Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Best Pizza in Seoul (Or, Thank You For Sucking, LG)

LG is my cell phone provider and with my most recent phone it seems they've just given up. I'd say about a third of the texts I send Jong-min never get there, and instead he gets a message saying they're from a number no longer in use. And, likewise, some of his texts never get to me.

Neither of us realized this until about 9:30 this past Saturday night, when he finally got a hold of me by actually calling and I found out that no, he hadn't been blowing me off all day (he was supposed to come up to visit me in Uijeongbu, and this was the third in a series of scheduled visits that inevitably had to be put off), my phone had just been fucking me over.

Fortunately I was with a friend of mine with a real apartment and an electric piano so I blew off some of my rage-against-the-machine by beating the shit out of the first few bars of Schubert's Moment Musical No. 5.

Relevant to this, I guess: I took piano lessons for all of my growing-up years and (until the end of high school) took it fairly seriously. I was an orch dork and a bando too, but piano is my first (and best) instrument; this piece is my go-to rage song/musical therapy choice. I played it a lot in high school, because I was a stupid teenager who was pissed off a lot. I've mostly since mellowed out, so the fact that I felt it necessary to abuse poor Schubert says a lot about how I felt at that particular moment in time.

Beating up Schubert did a lot to make me feel better, but on Sunday I still woke up pissed. Determined to make the best of weekend plans ruined, I texted Jong-min and said I was free if he wanted to get dinner in Seoul to make up for our failed outing.

Lest I sound like a desperate creeper: back in my Sherlock days, Jong-min and I would easily see each other once a week, if not twice. Since I've come back, our schedules haven't been nearly as complementary and we're lucky to see each other twice a month. A missed friend-date now stings a bit more than it would otherwise. 

Besides, I figured it was about time I learn where the 3100 (Daejin Uni - Uijeongbu - Gangnam) bus stop is, so we decided to meet at 6:30 at Sinnonhyeon station and grab some eats. 

Our meandering took us to a place a few blocks back from Gangnam-ro with the banal name of New York Pizza. It seemed a lot quieter than the surrounding coffee shops and restaurants (some of which had lines out the door), and the entrance boasted an owner who had gone to New York city to learn how to make New York-style pizza.

After five minutes faffing about and debating whether we should try a nearby Spanish restaurant instead, we went for the pizza. "It's hard to fuck up pizza. Even bad pizza is still good food."

They didn't fuck it up, though. It was amazing.

I'm not the kind of person who gets homesick a lot. The things I do crave, I either do without (whole wheat potato bread) or make myself (pirogi). Pizza isn't really one of those things. I don't have the beef with Korean pizza that some people do. Sure, it's different than home but it's still good enough to eat. There's even an Italian place in Minlak-dong my friends and I frequent that does really tasty Italian-style artisan pizzas.

But American New York style pizza, greasy and thin with a nice dough-y crust and without any renegade corn is not that common here. There is a niche to fill and New York Pizza does it well. So well that I didn't realize I missed it until I had some. Jong-min was equally impressed. 

American pizza in Seoul New York Pizza Gangnam
There are some foreigners who
would kill a man for this.
The owner speaks pretty good English. He even came over to ask me what I thought of the pizza (I guess because as a foreigner/American I was like a litmus test for him?), which I couldn't praise enough. Because holy shit.

I'm pretty sure the place is rather new. I'm not seeing it mentioned online anywhere, nor does it seem to have a web presence (at least one in English).  For all I know, I may have been the first foreign customer to find the place. I really hope it takes off, and I see no reason why it shouldn't, because there are so many American/Canadians homesick for exactly that. The downside is, it's damn expensive pizza (like 27,000 won for a 14" "couple" pizza), but maybe he'll be able to bring the prices down in the future, once business picks up a bit.

They make your pizza to order right behind the counter, which is always a fun time. The interior is nice, too. And either they pay for some kind of Internet radio, or they keep the stereo loaded up with a nice selection of old anglophone top 40 hits, (or they keep it tuned to whatever American military radio station there is?) because this was the first time I've heard The Monkees, Deep Purple, or George Harrison while I've been out and about. That was just as much fun for me as the food. (Jong-min, who is not the most musically literate of people, clearly was not as amused as I was.)

In fact, recounting just how tasty it was has pretty much wiped the memory of my shit phone from my brain, which was my whole reason for posting in the first place. That's how good it is, guys: it's magical memory-wiping pizza. It's like the neuralizer from Men in Black

So, if my phone is so shit, why should I be thanking LG?

Well, if their service hadn't sucked, Jong-min would have come up to Uijeongbu on Saturday. If he had come up to Uijeongbu on Saturday, I wouldn't have felt the need to suggest we get dinner in Gangnam on Sunday. And if we hadn't had dinner in Gangnam on Sunday, then we wouldn't have found New York Pizza. .

New York Pizza is near exit 10 of Gangnam station, set up the hill, a few blocks away from the main road. Because we were just kind of meandering, I didn't keep track of where we were. It'll take you a bit of hunting, but if you're a bit homesick and in need of artery-clogging pizza, head to Gangnam to see if you can find New York Pizza. Absolutely worth it. 

1 comment:

  1. You probably can't find it because this place is actually called Brick Oven, not New York Pizza. :) It's definitely got an online presence, bloggers are pretty crazy about it, haha.