Author Topic: Keste in NYC  (Read 8463 times)

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Offline foodimp

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2009, 01:23:05 PM »
Guys,
I am coming late to this party.  Thanks to Scott R for inviting me in as I see in his above post.  I want to try and clear up the mozzarella debate if possible.  First, I am Fred Mortati, a food importer specializing in Italian food products for use in foodservice industry.  I only work with limited number of manufacturers all of whom are leaders in their respective industries. Excuse me for the following long story but it is important in order to understand the rational being questioned above.  About 9 months ago I imported my first ever shipment of Bufala Mozzarella from Caserta (prime producing region).  I want to qualify this to tell you that I met this producer about 4 years ago and have visited him on each of my trips to Naples because I was most impressed with his structure, facility, and family approach.  Like mine, they are a family biz and have 500 acres on which they grow corn.  They also have a ranch on this property housing 2000 bufala.  Lastly there is a caseficio where they make the bufala mozzarella.  Every kilo of corn the bufala eats it gives a liter of milk.  The bufala are milked 2x day and fresh bufala mozz is the result of the farming and ranching operation.  Very impressive.  Amazingly controlled from seed to cheese.  I saw that Mr Iemma (owner of Lupara) was freezing the bufala mozz for sale outside of southern italy (even goods going to Milano were frozen).  He explained to me that the freshness demanded could only be acheived and maintained through freezing.  THIS IS AN EXACT SCIENCE.  He studied methodology with food scientist in Rome and developed appropriate method of freezing the cheese (timing, temperature, and even size and structure of freezer) to maximize the performance of the thawed product.  From never having imported a case of bufala mozzarella, i finally decided to try this product which i liked so much, but i had to buy a full container (the goods travel in 20' sea going containers).  Roberto, as some of you know, is a great friend of mine, and his passion and dedication to quality have been helped me greatly.  For the Bufala, Roberto fell in love with the product and was soon sold on the primary added benefit of CONSISTENCY.   His reaction eliminated any doubts I might have had about nmy decision to launch this item.  Now, why is the frozen bufala better than fresh flown in, or product made in the USA.  Simple, the product made in the USA is NOT close to it's italian counterpart.  It has different flavor profile and structure.  The product flown in fresh from itlay instead fights a losing battle against the clock.  Every hour it is less fresh then an hour earlier and every day there is a discernable difference from the day before.  As a restauranteur one needs a product that consistently good.  The frozen product suffers some structural damage upon freezing, but at the microbacteriological it remains perfect.  The clock effectively stops for the product.  Fresh producut undergoes both structural and microbacteriological decay with every passing minute.  Hence the benefit.  For consistency, you know that everytime you thaw the lupara bufala it will be the same.  With product sent via air, it is ALWAYS different.  Today 1 day old, tomorrow 2, and in a week, it can be new again... I guess everything in life is a tradeoff (unless you live next to a bufala farrm) and the frozen bufala presents the best solution.  Let me be clear, however, there are those who fly product in and then freeze it when expiration date is approaching to save goods.  This is NOT GOOD.  The method of freezing and timing of same is INTEGRAL to the final outcome of the product.  And lastly, so is the dethaw process. 
Sorry for this insanely long post.  Love what you guys do here.  It makes my job fun.
F


Offline Matthew

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2009, 06:48:02 PM »
Very well put Fred, thanks very much for your insight.

Matt

Offline mmarston

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2009, 10:52:25 PM »
Fred,

Please provide some info on the proper thawing process for mozz. I now live where it's hard to get good fresh mozz so I sometimes freeze it but the results are inconsistent. Not that I would ever buy such a thing but I have seen small (expensive) unfrozen packages of imported bufala mozz, well past the expiration date in my local supermarkets.

Is your frozen bufala mozz available at any retail outlets in NYC?

