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The Less Than Favorable New York Times Review of Nicoletta

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[Photograph: Adam Kuban]

With Michael White behind Nicoletta, it was one of the most anticipated openings of the year. And we may be biased here at Slice, but all the more anticipated because it was pizza! There's nothing like a scathing New York Times review, however, to extinguish the excitement surrounding a new restaurant. Times reviewer Pete Wells had a cynical view of the role celebrity played in the restaurant's equation, surmising that the pizza was really an afterthought. And the biggest complaint had to do with the crust:

The crust is as strong as epoxy, and Mr. White piles it up with an abundance of toppings that would buckle an ordinary pie. In thickness and heft, a Nicoletta pizza resembles the September issue of Vogue.

Ouch.

Slice got a preview of the pizzas to come pre-opening, at which time White was still tweaking the recipes. However, at that time, Michael told Adam that the dough was, "a low-hydration dough (57%)" and that it spends close to 10 minutes in the oven. That raised a lot of flags in the comments section of the post by Slice'rs who know their dough. And while the dough was indeed engineered to hold up for delivery (as was mentioned in the Times article), the long cook time and low-hydration almost guaranteed a dried out crust.

But White is a native of Wisconsin where the crust is secondary to the state's most prized commodity—cheese! Another point of contention for Wells:

The style of pizza Mr. White is pursuing emphasizes gut-stretching abundance over flavor. The pies are overburdened conglomerations of cheese, flour and fistfuls of other stuff; in the end, the elements cancel one another out.

There was one highlight for Wells: the gelato.

So, those that have been to Nicoletta, does Wells' account match your own experience?

About the author: Meredith Smith is the Slice editor. You can follow her on Twitter: @mertsmith.

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