New York food writer Ed Levine, the man behind Serious Eats, is one of our favorite foodies. We read his blog religiously and crave pretty much every single dish he mentions. When he’s wrong, however, he’s wrong and boy is he wrong right now. Levine has started a series of posts on his personal blog Ed Levine’s New York Eats comparing the foods of Boston and New York in preparation for the Pats/Giants Super Bowl matchup. In his first comparative post, he evaluated both cities in terms of their aptitude in sandwiches, pizza, and ice cream. In future posts, he’s promised to address bread, barbecue, hot dogs, hamburgers, and soup. We’ve spent quite a bit of time living in both cities, so we feel fairly well-equipped to make some comparisons ourself. Let’s take it category by category.
Boston: From the All Star Sandwich Bar to Cardullo’s to flour bakery + cafe to Parish Cafe, Boston is a superlative place to get a sandwich. Boston is also the home of the lobster roll, which is, quite simply, the world’s greatest sandwich.
New York: New York is most certainly not without its own sandwich charms. We constantly crave the Despaña bocadillo from the Soho shop of the same name, along with the pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen and there is no denying the fact that New York’s banh mi options are far superior to those available in our fair city. Nonetheless, we cannot help but be troubled by the difficulty of finding a reasonable seafood sandwich in the Big Apple.
Advantage: Boston (by a hair)
Boston: While Boston is plagued by a number of truly mediocre pizza spots, we also have many pizzerias at the very top of their games: Santarpio’s Pizza, Gran Gusto, the original Pizzeria Regina, and Emma’s Pizza. Furthermore, our pizza chains are far more consistent than New York’s: Bertucci’s always makes a solid pie, as does The Upper Crust.
New York: While Boston does make some great pies, there is no comparison between anywhere in Boston and the justly legendary Di Fara. The pizzas at Lucali, Una Pizza Napoletana, and Franny’s are also all near-perfect. Finally, there’s no denying the fact that you’re much more likely to get a good slice at a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint in New York than you are in Boston.
Advantage: New York (closer than New Yorkers might think!)
Boston: Are you kidding? Boston is, quite simply, America’s best ice cream city. Truly, there is an embarrassment of riches: J.P. Licks, the hopefully-soon-to-reopen Toscanini’s Ice Cream, Herrell’s, Christina’s, Lizzy’s Ice Cream. And that’s not even including the many excellent places in further-flung suburbs!
New York: Straight up, New York has almost NO neighborhood ice cream places. It is really very difficult to go out for a walk on a summer’s evening and decide to get a cone. Generally, you have to get a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (which, BTW, comes from New England) from your local bodega. Oh, there’s plenty of gelato (the olive oil gelato at Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria is one of our favorite substances in this world), but you know what? We love gelato, but it’s not the same as ice cream. The awesome Shake Shack makes great frozen custard, but frozen custard is also not ice cream. Really, one of the very few places we’ve found that approximates Boston-style ice cream to go is Blue Marble.
Advantage: Boston (no contest)
Like Levine, we’re going to break this one up. We’ll be back to the Food Super Bowl with more categories tomorrow morning. In the meantime, feel free to chime in with comments.