Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.

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The Margherita at San Matteo. [Photographs: Christopher Stephens]

The first time I stopped by San Matteo on the Upper East Side, I ordered a Margherita, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed. The moisture from the mozzarella made the crust go limp, and the cheese had not melted fully. Was there something wrong with the huge wood-fired oven?

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I returned a few weeks later and ordered the Diavola, a spicy pie topped with tomato, basil, homemade mozzarella, spicy sopressata, Parmigiano Reggiano, and olive oil. While I waited, the owner offered me a sample of some of the ham he had just sliced: "Aged two years," he told me. This time, the pizza was far better. It was everything you want (but never get) from a pepperoni slice. The sopressata was hot and flavorful but not greasy, the creamy cheese stretched without being stringy, the crust (though not supremely puffy) had a pleasant give to it, and a slight char.

As I ate, I watched the pizzaiolo make another pie. I kept track of the time the pizza was in the oven: less than three minutes. The owner claims that the oven runs at about 1,000 degrees, which would seem to do the trick.

San Matteo

1739 Second Avenue, New York NY 10128 (89th/90th; map)
212-426-6943; sanmatteopanuozzo.com

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