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In Search Of… The Queen City’s Best New York Style Pizza – Part 3

March 21, 2009

Neil’s Blog Entry

A week ago, while at the gym, my friend Chuck and I were talking about this here little blog of ours and I mentioned my quest for the best New York style pizza in Cincinnati. Chuck is originally from Philadelphia and grew up with New York style pizza like me, and so was very interested in my discoveries. And when I mentioned that one of the pizza places I was planning to visit also claimed to have authentic Philly cheese steaks, a lunch during the work week was planned.

Stop #3: Balboa’s

Balboa’s Philly Steaks and Pizzas is located on Vine Street in downtown Cincinnati. Once we found parking a few blocks away – which we didn’t mind at all because the weather was warm and sunny – we walked into Balboa’s. Instead of the prerequisite photos of New York on the walls, Balboa’s was decked out in images of Philadelphia. It was very clean and somewhat busy as it was St. Patrick’s Day and there were many of folk dressed in green grabbing some lunch after the morning’s parade downtown.

We asked the guy at the counter about Balboa’s and he said that it was a place in Philly that was pretty much transplanted from there to Cincinnati. They ship in the Amoroso rolls and meats every day from Philadelphia. Also imported directly from their Philadelphia bakery are TastyKakes. We were very excited about this and thus were a bit saddened to find out that they were out of Butterscotch Krimpets. So we grabbed some Cream-filled KoffeeKakes instead and ordered our lunch. I ordered two slices of cheese pizza, a half size cheese steak (Cheese Whiz only, please!) and a drink. My total bill with TastyKakes was $13.28.

The pizza arrived first and was absolutely perfect. The crust was just right – very flavorful, crispy and chewy. I’m no food scientist or anything, but there’s something about New York style crust that’s not like other kinds of pizza. Laura says it’s the yeast. She’s pretty smart about things like that, so let’s all just say it’s the yeast. Anyway, the cheese and sauce were perfectly balanced in terms of flavor and amount and spices.

There’s also a specific look to New York style pizza. The sparseness of the sauce and cheese… the dusting of oregano over the whole slice… the residual flour left on the crust… and Balboa’s pizza had all of that.

The cheese steaks arrived shortly after and it took me back to a vacation Laura and I spent in Philadelphia many moons ago. It was delicious – just like what you’d get on Market Street.

And so as Chuck and I finished our lunch, I wished Laura could have been with there with me to taste this great New York style pizza. I also thought that a second trip to The Flying Pizza would be needed in order to compare these two great pizzas. Maybe once we’ve visited all the places on our list, we’ll make a mad takeout dash across the greater Cincinnati area and taste-test them one by one at home or something like that.

So, hat’s off to you, Balboa’s, for not only bringing the deliciousness of New York to the Queen City, but quite a bit of Philadelphia as well.

Still with no pithy catchphrase,

One Comment leave one →
  1. paul permalink
    May 13, 2009 11:00 pm

    Do you guys realize that balboas has opened up a great full blown restaurant near Hyde Park. This place is absolutely incredible and they take the pizza they serve downtown to a whole new level at the new place on Madison Rd in O’bryonville.

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