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Ed Levine Takes Two Pizzerias and Breaks Down Their Soul

Last week, I blogged in defense of Pizzeria Delfina versus Gialina, an opinion I still stand by.

Michael Bauer might have beat him to it, but finally Ed Levine posted his personal opinion about Gialina and Delfina's pizza on the Slice blog.

The debate began with Alan Richman's feature in GQ, "American Pie", selecting 25 of America's best pizzas—in order. He ranked Gialina's pizza 14th in the nation and Delfina Pizzeria's third, claiming, "Delfina has easily the best crust in San Francisco, an unusually successful fusion of Neapolitan and American styles." Note the word: easily.

Levine disagrees, at a loss in English, he reaches for French, saying that Delfina's crust not only lacked "je ne sais quoi … " Then the word comes to him, "it lacked [drumroll], soul."

Levine wasn't that impressed by Gialina's Atomic pie that Michael Bauer so adores and likes the potato and bacon better. The crust report: "The crust was irregularly shaped. Some parts of the cornicione were raised a couple of inches, while others were barely a half inch high. But without tasting my first slice I immediately sensed that this was pizza I was going to fully embrace." He then goes on to proclaim their pizza has not only soul, but heart too—two of the "most important ingredients" in pizza.

Funny the language people use to speak about food. Although Levine also discusses the sharp, smoky, crunchy (too crunchy for me) and tender nature of Gialina's pizza, he bases his final opinion on an emotional experience more than a technical one (which is why I think you need to be a good writer to be a good critic—emotions are much harder to get across on paper). As I said before, taste is subjective. But people sure get riled up when someone disagrees with their subjectivity, especially in regards to pizza. I'm thinking that maybe restaurant critics should throw out the star rating system and replace it with something to the effect of: heart; soul; or heart and soul. Heartless being like one-star, but far, far worse.