It could be argued that all pizza is by definition "ethnic," but we think some pizzeria fare is especially deserving of this designation. Ethnic Pizza Patrol strives to find unique cultural interpretations of this classic New York City food. Expect piping hot tips about New York City pizzerias that feature an ethnic twist on pizza as we know it; combine a pizzeria with another concept, i.e. a taco joint; or manage to do all of the above.
As you've no doubt guessed by now, our first stop is Argentina, specifically La Esquina Argentina, a cheerful little spot in Corona, that offers the country's take on pizza as well as the assortment of grilled beef one typically finds at a parrillada, or Argentine steakhouse. Its name translates to "the Argentine corner." One glance at the menu, which features nine pastas such as ravioles de carne and ñoquis con Roquefort, and it becomes clear that the link between Argentine and Italian cuisines goes beyond pizza.
The relationship the two cuisines is even more apparent once one orders up some of the food. On our first visit we had a slice of fugazza. Its thick, slightly salty crust and coating of sliced onions bore more than a passing a resemblance to Italy's focaccia. And the espinaca frita, or fried spinach croquette, is surely Argentina's answer to the frittata. We also had the faina. The dense chickpea flour-based slice was tasty, but it was closer to a grain pie than any slice of pizza we've ever sampled. And then there was the fugazzeta, the calorie-laden cousin of the fugazza. Nothing like a nice coating of cheese to up the ante on a simple onion focaccia.
Gothamist also tried La Esquina's Argentina de jamon slice, another thickish wedge of fugazza. It was decked out with cheese and ham and adorned with a green olive and a ribbon of red pepper. Lastly, since every good pizzeria should have a top-notch sandwich we tried the sandwich de molleja. At the risk of hyperbole, it handily exceeded our expectations. The sweetbreads had a perfect balance of crunchiness and creaminess. And they were even better when spiked with a few spoonfuls of garlicky chimichurri.
La Esquina Argentina, 96-01 Corona Ave., 718-592-9825