"A man walks into a Jewish deli and orders a meatball pizza" sounds like the start of one of our Grandpa Sol's many long, off-color jokes, gleefully told at the dinner table while Grandma Lil looked on with dismay. At Miller's East Coast Deli, the joke is now real.
Owner Robby Morgenstein has installed a brick pizza oven in the middle of his open kitchen, behind the smoked fish counter topped with trays of hamentaschen and rugelach. We were concerned that Morgenstein, SFoodie's favorite local deli man, was simply hopping on the pizza gravy train. But after sampling a 12-inch meatball and smoked provolone pie ($10.99), our worries have been alleviated.
The black-bottomed crust was the star ingredient, crisp, and with plenty of air pockets around the edges. Toward the middle it shaded progressively softer and chewier, though never floppy, holding its own against a thin layer of tomato sauce. It was dotted with slices of garlicky meatball, enough so no bite was meatless, and a dense blanket of barely smoky cheese that seemed really more for texture. If you're looking for artisan pizza with name-checked ingredients, this isn't it. Instead, it's a pizza like Morgenstein's no-nonsense, flavor-packed Reuben or brisket platter. Even deli-loving Grandpa Sol could agree: This is no joke.
Miller's East Coast Deli: 1725 Polk St. (at Clay), 563-3542.