Wall Street is positively LACKING in affordable, tasty lunch options. I have resorted mostly to bringing my own lunch, to save slapping down anywhere from $6-$9 for a sandwich that's too big for lunch, not to mention bland, from the "affordable" deli options, or to avoid succumbing to the temptation of forking over $9-$14 for the somewhat tastier, but pricier choices (sushi from Niko Niko, the Swedish place on Stone Street, or anything from Mangia). And it's not ever anything that I really want.
Thursday's warm weather sent me on a lunch-time stroll down Beaver Street, which cuts diagonally northeast from Broad Street towards Wall Street. At Wall, I spied a cart I had seen a few times last summer: John Vincent's Pizza and Catering, parked on the corner of Wall and Front Streets.
Pizza from a truck? The only times I had seen this pulled off was in the "tourist-fast food" setting, whether at The Spencer Fair in my youth, or more recently lining 17th Street in DC next to the White House, right next to trucks selling "Witness Protection Program" t-shirts and crystal replicas of Abraham Lincoln. No, I was quite certain I had never eaten pizza from a truck.
So I was quite skeptical when I plunked down my $2 for a slice of John Vincent's Sicilian pizza pie, which appeared to be their specialty (the guy in front of me bought four slices). They also offered a vodka slice for $3, as well as eggplant parmesean, chicken parmesean heros, and about a half-dozen other Italian hero items.
But I was quite pleased with this slice. The crust, as is expected with Sicilian, was thick -- about a 1/2 inch -- but it was charred underneath, making the overall bite crisp. My slice, which was a corner slice, was bathed in a healthy layer of tangy, garlicky tomato sauce. My impression was that the recipe for this sauce is probably quite simple -- but uses fresh ingredients. Topping the sauce was a dusting of pungent parmesean cheese and a single basil leaf, measuring about 4 inches in length. The overall effect? Simple, pleasing, authentic flavors on a substantial crust, the breadiness of which, despite its thickness, did not dominate the slice. This is not a "classic NY slice" -- no mozzarella holding it together -- but a tasty, affordable lunch option -- very welcome in the nabe.
I tried to research this place on Chowhound, and I swear I read at one point that John Vincent's is based on Staten Island, but I lost that post. At any rate, they supposedly have another truck on 47th and Vanderbilt, near Grand Central. Check it out, if you are so inclined.