Two Boots East Village

Two Boots – East Village

Two Boots
Neighborhood: East Village
Cuisine: Pizza

Hey, Johnny, do you like spicy pizza? Yes, spicy. Because that’s exactly what you’ll get at Two Boots. Which, as far as I can discern, is called Two Boots to pay homage to Italy and Louisiana. Both of which look vaguely like boots. Because if there’s one state you think of when you think Italian, it’s Louisiana. Right? But you want to hear something really fucked up? They may take that Cajun spice and employ the heat in their sauce, but the pizza itself is New Haven style. Connecticut! But I guess “One Boot and One Boring Rectangle” wouldn’t be a good name for a pizza joint.

So what does one get in a hybrid pizza that is one part Bayou and one part an absolute garbage city in New England? Well, you get something weird and incredibly divisive in the city that gave pizza its US dominance. But, with its cornmeal embedded crust, flavorful sauce and bevy of oddball toppings, you get something unique and, for some, pretty intriguing. It’s essentially a modified bar pie. Crisp with little crust and not a whole lot of cheese. There is no gooeyness to it, no chance the cheese will slide off and scald your chin. You kind of have to hold it underneath because it doesn’t have that heel of crust by which to handle it. It’s not unlike a coal-fired pie, but lacks some of the moisture and lightness you might find in your typical fired pizza. I’m not sure if that’s a dough thing or a cooking technique or what, but it’s just kind of its own thing. That will, if you’re not careful, chew the shit out of the roof of your mouth with its somewhat coarse bottom. And then sting your abrased palate with those aforementioned spices. It’s like a New Haven torture device, that also happens to be Cajun tasty.

Really, there’s only so much I can say about the pizza. It’s specific, and it’s memorable and worth a try if you’re doing NYC pizza taste tests. The real draw — especially in this age of Instagram and whatnot — is the absolutely bonkers mosaic work outside and inside the joint. If you’re easily overwhelmed or put off by chaos, you might want to stay away. Also, if you have anything against celebrities, you won’t like the character names of the pizzas, or some of the artwork on the walls. Almost all of which is dedicated to the idolization of cult actors like Nicolas Cage and Luis Guzmán. And The Beatles, maybe? Whatever you can imagine, imagine more. The whole experience is maximalist. I have to assume all the stuff on the walls and counters and doors and everywhere has been added to over the years and not put in all at once. Nobody is that insane. But it makes for a very carnival-like experience that also probably photographs well.

Oh, my recollection is that I got a Tony Clifton (named after the Andy Kaufman character) slice, which has wild mushrooms, Vidalia onions, sweet red pepper pesto and mozzarella. And a slice of Mr. Pink (named after the Steve Buscemi character from Reservoir Dogs), which has Creole chicken, plum tomatoes, fresh garlic and mozzarella. It’s a lot of stuff, to be sure, but hot-damn if it doesn’t taste goooood. Though I don’t imagine it travels well, or tastes quite as good once it’s been sitting for a while. I am confused, though, why they list the Emily Litella pie in their “meat pizzas” category. It literally has no meat on it, what with breaded eggplant, sweet red pepper pesto, ricotta and mozzarella. I suppose maybe in Louisiana — or Connecticut — eggplant qualifies? I’m not sure, but I don’t ask questions.

42 Ave A (at 3rd St.)