Michael
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 10:54:42 PM by mmarston »
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Offline Matthew

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2009, 12:37:29 PM »
There's a nice write up on Roberto on pages 23-34 in Pizza Magazine.  Wonder how much he charges for training?

http://digital.pmq.com/pizzamagazine/200904/?pm=2&z=fw&pvieww=1504&zin=175&u1=texterity&pg=9&fm=1

Offline JConk007

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2009, 02:29:16 PM »
So with regard to freezing, is this just for the Bufalo, or does it hold true for all types of cheese I also freeze a lot because I have to by bulk to get the right cheese and the right price. So the proper freeze and thaw technique would be helpful to all. I would also like to try this product if it is available to the public
Thank you
John
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Offline David

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2009, 12:36:18 PM »
From Slice w/ some nice photos from an avid pizza  photographer:

A miracle happened last night. My son's fight got into LGA ten minutes early at 9:49PM. That gave us plenty of time to get to the Village, find a spot on the street and head over to Keste. In short, if you like a nice soft, moist Napoletana crust you will love Keste. You can check the photos at the link below to see what we ordered. In addition to some very good pies, I was impressed with the fact that Roberto was manning the oven along with another pizzaiolo the whole time we were there. And although I ached desperately for a dimmer switch, the place had a truely authentic Napoletana atmosphere the placed still packed at midnight, and half of the clientel were speaking Italian. Here's 31,000 words for you:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauliegee/sets/72157616620832116/

Ciao,

Paulie Gee
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline scott r

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2009, 01:35:50 AM »
I had a chance to try Keste, and I have to say I was blown away.   I would rank it right up there as an equal to the best Neapolitan pizza I have found anywhere: Antica Costa in Naples Italy, Il Pizzaiolo in Pittsburgh PA, and Una Pizza Napoletana in NYC.  Although the crust at UPN has the flavor advantage of using wild yeast, somehow Roberto was able to coax quite a bit of flavor out of the flour using commercial yeast, and the toppings at this pizzeria just put it totally over the top. I feel like Roberto has reached a new level in his pizza making, and those of you that had a chance to try his creations at Amano might be surprised to find that Keste is even better.  I don't want to go too far into describing his methods, but I will say that he is now doing a 100% room temp rise, and quite a long one at that.

The oven was very hot, and I didn't time them but my guess is that the pizzas were coming out in 1.5 min or less.  The charring and bake was in my opinion 100% perfect, and there was no gum layer in the pizzas I tried.  The toppings are of the absolute highest quality, and are quite creative.  This is a no holds barred pizzeria, with absolutely the best ingredients used regardless of price.  It has only been open for a very short amount of time and it was packed.  I have a feeling it is going to become the premier destination Neapolitan pizzeria for the NY area. 

As usual Roberto is making his special off the menu creations, and while I was there I watched one of his workers braid a wreath of pizza dough stuffed with cheese, mushrooms and other goodies.  The wreath was baked and served around a mountain of micro greens that were sprinkled with cheese, olive oil, salt, and topped with prosciutto.  This pizza-like creation was visually breathtaking.  I had a chance to sample a pizza made with truffle cream, and another one made with butternut squash puree.  They are both highly recommended!

The best part of the night was seeing our fellow forum member David working behind the counter preparing pizzas.  It feels good to see my friends making that plunge from hobbyist to professional.   First Jeff, Pete, now David, who's next?????  Good luck Roberto, and I have to say (no offense SC) to me this was VERY inspired pizza!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 01:38:52 AM by scott r »

Offline tdeane

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2009, 03:45:00 AM »
The best part of the night was seeing our fellow forum member David working behind the counter preparing pizzas.  It feels good to see my friends making that plunge from hobbyist to professional.   First Jeff, Pete, now David, who's next?????  Good luck Roberto, and I have to say (no offense SC) to me this was VERY inspired pizza!
I am a professional, for a while now. ?

Offline scott r

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2009, 12:04:16 PM »
sorry Terry, I didn't realize you got your start here on the forum before moving to a commercial operation.  My sincere apologies! 

Offline tdeane

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2009, 01:54:37 PM »
sorry Terry, I didn't realize you got your start here on the forum before moving to a commercial operation.  My sincere apologies! 
No need to apologize.


Offline David

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2009, 02:10:57 PM »
Here is a link to an article writen about Roberto by Charles Scicolone .It is from the great website Italian/ American Digital Project which is a goldmine of Italian cultural news and info.

http://www.i-italy.org/8777/interview-true-pizzaiolo-roberto-caporuscio

I had the opertunity last year to work as a relief pizzaiolo under an extremely gracious and passionate Sicilian Chef,Salvatore Fraterrigo. You can read about him here:

http://www.i-italy.org/4641/sicilian-food-its-best

Regards,
David
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2009, 02:30:50 PM »
Quote
I had the opertunity last year to work as a relief pizzaiolo under an extremely gracious and passionate Sicilian Chef,Salvatore Fraterrigo. You can read about him here:

http://www.i-italy.org/4641/sicilian-food-its-best


David
Great read and your experiences with this chef and in general seem quite exciting, as does Keste. 
As I read I ended up on Chef Fraterrigo's website and found this recipe which sounds fantastic.  http://www.salvatorefraterrigo.com/trapani_pesto.php
I note it calls for an ingredient just described as "TT".  Might you know what this is?
Thanks
Hog

