Pizza & Pizzella @ Forcella

334 Bowery Street, New York

Pizzella at Forcella

When the MoMA will open a pizza art gallery, the curator will probably include Forcella as a leading example of the new wave of Neapolitan style pizza in New York.

The name of the restaurant comes from an iconic neighborhood in Naples, and the pizza experience at Forcella is true to its Italian roots. The pizza is impeccable, the ingredients are of excellent quality, the spicy olive oil is available on request, and the waiters always try to sell you more expensive beverages.

It is impossible to resist to the “Pizzella”, a tiny piece of pizza dough quickly fried and then baked with a simple topping of tomato and cheese. This is an absolute must, especially if you are not going to order the “Montanara”, the deep fried whole pizza.

The “Margherita Extra” is pure art and passion. The crust is thick, light and fluffy. The toppings are perfectly blended together creating a continuum of flavors, from the acid-sweetness of the tomato to the decadent, sinful opulence of the melted cheese. A masterpiece on a plate.

Margherita Extra at Forcella

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Pizza @ Kesté

271 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

“Kesté” reads like “this is it” in Neapolitan dialect. The naming is the appropriate answer to a critical question: are you looking for a good Neapolitan-style pizza in the Greenwich Village? Kesté: this is it!

As usual, the Margherita is the first choice to prove the overall quality. In this case the experience is outstanding. The crust starts thick on the borders – crunchy outside and soft inside – and it becomes thinner in the center. The tomato sauce and the mozzarella do not release too much water: this allows for a thin crust that can hold all the ingredients without becoming soggy. The buffalo milk mozzarella is tender and loaded with flavor: it blends with the pizza and melts in your mouth.

If you want to try a different type of pizza, I recommend the Burrata, a special that may not be always available and that could be shared, considered that “burrata” is a soft cheese heavier than mozzarella.

 

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Pizza @ Pizza Roma [CLOSED]

259 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

Pizza by the slice did not benefit significantly from the pizza renaissance that took place in New York. The triangle-shaped thick slices are still dominant while the rectangular shaped slices – typical of the Italian tradition – are a rare find.

Pizza Roma is one of the few places where the slices are rectangular and the crust is true pizza rather than a bagel-bread hybrid.

The pizzaiolo makes pizzas with many different toppings: a true symphony of flavors where I recently enjoyed a memorable “crescendo”.

Start “adagio” with pizza bianca: a classic that will let you appreciate the quality of the dough. Accelerate to “andante” with the mosaic of zucchini and the hidden layer of melted cheese. When the margherita comes, it is time for an “allegro” of mozzarella and tomato sauce. And finally the “vivace” flavor of the porcini pizza, where the mushrooms are true porcini with their unmistakeable fatty texture and fully developed flavor. “Bravo, maestro!”.

Pizza @ Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

114 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY

When you go to Artichoke Pizza, you should take the same precautions before going to the beach for a swim: wait at least four hours since your previous meal. The pizza is really good and you will not be able to stop until you are scratching the last drops of melted cheese from the bottom of the 18″ metal plate. In this case, your first choice should not be the classic “margherita”. A place that has “artichoke” and “pizza” in its name gives you a subtle hint about what you should order.

The crust is thick and with high borders: it is almost like a pan (tasting obviously better than a pan) where the artichokes are literally dipped in a melted mix of cheese. This pizza is a celebration of abundance and flavors. You will really enjoy it if you follow the “beach swim” rule stated above, and if you have a good lager beer to refresh your mouth.

The Chelsea location is recommended if you want to eat the pizza “on site”, which is always the preferred option.

Brunch Pizza @ Pulino’s [CLOSED]

282 Bowery,  New York, NY 

“[…] Deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice”. This is how the Merriam-Webster dictionary, defines the concept of “heresy”. This was also my initial thought as I saw the pizzas in Pulino’s  brunch menu: heresy!

After ordering the pizza with salmon, potatoes and crème fraîche I was forced to eat my prejudice, together with the eight slices of this interesting interpretation of a traditional recipe.

In this case, pizza is not the main subject. Its crust is thin, properly baked and with a good flavor, resulting from a mix of different flours. However, the crust is only the canvas where thinly sliced salmon, potatoes and onions are masterfully combined. A tiny amount of crème fraîche keeps everything together.

This is my favorite choice at Pulino’s, where I suggest to go only if there are tables available outside or if the inside open space is not too crowded (and noisy).

Gelato @ Otto

1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Where in the world would you go to a Pizzeria, sit at a table and order only a gelato? And most importantly: why would you do that?

The only place I know is Otto, in New York City, and the reason is fairly simple: their olive oil gelato is phenomenal. Yes, they have olive oil gelato: it is smooth, rich, epicurean and luxurious. This olive oil gelato cup is made to enjoy different flavors and play with them. Every spoon of this cold treasure can be mixed with either passion fruit granita and salt or a creamy lemon custard or sweet berries. The biscuit on top can be used to create an innovative bruschetta (without garlic, of course!). Nothing in the menu can compete with this dessert, so why waiting until the end of the meal before enjoying it? Go to the pizzeria and order the gelato, you won’t be disappointed.

Pizza @ Da Mikele

275 Church Street, New York, NY

You can call him either Michele, as per the Italian spelling, or Mikele, as per the name of his restaurant in Tribeca. Regardless of his name, this guy has always had a good touch for pizza.
Several years ago, you could find him at Luzzo’s, showing East Villagers what is the difference between a good pizza and the slices sold at St Marks Place.
Now, Michele (or Mikele) moved to a more gentrified area, changed the style of his pizza, and still delivers an amazing product. The pizza is square and served on a wood board. The mozzarella is delicious, melted to perfection and blended with the delicate tomato sauce. The pizza is medium-thick with a rich flavor, probably thanks to generous brush of oil applied before going into the oven.

Enjoy this pizza with a good selection of Italian beers on tap, and close with a shot of limoncello.