My NY Minute at Rocco's Pizza

Melissa Uchiyama

I burned my mouth quite badly yesterday–that little space above my two front teeth is even worse today. But how I did it will make you jealous, especially if you live in Tokyo and remember days of yore with a big ol’ NY slice.

I’m talking pizza and I would surely burn my mouth again. It was the searing hot mozzerella and sauce that I couldn’t wait for. Patience has never been my gift.

Rocco’s NY Style Pizza is quickly gaining notoriety through Tokyo as it is the only authentic NY pizza available. This automatically deserves our attention.

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While some swear allegiance to Chicago pies, and others here claim Sbarro’s or even (gasp) Costco’s makes pizza best, I know where I stand. I am a true-blue fan of the NY slice.

Are you a NY Pizza Fan?

A friend of mine told me of his recent find, Rocco’s, only to learn that I’d been sitting on the jackpot myeslf, not sharing the knowledge. When he found out that not only had I eaten there before, but I was also in their (free) delivery-zone? He went Godfather on me. “You are dead to me now. Dead, I say.”

Such is the passion we American expats carry for a NY slice–the kind you fold-over and maybe top with a little parmesano, oregano, and crushed red. (Rocco’s does supply Tabasco, as well). Situated in northern Tokyo, close to JR and Toyko Metro Lines, it may be a bit out of your way. Yet, it is much closer and cheaper than hopping a flight to the Big Apple.

At your fingertips. I’d almost forgotten how blissful a slice of cheese with sprinkles of crushed red is. | Photo by Melissa Uchiyama

It’s wild to be in Tokyo and use the same condiment shakers as you’d find in the US, and then be transported as you fold your pizza and inhale the first bite. Glory.

Just What Makes it a NY Slice, Exactly?

Large size…18 inches or larger (Check. Rocco’s large pie is 18 inches, 46 cm).

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Thin crust which becomes a nice chewy crust to hold onto by the end. Also, you need some nice bubbles in the crust! (Rocco’s also delivers in the thin, delicious crust department).

A large slice which is folded over, may be enjoyed on a white paper plate, and eaten with visible strings of melted mozzarella cheese hanging between the slice and your happy mouth. (Rocco’s is a bit more fancy, with real plates. Same fold-over, same fabulous cheese).

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There are more technical points in the kneading and baking, I’m sure. Some also swear it’s that NY water. These are just some of the obvious points a NY pizza-lover enjoys.

Here’s the fold, er…a partial fold, as it was still very hot. | Photo by Melissa Uchiyama

Why is it So Soul-Satisfying?

Some foods leave you both satisfied and eager for more, knees wobbly like jello. A NY pizzeria in Tokyo is more than another food option; it is a bit beyond just the physical, even when you weren’t even pining for home or for that most amazing slice you once had while visiting a friend in college. Or when you first fell in love with old NY in films. Or when you walked around impersonating lines from My Cousin Vinny. A NY slice stands for so much more. And in this Tokyo setting? It is a grand thing.

Here’s a little song, ala Jay-Z & Alecia Keyes, to bring you some of that NY magic.

Are You a Sports-Fan?

Watch NFL, MLB, and NBA games on Rocco’s flatscreen as you dine on wings (4 for 650 yen, 6 for 900 yen), pizza by the pie or slice, garlic knots, and other sides.

Visit their sports page to view games and dates.

Quintessential game-watching goodies, picture borrowed from Rocco’s site. | Photo by Melissa Uchiyama

Do They Have My Favorite Toppings?

Oodles of topping-choices, as well as pre-made pizzas like Hawaiian, Teriyaki Chicken (really good, despite my fear of mayonnaise-based-sauces),  Mexican Pizza (made with homeade chili), etc, are served daily.

Create your own pizzas with plenty of veggie choices, to corn and seafood for a more Japanese-style pizza. Of course, in the spirit of NY, you can’t go wrong with plain cheese. There is also pepperoni.

Mushroom and onion is a nice combo. Fresh mushrooms and plenty of bite left in the onions. | Photo by Melissa Uchiyama
Wall menu in Japanese. Everything is bilingual, making it a perfect spot for your whole crew. | Photo by Melissa Uchiyama

Any Deals?

