From re-opened classics like Totonno's and Franny's to newbies like Brooklyn Central, we've chowed down on some top-notch pies this year. Here are the reviews we most enjoyed writing (and, um, "researching") in 2013!
'nyc' on Serious Eats
On a Monday night not long ago, I popped into Via Tribunali New York, the sole East Coast outpost of the Seattle-born pizza chain. My companion and I were taken into the dining room (about the size of a rich man's tool shed), and seated under a picture of the Bay of Naples. The vista depicted the Naples of a bygone era—a nostalgic vision of the old country.
Whenever I hear that an acclaimed pizzeria has expanded with a second (let alone third) branch, I can't help but let loose a skeptical eyebrow raise, a tilt of the head, a smirk of a shrug. If you're like me, get ready for a pleasant surprise, because Rizzo's latest outpost is turning out pies that stand up to the original storefront's (and give them a run for their money, to boot).
At Ribalta, pizzas are leavened by a natural starter that was brought back from Italy—it's somewhere between 80 and 100 years old, and over the course of a five to seven day rise it brings a noticeable lightness and cultured flavor to the dough. But unlike certain Neapolitan pizzerias that take a monastic approach to the One and Only pie, Ribalta plays around with tradition—just ask the hot dog and fries pizza or the limoncello-marinated chicken wings.
Mathieu Palombino is poised to open Motorino Williamsburg in the next week, marking a return to the borough after the building housing his original location was condemned. He's happy to be back, and his menu features a few surprises, both old and new. Check out the slideshow to take a look.
So, I've got a couple of friends staying with me for a few days in New York. One has been here before. The other is an English boy living in Los Angeles who is here for the very first time, which, to me, means one thing: we need to get this guy some pizza, stat. So much pizza, so little time. Where do I start, and where would you take them?
A Brooklynite myself, I'll admit to a tinge of favoritism when I declare that there's no better borough for pizza. Or, to be a little more diplomatic, let's say that it's home to the city's greatest concentration of top notch pies. We've got the classics, like Totonno's, Grimaldi's, and Di Fara, along with a slew of (relative) newcomers—Roberta's, Paulie Gee's, and Best Pizza, to name just a few. And, of course, there's Franny's. We finally made it over to their new-and-improved location to check in on their pies.
Three years ago, Paulie Giannone told then-music supervisor Mike Kurtz he could apprentice at his newly opened pizzeria, Paulie Gee's. Mike told Paulie, "Next week, when I come in, I'm going to bring my condiment." It wasn't long before the two pizzaioli figured out that Mike's chile and vinegar-spiked honey and Paulie's Dellboy pizza (a salty, meaty, piquant pizza made with spicy sopressata, fresh mozz, and parmigiano reggiano) were a match made in pizza heaven. And that's how the aptly named Hellboy, a must-order pie on the Paulie Gee's menu, was born.
Shock, dismay, shame...let's just say it was quite the humbling moment when I realized we had yet to review—let alone try— the pies at Emporio. Not only is the modest, inviting restaurant located mere blocks from Serious Eats HQ, but we really, really like the place. The two Roman-style pizzas I encountered on a recent visit proved revelatory—if not on a city-wide scale, certainly on a how-did-I-not-know-this-was-in-my-neighborhood one.
Welcoming, low-key, warm; it's a formula that seems to define a burgeoning class of pizzeria, of the wood-fired, Neapolitan, up-and-coming Brooklyn variety. And it looks great. But all too often, it simply doesn't add up to very good food. So, while I may have found Brooklyn Central charming, I wasn't exactly holding my breath for great pizza. Boy, was I off the mark.
Want to impress your pizza-loving lady this Valentine's Day? For this installment of Top This, Kesté pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio shows us how to make a pizza stuffed with nutella, berries, and ricotta.
Adam Kuban and I first encountered Williamsburg Pizza pizzaiolo Nino Coniglio at his first owned and occupied place, Pizzeria del Corso. Since then, he has gone from being on the cusp of great to producing some top-five-in-NYC quality pies at the new Williamsburg Pizza.
Grandaisy Bakery debuted its butternut squash pizza (or "Pizza Zucca") three years ago as a seasonal special for fall. Customer were so smitten with the thin, Roman-style square slice covered with sweet roasted butternut squash, fresh sage and nutty gruyère cheese, the bakery now sells it year-round.
Brooklyn Central, a new restaurant on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, isn't your typical Neapolitan Pizzeria. The restaurant, named after the old elevated railway that once ran through the neighborhood, is a collaboration between Hyland and Roberto Patriarca, who met working at Sottocasa. Hyland previously worked at The Spotted Pig and The Breslin, and Patriarca is an i Trulli alum.
Learn how to make Barboncino's artichoke and smoked pancetta pizza. This delicious white artichoke-crowned pie is intensely smoky, salty, cheesy and garlicky, and surprisingly simple to replicate at home!
Wheated, a new pizzeria and cocktail bar, is slated to open in early 2013 in Ditmas Park. Some of you who read Slice may be familiar with one half of the couple behind the place: David Sheridan, who's sprouting Wheated with his wife, Kim McAdam. (We interviewed Sheridan here and had a backyard pizza tasting here.)
You may have seen that Roberta's is doing a pizza pop-up at the Urbanspace Meatpacking market, but here are some more details from Roberta's mobile capo Anthony Falco.
It's been named one of New York's Top Ten Pizza Feuds of All Time and it may have finally been laid to rest. The New York Times reports that the Midtown spat that caused slice prices to drop to a new low in the spring of this year (when the dollar slice chain 2 Bros. moved into the neighborhood of Bombay/6 Ave. Pizza), may have found resolution with a price compromise.