IMG_4215

So what makes a NY style pizza uniquely “New York” style? Typically, they are very wide slices of thin crust pizza with a supple crust that is chewy and foldable. People prefer to fold their slice in half (a.k.a. the New York Fold) in order to catch the cheese and grease inside the slice for better taste and delivery to the mouth. I have heard that the NY tap water used to make the dough makes a difference as well (i.e., the minerals in the water). The ratio of dough to sauce to cheese/toppings is notable as well, in that there should be a light-to-medium amount of sauce, and an even layer of cheese. Unlike a Neapolitan style pizza, there are no large air pockets that form in the dough which causes the crust to “poof” out, thereby disturbing the layer of cheese.

Our slice at Pizza Slice boasts all of these fine qualities. And at a decent, reasonable price. The crust was indeed chewy and supple, with the right amount of sauce and cheese. The slice was nice and flat, the cheese golden with crispy bits.

The menu is simple and all about the pizza. There are the regulars: plain cheese (¥390, or $3.25), pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, and a few special slice-of-the-day, all for ¥500–600, or $4.15–5.00. The drink selection, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic, is diverse, ranging from beers to liquor to coffee (from Streamer Coffee) to homemade lemonade. And a lunch set is available, which includes a slice of plain cheese + another slice of meat/veg at ¥500 + a non-alcoholic drink is only ¥1000. IMG_4218   IMG_4219

Although there is no delivery service, you can take to-go a few slices, or a whole pie. The cost of the whole pie is: (cost of slice) x 8. So, a whole 20-inch plain cheese would be ¥3120 (or about $26). That’s ridiculously reasonable, compared to say, Domino’s prices in Tokyo.

Here is a quick breakdown comparison of Domino’s cheese and pepperoni pizzas versus Pizza Slice’s:

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Comparatively, Slice Pizza is a better price, and without question, better taste. Do keep in mind that if you are looking for a shrimp, avocado and mayonnaise pizza however, Slice will not likely ever offer this combination of toppings.

The feel of the restaurant is pretty chill and inviting. The space looks to be a renovated warehouse with its high ceilings with exposed steel beams. White tiled walls, Greco-roman geometric tiled floors, panels of aged mirrors, and brushed metal countertops are reminiscent touches of an Italian pizzeria. Repurposed wooden tables, both 2-seaters and long communal tables, and similar window and door frame treatments. These open up onto the street, providing a warm, lived-in atmosphere. In total, the restaurant seats about 32–36, with an additional 6-8 counter seating at an impressive bar that runs along one side of the restaurant. The space is clean, bright, and spacious. In the afternoon, on a sunny day, the natural light streams in and invites locals and tourists to linger and relax with a slice of pizza and some free Wifi. IMG_4225   DSC08562

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all done.

During the 45 minutes or so we were there, all walks of life passed through the restaurant: tourists, locals and regulars, families with young kids, youngish kid-free couples, Japanese and foreigners alike. You would have thought we were in a pizza place back in the States. Despite the diverse patronage, all shared the same taste for a slice of timelessly good pizza and a cold beverage, made by a crew of folks who really care passionately enough to introduce a slice of a NY way of life to Tokyo-ites. Pardon the pun. And for some of us, we were truly reunited with a slice of home.

Getting There:

  Pizza Slice (ピザ スライス), Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Sarugakucho 1-3 

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