When it launched in November 2018, it was a late-night weekend thing. As an old dad from sleepy Forest Hills, Queens, I had no energy for this. When Stilettos expanded in March to lunch daily, however—yes, please, and thank you.
Hours now are noon–5pm M–F. After 5pm, it reverts to seating for Speedy Romeo.
It’s an inventive and flexible use of space. The original Lower East Side Speedy started in what is now the small Stilettos space. Building off the reputation of its original (still extant) Brooklyn spot, Speedy Romeo LES was an instant hit—especially after furthering its renown with the Paul’s Boutique pie, a nod to the neighborhood both in name (Beastie Boys reference) and composition, which included Katz’s pastrami, mustard sauce, sauerkraut, and an everything-bagel crust.
When Speedy expanded into the space next door, it took on more seating, more rent, and the need for more revenue. Thus, Stilettos was born. Good thing, too, because they’re making fantastic wood-fired slices.
The most in-depth coverage I’ve seen has been on @NYCBestPizza, where @ArthurBovino ate all the slices and put it best: “There’s a trompe d’oeuil thing going on. They look Neapolitan-ish at the crust, but they’re crunchy from tip to top. And they hold up to the copious, often wet, toppings.”
I originally ordered two slices: Ze Plain! Ze Plain! (sauce, mozzarella, fontina, provel, Romano, Parm; $3) and George Brett’s Mullet (Kansas City–style barbecue chicken, smoked mozzarella, barbecue sauce, pickles; $5—as someone raised in suburban KC who lived through the Pine Tar Incident and the ‘85 World Series, how could I not?). Full disclosure: when co-owner/chef Justin Bazdarich saw I was there, he stepped out of a staff meeting and chatted with me about the concept, sending out a complimentary Truffle Shuffle for me try (sauce, spicy salami, provel, pepperoni, truffle ranch; $6).
Stilettos uses the same Speedy Romeo dough, but the pies are 22″ (56cm), cut into six slices, so they’re hefty and worth the price.
Arthur said, “they pass through the gimmick rubicon into being good.” True. At the same time, I liked the plain most. The cheese blend is fantastic. The truffle slice was memorable, too, but the GBM I could live without. I’ve never been into chicken on pizza.
Overall, recommended. Eager to revisit. Until next post, hasta la pizza.
Stilettos Slice Shop: 63 Clinton Street, New York NY 10002; 212-529-6300
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