Daily Slice: Calzone at Donatella
We've been really happy with Donatella, Donatella Arpaia's relatively new Chelsea Neapolitan-pizza joint, which serves certainly the best pizza within walking distance of the Serious Eats/Slice office, and we wrote about it a few months ago. If you're into super puffy Motorino-style crusts, you might be disappointed, but the dough is really flavorful, the underbelly nicely charred, and crumb stretchy and soft. I'd argue that it's the best part of their pizza, which is probably why I enjoyed their calzone ($19) so much.
Not your typical Italian-American, stuffed-to-the-guts cheesy, meaty concoction where the bread's role is merely as a vehicle for the filling, the calzone at Donatella is more of an awesome loaf of bread with really great flavorings added to it.
It's covered both inside and out with fresh, milky ricotta and a dusting of tangy Pecorino. In place of the olive oil the pizzas get, you get a generous drizzle of rendered strutto instead. Normally that means pork fat, but at Donatella, our waiter informed us, they use duck fat instead. Not a bad switch, in my opinion.
Don't worry, you still get your filling of pork with little cubes of ciccioli—tender nuggets of crisped confit pork that crackle under your teeth, soaking the airy crumb with oozy pork fat. Yum.
Like their pizzas, the crust here is the best part. Fresh from the oven, it crackles and bursts with little jets of steam as you tear it apart, with a nice smoky char on the bottom and the top.
At $19, it may seem a little steep, but it's easily enough to feed two for lunch, and if the crust is your favorite part of the pizza (like me!), it's pretty tough to go wrong here.