328 East 14th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-2004

Pizza is conceivably the quintessential NYC food. There are so many places that make lists like "best in the city", "best in the world", "best in the universe", "best in all corporeality", and of course, the Michelin Guide, that it's virtually pointless to go trying to determine a winner. Still, with a pizza place on every corner this side of the Hudson River, we can narrow it down. Artichoke makes my short list, and, should the line out the door mean anything at all, it's also on the list of just about every single person over 21 in lower Manhattan.

Artichoke hasn't been around for two years and already feels like it's been there since 1895. It's so hard to imagine the neighborhood without it there that I'm pretty sure I've invented memories of it from when I was a kid. For weeks I was telling myself "Geez, it's been there so long and I've never been. I should go." This was, in fact, a lie. I'd been there numerous times, but it was after a hearty night of East Village bar hopping and didn't remember anything.

So this time I was determined not only to go, but to document my experience. I showed up one weekend afternoon, and after standing on line for ten minutes, ordered two slices and a 32 oz. cup of their only offered beer: Budweiser. There aren't any seats inside, only a ledge. Outside are benches and they fill up quickly. Artichoke only offers a handful of pizza styles (see the pic), and I ordered two of them, a slice of the Margarita and a slice of the Artichoke and Spinach. Except for the fact that they tend to char up the crusts some, this was some of the best non-traditional pizza I'd ever had. On the margarita (my "normal" slice), the sauce was tangy and sweet and cheese was perfect. I didn't look down to find my plate coated in that bright orange grease that you so often find dripping from the fold. If this was good, though, the artichoke and spinach was flat out insane. The softness of the toppings with the blend of the cheeses (which I'm guessing were mozzarella, Parmesan and Gruyere) made something so creamy and so delicious I think that calling it a pizza does it an injustice. It transcends pizza.

I just wish I could sit down.

Pizza is the somewhat higher than the norm in NYC price of $4 per slice. But you do get what you pay for.

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza & Brewery on Urbanspoon

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