It would be silly to evaluate Bill Gates’ success in terms of other college dropouts. Sure, he dropped out of college, but he’s done well by the standards of Mother Teresa and Gordon Gekko. Likewise, we wouldn’t compare Tom Brady to other sixth-round draft picks. Two decades later, he’s more of a Boston hero than Paul Revere. And it would also be foolish to judge Bread And Salt only in the context of other slice shops. This Jersey City spot happens to be a counter-service pizza place, but it does so many things exceptionally well that it should be a dining destination for everyone in the New York City area.
Bread And Salt serves Roman-style pizza, and the light, square crust is worth a trip to the Jersey City Heights on its own. For anyone who’s used to pizza shops serving slices as heavy as dumbbells, the ones here will feel like a machine at the gym when there’s no pin in the weights. The slightly charred base is crunchy, and the sweet airy dough above it is more similar to the inside of a croissant than typical pizza crust. Not since your ex texted you “what’s new?” has something so seemingly simple turned out to be so layered and complex.
With crust this good, the toppings at Bread And Salt play a supporting role, but they’re certainly not an afterthought. The slices available change every few minutes, so your choice of toppings is entirely dependent on whatever recently came out of the oven. On your first trip up to the counter, there might be a few oblong pies topped with mozzarella pulled in-house, pesto made by hand behind the register, or charred tomatoes that burst like juice-filled balloons. Head up to the register again, and there could be a pizza topped with meatballs and oily peppers - a delicious slice that’s more Jersey than political corruption and trips “down the shore.”
The pizza separates Bread And Salt from nearly every other slice spot around New York City, and the other dishes raise it a notch above the rest. The meatballs don’t crumble, but slowly dissolve when you bite into them, and the stracciatella exists in some undefined material state that is solid, liquid, and gas all at once. And when you eat the bread topped with creamy butter and lots of salty bottarga, you should pour a little wine out of your plastic cup in honor of all the other bread and butter dishes you’ll never think about again.
Whether you order the fantastic $2 rossa slice or you splurge for the most expensive dish on the menu - a $12 bowl of meatballs - you’re going to eat a lot of delicious food here without spending much money. That’s especially true because this 25-seat spot is BYOB. So bring a couple bottles of Italian wine, sit near the garage-style door that opens in nice weather, and hang out for an hour or two ordering new slices as they become available.
Jersey City already has arguably the best whole pie pizza place in the New York City area with Razza. And now it’s home to arguably the best slice spot, too.
Seeing the “sold out” sign over the meatballs here is like being ignored by your crush in public - you knew it was coming, but it hurts anyway. That’s often the case here, which you’ll understand once you finally try them. The meatballs are incredibly tender, but the best part of the dish is the big bowl of tomato sauce that’s kind of like a sweet and acidic bolognese soup.
This is a bittersweet dish. Well, it’s actually a perfect balance of salty and rich. But it’s bittersweet in an emotional sense because while you’ll love eating it, you’ll also realize that you’ll never be able to look at regular bread and butter the same way again.
Eventually, in Green Bay Packers heaven, we imagine Brett Favre and some guy with a cheesehead hat will be hanging out on a cloud made of this stracciatella. They’ll chat about winning Super Bowls while eating fistfuls of cheese, anchovies, and dried tomatoes straight out of their hands.
The ricotta and honey is almost worth ordering just for the side of bread that comes along with it, but the watery ricotta and heavy pour of honey on top are not our favorite. This is the one non-pizza dish to avoid here.
The Louisiana Purchase cost the US about three cents per acre, so for the cost of this slice, you could’ve bought around 67 acres from the French. This slice is the better deal. It’s just crust and tomato sauce, but those are the two best ingredients here.
This is like the rossa, but it also includes mozzarella pulled in-house and basil so fresh that each bite will remind you of someplace where greens don’t just grow in cracks in the sidewalk.
Concord grapes are the foundation of Manischewitz wine and Welch’s grape juice. And while the grapes on this pizza are topped with black pepper and rosemary, we can’t get past the memories of juice boxes at recess and heavy pours from grandma at Passover.
You’re in North Jersey, so act like it. The peppers are somehow as savory as the meatballs, and the thin crust holds everything together nearly as well as Carmela Soprano.
One of the many indicators that you’re not in a typical slice shop is the mortar filled with basil and hazelnuts behind the counter. That pesto ends up on this pizza with charred tomatoes, and when you take a bite, you’ll get an even stronger indication that you’re not in a typical slice shop.
We understand that stomach real estate is valuable at a place where you’ll want to try every pizza that comes out of the oven, but you need to get at least one sandwich. They use plain pizza for bread, and the best one has so much delicious mortadella that you’ll lose track of your real estate value like it’s 2007.