76 Bay St
City: Staten Island, NY
Phone: (718) 447-7437
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Pizza
Area: St George
“Pizza worth taking a boat for” is the catch phrase on the menu cover of Pier 76 Restaurant in Staten Island and a motto its owners and local boys, Jeremy Pappalardo and Joe Guastavino firmly stand by. A graduate of CIA, Pappalardo has pizza sauce running through his veins. His uncle is Joe, of Joe and Pat’s Pizza on Staten Island, and as a young kid he remembers his grandfather throwing pizza dough into the air. He even captures these special moments in a large black and white photo on the wall in the back of the restaurant.
Named because of its address at 76 Bay Street and proximity to the water, Pier 76 offers pies whole or by the slice with a variety of traditional and specialty toppings. The traditionalist in me of course ordered a slice of the cheese. It comes with a good amount of mozzarella and the sauce is fresh, seasoned nicely, and not too sweet. Pappalardo clearly points out that he never adds sugar to his marinara sauce and crushes the tomatoes himself. The crust is thin, very thin, and while I do like a little char on the ends it could have been taken out of the oven a tad bit sooner. Apart from this, it rated right up there in flavor.
I had no complaints about the slice of chicken francais. It’s one of their most popular sellers and comes with chunks of breaded sautéed chicken, mozzarella, and pieces of lemon on top. I have to admit that I was taken a back with the three rather large, wedge-like pieces of lemon awkwardly placed on top. I took them off and placed them aside, but after my first bite, I found myself squeezing and covering the pie with the juice from all three. The tartness of the lemon cut right through the saltiness of the chicken and the flavors really merged in my mouth. It was delicious and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The crust on this slice, I might add, was spot on.
Two other top sellers are the arugula pie served with grape tomatoes, red onions, reggiano cheese with a balsamic reduction, and a fig and goat cheese pizza, offered on weekdays only. The menu is much more extensive with choices of appetizers, pastas, seafood and burgers, but I came here for the pie. And, considering the ferry was free, the view in the harbor iconic (I’m talking of Lady Liberty of course), I’d say that it certainly was “pizza worth taking a boat for”.
Review By: Andrea Muller