Let's hope this becomes a seasonal thing. Mad. Sq. Eats, the little pop-up food court in Worth Square (the otherwise overlooked median just west of Madison Square Park) is back. It first appeared as Mad. Sq. Mark't in October 2010, when I reported on the pies from Roberta's mobile pizza oven that had set up shop. This spring, Roberta's is back, this time with a new cart-mounted oven that's a little more solid than the previous homemade jobba (but more on that later).
When I visited for lunch Tuesday, the cart was selling three different pies: a Margherita ($8), the SpeckenWolf ($9), and the Bee Sting ($9). I love spicy soppressata and honey as a combo so I couldn't resist the latter of this trio. It didn't disappoint. The sweetness of the honey cuts both the saltiness and spice of the oven-crisped soppressata, all with a fresh-tasting sauce of minimally messed-with crushed tomatoes. The cheese is creamy, and there's just enough of it to satisfy folks who look for a balance of elements on their pies. The crisp and chewy crust is spotted with little charred bubbles here and there (YMMV; some pies I saw had more than others, some none at all).
It's a small, personal-size pizza, more diminutive than even a regular Neapolitan pie, but what more do you want at lunch? Good luck finding a table in the square, but why would you want to?* Find an empty bench in the park across the street; it's much more pleasant and shaded there.
The Mad. Sq. Eats market is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day through June 3, 2011.
Update: About the Pizza Oven
Last year, Roberta's had a sort of makeshift trailer-mounted oven. This year, Anthony Falco traveled to Austin, Texas, where he worked with Joseph Pergolizzi of The Fire Within to build the trailer oven to his specs. I expect it will be making appearances at other pizza events after this gig with Mad. Sq. Eats is up. We'll keep in touch with Falco for its schedule.
* The only reason to remain in the square itself is that you can't take alcohol outside it.
Roberta's at Mad. Sq. Eats (though 6/3)
B/n 24th/25th streets and Broadway/Fifth, just west of Madison Square Park
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily