Tag Archives: margherita pizza

margherita pizza

NYC Pizza Review: Masseria Dei Vini

Mark and I had a fun Memorial Day Weekend with friends from our building (and from life, since I’ve known her since we were five): eating pizza, seeing a Broadway musical and getting midnight gelato.

We had dinner at an unsuspecting Italian restaurant on 9th Avenue: Masseria Dei Vini. You would never know from a street full of hole-in-the-wall quick-bite eateries that a large, bright, white-washed upscale Italian restaurant lies behind huge glass windows.

Complete with white tablecloths, mannered waitstaff and a restaurant-length (and height) wall of temperature-controlled, beautifully lit wine bottles, Masseria Dei Vini¬†felt luxurious in an off-beat part of town. Like we had been transported away from anything grungy….maybe to the suburbs even?

 

Mark and I split a pasta as a our appetizer (even split it was a lot of food), and then I had the Margherita pizza as my main, of course.

magherita pizza
margherita pizza

The pizza was excellent and actually fairly large. I ate the whole thing. But I probably could’ve taken half home and still been full!

The crust was a puffy and charred. There was a perfect ratio of sauce to cheese (not too much sauce) and lots of basil leaves. I ate it with a knife and fork, but you definitely could’ve eaten it with hands too, which is to say, it wasn’t too soggy in the middle.

I would definitely return, although next time I would probably split the pizza, or force myself to stop eating and take the rest home!

meatball pizza (top) and spinach pizza (bottom) at Co. in Chelsea

Co. (NYC Pizza Review in Chelsea)

I have read so many great reviews of Co. (short for Company), a wood-fired pizza restaurant in Chelsea – from Food & Wine magazine top pizza lists, to Eater must-eats, that I was incredibly excited when a group of friends decided to dine there Friday night.

The chef, Jim Lahey, is a James Beard Award-winning baker, and Co. was founded by Lahey in conjunction with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, one of my all-time favorite chefs. All the more reason to get pumped for pizza!

First of all, I didn’t have a hand in making the reservation, but my friend who did said that they were SUPER accommodating and helpful. When planning a sit-down dinner for 15 or more, working with a restaurant that gets that there will be changes is key. She probably went back and forth with them on the number of people and menu details three or four times, literally right up until 5 minutes before we were served!

We had a prix fixe for $35/person (not including tip, tax, beverages) that consisted of appetizers, pizza and dessert served family-style, which was incredibly reasonable for the amount of DELICIOUS food we consumed.

For apps there were: olive oil flatbread with whipped ricotta, olives, roasted beets, caesar salad, bruschetta with beans and eggplant.

Group favorites: caesar salad, flatbread

For pizzas, we chose 5 varieties, although we ate many more than just 5 pies: margherita, meatball, prosciutto, sausage and mushroom, spinach and pecorino.

meatball pizza (top) and spinach pizza (bottom) at Co. in Chelsea
meatball pizza (top) and spinach pizza (bottom) at Co. in Chelsea

Group favorites: margherita, sausage and mushroom

For dessert, a fudge-like chocolate cake with powerful vanilla bean ice cream. I may have eaten two people’s portions ūüėÄ

OMG delicious all around. Wonderful customer service and well-priced. I will have to see if we are on their delivery route.

pizza margherita

NYC Pizza Review: Lil’ Frankie’s

With the advent of iPhone restaurant ordering apps, it doesn’t matter anymore if a particular restaurant delivers or delivers to your area because you can just place your order through this third party and they’ll pick up your food from pretty much any restaurant and delivery it to your door.

Now the problem arise when you choose to order from a pizzeria on the opposite side of New York City during rush hour on a weeknight. Not only does it take forever for your delicious pizza to arrive, but inevitably your pizza is cold.

Not to say that it’s not¬†worth doing this, because obviously if the pizza is amazing, then it is. And the situation can easily be rectified by planning ahead so that you’re not ordering at 7pm, getting your cold pizza at 8:30pm, and by factoring in some oven-lovin’ time for the ‘za prior to consumption.

So last week, we downloaded one of these ordering apps and conjured up some classic Neopolitan [sic] wood-fired pizzas from Lil’ Frankie’s¬†in the East Village.

I, of course, ordered my standard go-to pizza margherita and I got Mark a pizza salame piccante.

