2006_11_GothamBurek.jpgPizzerias in this city are so common that sometimes you wonder if they’re all legit. Is that place on the corner really just another Ray’s Famous, or is it a front for some illicit trade? On the surface, Tony & Tina’s Pizzeria in the Bronx seems ordinary enough. But if you look a little closer, you’ll discover there’s more than one kind of dough getting baked here. It’s nothing illegal; this just happens to be one of the few hotspots for bureks, the savory Eastern European pies made from phyllo-like pastry.

At Tony & Tina’s, half of the counter case displays run-of-the-mill pizzas; the other half, bureks with different fillings. The cheese burek has a mild, soothing taste and texture, like feta cut with ricotta. The pumpkin comes in a beguiling horseshoe shape. There are also bureks stuffed with spinach and meat, and all cost $12 for the whole pie or $3 by the slice. Getting a slice to go may feel like a suspiciously American practice, but in fact bureks are often sold as fast food in Albania and other parts of the former Ottoman empire. But be forewarned if you try to walk and eat one at the same time; you’ll end up with plenty on your shirt. Bureks are a lot flakier and a lot heftier than their Italian counterparts. The pastry envelope is made up of innumerable layers that progress from crisp as a croissant on the outside to soft as butter inside—like a Greek spinach pie but thicker and more intense. It makes for an irresistible snack and a formidable alternative to the old pizza pie.

If you’re inspired to seek out other bureks, check out Chowhound's reports on shops in Astoria and Midwood (which, by the way, don’t seem to bother putting up the pizza front).

Tony & Tina's Pizzeria
2483 Arthur Ave
Bronx, New York