In a shopping center on the northeast corner of the Loop 1604 access road, at Kitty Hawk in Universal City, is one of the three local Ray’s Pizzaria locations. One recent Saturday afternoon, I was driving by and decided to stop in. I was glad I did.
Ray’s declares itself in every way to be a neighborhood pizza place, patterned on the many small NYC pizza places. Displays of NYC-themed movie posters and photos of Italian-American movie stars are mixed with New York Yankee signs and jerseys.
The restaurant itself is small and totally unpretentious. It looks like a place to stop by for a slice and a drink, and that’s what it is. The menu includes whole pizzas, subs, pasta entrees, desserts and more.
I love a good slice of pizza, and I was happy to see the sign with the combo specials listed. For $5.95, you can get a salad, slice with choice of topping, and drink. For the same price you can get two slices and a drink. I know that there are other combo specials, but just then another patron carried a couple of slices past me, and my brain went into slice overload. My friend and I each ordered the slice and salad combo.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the salad. When the counterperson brought it over, I was quite pleasantly surprised. Fresh greens were garnished with tomato slices, black olives, mozzarella cheese, garbanzo beans and a sweet pepper. A good balsamic vinaigrette accompanied the salad, which was served on a cold plate. Overall, this lunch was off to an impressive start.
And when the pizza slices arrived, I was even more impressed.
The crust was that famous, NYC thin and “foldable” crust – substantial and crisp underneath, bubbly at the edges and seriously thin in the middle. The sauce was excellent and the Italian sausage was spicy.
My friend’s pepperoni slice was also good.
The slices were large and filling. Overall, the pizza slices were a great choice!
I do have to admit that after finishing my salad and while waiting for my pizza, I was looking at a generous plate of spaghetti and meatballs — featuring three large, luscious looking meatballs — served to a nearby diner. He was originally from the Bronx and he told me that he loved the place, that it reminded him of home, that he couldn’t eat there if they had any Mets stuff displayed, and that the place would be perfect if they showed the Yankees games during the season. He said the spaghetti and meatballs reminded him of home. I made a note to try them one day — if I can get past the pizza, that is.
We had to try the desserts. The cheesecake was a good, basic cheesecake.
But the cannoli was really good — not Palumbo’s good, but really pretty darn good.
The creamy cheese was rich and sweet. I would order this again in a heartbeat. Maybe I need one today on the way to run errands — after a slice, of course.
When we were at Ray’s, the service was great. The lady at the counter answered all of our questions, brought us our food, and asked us if we were enjoying it.
With good prices and great food, Ray’s is going to become a regular place for me to stop in.
You can view the menu and more info at http://www.rayspizzaria.com/.