Tag Archives: NYC 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!

Killer Bee pizza from B Side

NYC Pizza Review: B Side

I pass by B Side in Hell’s Kitchen at least once a week on my way to yoga. I knew it was a pizza place but the name didn’t inspire anything in me, so it wasn’t truly on my radar until a friend’s Italian boyfriend said it was one of his favorite pizza places in the neighborhood. Well now…

B Side is owned by a Hell’s Kitchen restaurant group that includes Vynl (the name B Side making more sense, as it is tucked around the corner from Vynl which is on 9th Ave and serves comfort food), El Centro (Mexican), Hell’s Kitchen (modern Mexican) and B Squared (another outpost of B Side farther down 9th Ave).

Mark and I went for dinner one evening and sat at the bar. I love the neighborhood feel of this place. It’s tiny, with mostly high top tables and a wrap around bar that provides a lot of seating. The front garage windows were thrown open this evening, and there is more bar seating along with window ledge. The decor is sleek wood with bright modern light fixtures shaped like star bursts along the wall.

We split the Marge (traditional cheese pizza) and the Killer Bee with sopressata, honey and chili oil.

Killer Bee pizza from B Side
Killer Bee pizza

Both pizzas were great! Chewy bubbly crust and not too soggy in the middle like some Neapolitan pizzas can be (I know, I know, they’re supposed to be like that).

I think my preference was for the Marge, just because the Killer Bee had a lot going on with it, and I didn’t love the sweet honey on this one as much as on other honey pizzas I’ve tried.

Also, the wine list is short and to the point, but includes some solid glasses. I had a light dry rose that was perfect for the early spring evening and the fresh hot pizza.

And they do carry-out. All wins!

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 😀

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

half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese

NYC Pizza Review: Bella Vita Again

Bella Vita has become our go-to New York style thin crust pizza spot. It’s got that chewy-soft foldable crust and enough grease but not to the point of dripping out the back of the fold onto the plate.

And yes, I reviewed it here once before. But something disappointing happened this week that makes me need to review it again.

We ordered delivery per the usual: one cheese pizza and one half pep/half mush.

But when it came, they weren’t regular cheese pizzas. Instead of standard shredded mozzarella, it was melted fresh buffalo mozzarella. Hmmmmm.

half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese

Looking back, we didn’t order anything differently than we had in the past.

But look at this pizza from last time!! Totally different cheese:

Bella Vita cheese pizza
Bella Vita cheese pizza

It still tasted great. And if I had EXPECTED this, then it would’ve been fine. But since I was NOT expecting the difference in cheese, I was a little sad and mad.

Overreaction? Maybe. Okay, fine. Definitely. But I’m still scratching my head on this.

I guess next time, I’ll know to expect the unexpected.

Oh, and I mean, it’s not like there were any leftovers. 😉

Roman style pizza "al metro" - by the meter

NYC Pizza Review: Merilu in Hell’s Kitchen

As we make our way around the New York City neighborhood pizza joints, the next stop is Merilu Pizza Al Metro on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen.

Merilu specializes in “Roman” style pizza (along with a classic New York thin crust), which has a crispy crust and is more often baked in long rectangles. Another discerning feature sometimes found in the Roman pizza, as in Merilu, is the “Al Metro” which basically means that you are purchasing it “by the meter.” So while the pizza I had delivered was some sort of regulation size, if I were in the restaurant, they would cut off a slab of pizza based on how many meters I wanted to eat. Or something like that….

Anyway, I tried the traditional “cheese” version of the Roman pizza, and Mark got a regular thin crust with jalapeños on top.

The traditional New York style pizza was 100% my preference between these two. My Roman style pizza was heavily sauced with kind of sweetish sauce for the lesser amount of cheese present. Now obviously I’m no expert on this style of pizza, so that could be totally typical and the ideal set up for this za. But it wasn’t really to my taste.

So there you have it: not for me, but doesn’t mean it’s not for someone else. And on to the next.

thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco

NYC Pizza Roll…Just In Time

Eater put out it’s third list of the City’s best pizza parlors, just in time for me to repost it!

(Side note: Eater.com was my former employer in Detroit.)