Weekday lunches are this: with your slice, you can grab a drink, salad, or soup for 100 yen each. This is 100 yen cheaper than offered at other times.

Your slice-price depends on what you order. For example, a slice of Italian sausage and green peppers is 450 yen, whereas classic NYC cheese is 375 yen.

Here is the full-menu. Pies are quite comparable to more Japanese-styled pizza offerings, but you will know you’re getting the real-deal.

What Else?

Dan, owner and pizza-maker, hails from upstate NY, in Woodstock. His oven is also an import from the US, and their offered cheesecakes , original with blueberry sauce, or chocolate, are flown-in from Brooklyn.

Ready to pull-out another beauty. Go large or go home. | Photo by Melissa Uchiyama

He and his wife, Keiko, know how to bring the goods. Their garlic-knots bear impeccable crust and a sensational, chewy inside, all smothered in garlic butter, salt, and herbs. Even after my two hearty slices, ginger ale, homemade tomato-veggie soup, and small salad, I could have ripped into more of those garlic knots.

Garlic garlic garlic, rolling in butter. Perfection. | Photo by Melissa Uchiyama

Kirin Heartland beer is poured from the tap for 500 yen a glass, and there are cocktails, shots, bottles, and glasses of wine at the ready.

Rocco’s offers various soft drinks,  juice, coffee, hot cocoa, and tea.

Here is Rocco’s on Facebook.

Please tell me when you’ve been converted to the NY style slice, or how you think Rocco’s stacks-up.

Name:Rocco’s New York Style Pizza
Location:1-1-24 Oji-honcho
Kita-ku, Tokyo 114-0022
Closest Station:3 min. walk from Oji Station’s north exit (JR Keihin Tohoku-Line), or 3 min. walk from exit 3 of the Namboku Line/ Tokyo Metro of Oji Station
Phone:(03)3906-9710 (Speak in English or Japanese) Woohoo! Life is good.
Business hours:Wednesday- Friday 11:00-14:00/17:00-21:00
Saturdays 11:00-21:00
Sundays & Holidays 11:00-20:00
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Open Japanese national holidays, even if they fall on a Monday/Tuesday.

Rocco’s also hosts events & will happily open for you & your event during a time they would normally be closed. Friends, you can start planning my next surprise bday party.

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9 Responses to “My NY Minute at Rocco's Pizza”

  1. Avatar

    Thanks for the awesome write-up! A slice from the Big Apple right here in Tokyo. Awesome! I’m on a low-carb diet, but this joint is gonna be just perfect for my once-a-week-allowed cheat day! I have a request. Please do a write-up for that Chicago pizza joint in Kanda called Devil Craft. The homepage is Keep ’em coming!

    • Melissau

      Rich–this should definitely be your cheat-day fest. Thanks for the great suggestion about Devil Craft! I shall happily check them out & review their Chicago-goods.

  2. Avatar

    I can’t wait to get up there from Yokohama. when oh when oh when!

  3. Avatar

    Oh my kittens that is so close to where I live! I go through Oji everyday. I’m definitely going to go there soon. Perhaps this week!

  4. Avatar

    I ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza and was surly disappointed. The slice was NOT what you would expect as NY style pizza. It wasn’t floppy enough and you could eat it without folding it.

    • Avatar
      CheapoGreg August 30, 2014

      I think we’re going to have to give up on reviewing any place that claims to be New York style pizza. We covered Pizza Slice -> and everyone told us the pizza was terrible and that Rocco’s is the only place in Tokyo that does it properly, now this, then someone else says they went to Pizza Slice with some New Yorkers and it’s definitely authentic. I’m beginning to wonder if New Yorkers need to all get together in a room and make up their mind!

  5. Avatar
    Gureggu August 19, 2015

    So Rocco’s or Pizza Slice? Which is closest to the real deal? Need to know by lunchtime!

    • Avatar
      CheapoGreg August 19, 2015

      Good luck in your quest. As you can see from the comments, that’s a point of great contention!

      • Avatar
        Gureggu August 20, 2015

        ありがと ! Trying Rocco’s today. Although it’s more of a hike.

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