A short nine months ago, Adam introduced us to the montanara pizza at Williamsburg's Forcella. Since then, New York has been on something of a fried-pizza thrill ride. The montanara has become Forcella's single most popular item; Midtown's bangin' Don Antonio offers a montanara (and plenty of other fried dough bites) that's plenty worth your attention.
And now there's La Montanara, the all-fried pizzeria from Forcella's Giulio Adriani, with five variations on the montanara, Neapolitan snacks, and even some fried desserts. This isn't your grandfather's county-fair fried dough.
What accounts for the montanara's sudden rise to fame? "It's the only new thing in pizza in the last several years," Adriani says. It's not even especially common in his native Napoli: pizzas there are either baked solely in the oven or fried and topped with raw ingredients. Only a few pizzerias follow the fry-then-bake recipe, which adds charred, smoky flavors and lightens the oily taste of fried dough.
La Montanara is situated in the heart of the Lower East Side and is bound to become both a lunchtime destination and the last stop on a barhopper's drunken wanderlust. The 8-inch pies are "perfect drunk food," Adriani says, hefty enough to soak up a stomach of booze but not so greasy that you can't sleep afterward. The slender restaurant is set up for quick, casual eating with small tables. Prices are similarly casual: the priciest pizza tops the menu at $12; the rest are $6 to $8.
We took a look at nearly the entire menu on opening day. Take a look at the slideshow above and get ready for some oily fingers.