I assume you come to New York to eat pizza because you can’t get New York pizza wherever it is you’re from. Well you’re right, you can’t.
So, what is NY pizza? I’ll make up a definition: a plain slice, maybe with sausage, pepperoni or salami, end of definition.
Take a plain slice. It should have a slight char and cheese bubbles. I have to create that myself nowadays by specifying “One slice, well done”: takes twice as long to cook. No droop.
When it comes out of the oven (around 600° F), let it rest a minute and then observe the oil on the surface. If it pools and will drain onto your plate, that’s a sign that you’ve got an old-fashioned New York slice. Regard the char, and bubbles. Remember this for your next comparison test.
Quality cheese will give off its oil, and there might be oil in the tomato sauce. Bad oil gives you heartburn.
I recently got a quality slice from Sal & Carmine’s on Broadway between 103rd and 104th. Small place, pizza boxes stacked 15 high, lineup looked like locals, all good signs. $3 though, a bit pricey.
The slice had all the signs, oil aplenty. I shook on a little chili peppers, garlic.
Very roughly, this is what you’re eating: 400 calories, 15 grams of fat, maybe 10 grams of saturated fat, maybe 800 milligrams of cholesterol. Adding pepperoni? Another 80 calories, 5 more grams of fat, maybe 100 grams of sodium. Saturated fat about the same. Oy veh iz mir!!