Even though they arrived cold, after some reheating, they were both thoroughly demolished. Obvi.

As you know, I really enjoy wood-fired pizza, and this was no exception with the chewy outer crust that you really have to rip hard with your jaw, super thin middle and perfectly portioned dollops of mozzarella and sprigs of basil. I also was pleasantly surprised by the very European touch of a black olive placed in the center of the pie.

I was, however, slightly confused by the image on the box….

Lil' Frankie's pizza box
Lil’ Frankie’s pizza box…What exactly is happening in this picture and should we all be baking pizza in the nude?

We will return. Perhaps in person.

TX Pizza Review: Coppa Ristorante

This past weekend in Houston, we went to dinner Coppa, an Italian restaurant that seemed to me to epitomize much of the Houston restaurant scene.

Clearly I don’t live in Houston nor have I spent copious amounts of time there, but I’ve eaten at a my fair share of establishments on my semi-annual trips. ¬†Here are the broad generalizations I’m going to make, and feel free to disagree (but please cite examples):

1. Lots of upscale or “finer” dining restaurants (notches above fast casual and family friendly) are situated in strip malls. ¬†They could be very nice, new, stone strip malls, or they could be run-of-the-mill. ¬†Either way, you may not realize that there’s a nice restaurant tucked on the side next to Kroger. ¬†You pull up to the parking lot thinking incredulously, “Huh, where are we?” ¬†Then you open the trying-to-be-historic-but-is-really-a-new-restaurant-trend obligatory heavy wooden door and boom! you’re in a white tablecloth restaurant. ¬†Surprise!

2. Once you enter said strip mall fine restaurant, the dining room(s) will be large, potentially cavernous, and have an eerie similarity to lots of other restaurants, and you may think that you have actually been to that place before.  However, while the placement of the bar, bathrooms and kitchen may be reminiscent of other establishments, the decor will vary, and hopefully, as in the case of Coppa, be warm and inviting.  When I walked into Coppa, I thought I had been there on an earlier trip, remembering the large wall of windows lined with long tables and the placement of the entryway and bar.  I had in fact never been there.  The bar was welcoming with large framed mirrors hanging over yet another mirror mounted on the wall, and I liked how the opposite back wall and secondary dining alcove were lined with the wine selection.

IMG_1925 IMG_1926

3. Tables will be crowded together and it will likely be loud. ¬†Because these dining rooms tend to consist of one very large room with high ceilings (and maybe a secondary room like at Coppa), there’s not much in the way of interior structures, such as half-walls, pillars (there were a few at the far end of the room at Coppa) or other alcoves in which to sit. ¬†Everyone is in one large room, where the tables are placed apart at the minimum socially acceptable distance. ¬†You think your waiter is walking away after only having placed half your party’s order, when you realize he’s just making his away around 12 other tables to get to the opposite side of your table to be able to hear the rest of the orders.

These are the sweeping stereotypes I’ve gleaned about the set up of many Houston restaurants. ¬†But on to the food at Coppa specifically:

I ordered a pizza margherita (as you can see, this is my go-to for assessing the true quality of pizza….crazy toppings may be good, but can you make a deliciously simple pie?) and the burrata appetizer. ¬†I thought both were done very well.

IMG_1928

The pizza was well-balanced in terms of ingredients, and I liked how the crust under the toppings was stiff and didn’t flop. ¬†I don’t have much else to say other than I ate the whole thing and will let the photo speak for itself. ¬†I also enjoyed that they brought the condiments over on a small plate from which you could take a pinch (or hand-full) and sprinkle it on to your heart’s content.

IMG_1929

The burrata was also delicious. ¬†It was served with arugula, coppa (an Italian cured pork, that was thinly sliced), campari tomatoes (bright, sweet and juicy), olive oil and sea salt. ¬†The sea salt stuck to the cheese via the olive oil and added some crunch to the bites. ¬†I liked how it wasn’t uniformly salty, but here and there you would get a little kick. ¬†The fresh arugula and tomatoes laced with bits of coppa gave those bites eaten with the burrata a slightly bitter, sweet and salty taste and some added texture. ¬†Delightful!

I can’t speak for the meals of my dinner companions, but I would definitely recommend the pizza here, and wouldn’t mind getting some carry out from Coppa next time we’re in town.