Love the description of pizza being “carpeted” with cheese. Adding it to the lexicon 🙂

Lots to try, although not a ton here listed in Manhattan so may take me a while to get around. I’ll keep you posted as I do though.

Enjoy the list in the meantime ~ how many of these have you been to?

Pies under glass at Cavallo's

NYC Pizza Review: Cavallo’s

A few Fridays ago, Mark and I went to The PIT Loft (which is the Peoples Improv Theater) to see a sketch comedy show in which our friend was performing. I got out of work, met Mark on the subway platform and we made our way to W. 29th St. with 30 minutes to spare before the 9pm performance.

So what else would we do besides grab a slice of pizza at the nearest hole in the wall pizzeria: Cavallo’s on 7th Ave.

Pies under glass at Cavallo's
Pies under glass at Cavallo’s

It looked promising enough: a narrow restaurant with pies on display, Stella on tap and just enough grime on the walls to remind you that you aren’t in some sterile suburban strip mall.

I got a thin slice of mushroom and Mark got a thick slice of cheese. The mushroom was as it should be: totally and completely covered with sliced button mushrooms. None of these frou-frou mushrooms that don’t belong on New York style pizza, and not an inch of slice to spare.

It definitely didn’t meet the “doesn’t crack when folded” test, but we saw it sitting out under heat lamps, so no surprise that it wasn’t made fresh to order. It did indeed seem like their night was winding down by the diminished number of pies under glass and the lack of sparkle on the remaining slices. But oh well.

Overall, the pizza was serviceable. Good flavor, mega toppings and satiated any growing hunger pangs.

Was it the best pizza ever? No. Would I go back? Probably not. Did it fill a need? Yes.

And on to the next.

Bella Vita cheese pizza

NYC Pizza Review: Bella Vita

In my ongoing quest to try all the pizzas, we ordered delivery from Bella Vita Pizzeria on 58th Street last week. It was recommended to me by my Aunt Laurie, who had tasted it at a recent party. It is what one might consider traditionally classic New York pizza.

And it didn’t disappoint!

We ordered a standard large cheese pizza as that really is the best way to compare apples to apples across all the pizza places.

NYC-style thin crust cheese pizza
NYC-style thin crust cheese pizza

When it came, the light color on the cheese and crust had me worried that perhaps it was slightly undercooked. But indeed it was not.

It definitely hit the spot in terms of what I look for in that comforting thin crust za of growing up: HUGE slices (I still ate 4 – oops), chewy crust that is easily foldable (and doesn’t crack per my dad’s instruction), lots of cheese and sauce, and pre-spiced with oregano – although that doesn’t preclude adding my own “toppings” of oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper.

Bella Vita cheese pizza
Bella Vita cheese pizza

Thanks for the rec A.L., and look forward to ordering from here again 🙂

thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco

NYC Pizza Review: Sacco

I’m finally reviewing a NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA!!! Yay! It’s about time, right?

A few weeks ago we ordered delivery from Sacco Pizza on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen for our (fairly regular) practice of Thursday night pizza.

Not only is the pizza a true New York thin crust, but it is seriously thin. Like almost paper-thin.

thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco
thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco

Overall, I would try this pizza again. Likely I would grab a slice on site like Brian Williams often does at lunchtime. It issssss on my way home from yoga soooooo…..

The thin crust cheese pizza we ordered had that classic NYC pizza flavor – the right ratio of sauce to mozzarella, which is to say not an overwhelming amount of either. Is there a pizza perfume? Or pizza air freshener? Because that’s what this pizza is – the quintessential pizza aroma.

Can we invent that please? Oh no, it already exists. And shockingly has 3 stars on Amazon. Or maybe not shockingly. I would probably buy it.

Back to the ‘za: the outer crust itself was like a stiff roll ~ not crusty, not really chewy. And it wasn’t greasy which was nice to not have to use a hundred napkins.

My only contention would be that it was slightly overdone and slightly cold, which made me wonder if they brought us a pie that was already made and sitting under the heat lamps for a while. Which is why I would go in next time and order counter-side.

All in all, a probable return visit is in order.

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.