Offline tdeane

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2009, 02:31:40 PM »
sorry Terry, I didn't realize you got your start here on the forum before moving to a commercial operation.  My sincere apologies! 
Actually, I guess I didn't get my start here so you didn't actually forget me.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2009, 05:01:05 PM »
Here is a link to an article writen about Roberto by Charles Scicolone .It is from the great website Italian/ American Digital Project which is a goldmine of Italian cultural news and info.

http://www.i-italy.org/8777/interview-true-pizzaiolo-roberto-caporuscio

I had the opertunity last year to work as a relief pizzaiolo under an extremely gracious and passionate Sicilian Chef,Salvatore Fraterrigo. You can read about him here:

http://www.i-italy.org/4641/sicilian-food-its-best

Regards,
David


David,
Great articles; Are you working at Keste full time?

Matt
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 06:17:03 AM by Matthew »

Offline Pizza Rustica

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2009, 08:51:52 PM »
PizzaHog,
 
It appears from the context that TT means "to taste"?
Russ

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2009, 02:51:59 PM »
Quote
It appears from the context that TT means "to taste"?
Doh   ::) !  Thanks Pizza Rustica. 

Offline jimd

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2009, 02:12:41 PM »
Hi:

I wanted to add my two cents on Keste in Manhattan.

My wife and I were driving to Long Island on Saturday, and swung into the City to try Keste and to meet owner Roberto.

Keste's space is small, but brightly lit and European feeling, with the massive, hand-built oven visible in the back and the pizza making station open for all to observe.

I have had limited exposure to what must be truly authentic Neapolitan pizza --closest I have come is 2Amys in DC (which is very very good and was once run by member Shango, a dedicated professional).

The pizza at Keste was simply fantastic. The crust had great depth of flavor---complex and interesting. Texture was soft, but evenly charred/with leoparding all around. Bright, simple tomato sauce and buffalo mozz. We both had the Margherita in order to make sure we could best taste the pizza. My younger nephews joined us, who were accustomed to commercial pizza, but they also loved it and were able to appreciate that this type of pizza is simply a different animal than what most of us grew up eating. To their taste, they would have preferred just a bit of crisp to the dough, but overall really enjoyed this as a new experience.

We had a chance to introduce ourselves to owner Roberto, who is a warm and gracious host. It is my hope that my wife will see the light and send me to pizza school with Roberto later this year as a birthday present. (She was sufficiently impressed to green light me for October.)

All in all, a great place, and highly recommended. It would be hard to imagine a better afternoon than stopping in Keste for a great lunch and then continuing to stroll around the Village on a beautiful New York Afternoon.

OH, and if you go, please have the Nutella pizza for dessert---heaven on a plate.

jim

Offline Matthew

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #37 on: August 18, 2010, 05:11:04 PM »
I had all but given up on Italian Buffalo Mozzarella & started buying locally produced Ontario buffalo mozzarella until today.  I went to pick some up & due to a shortage of buffalo milk the price shot up through the roof to the tune of $6.99 for 120g ball.  I picked up some freshly made fior di latte which he just made this morning for $3.49/ 250g a steal at that price.  I then headed to the restaurant supply to pick up some tomatoes.  I went to the freezer & picked up a few cups of the frozen Lupara brand Buffalo Mozzarella described above in detail by Fred.  I have been eying it for a while & decided to purchase a few cups today to use this weekend.  It was extremely reasonably priced at $4.99 for 200g's.  If Roberto is using it, it must be good.  We'll find out this weekend!  If anybody besides Roberto has used it before I would be interested in your feedback.

Matt

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #38 on: August 18, 2010, 08:30:30 PM »
The mozz doesn't get ruined from being frozen? The place that I buy my flour and tomatoes from sells the Lupara brand frozen Bufala, I didn't want to try it because I thought that it being frozen would mess up the cheese. I'm going tomorrow to pick up some more mozz, maybe I should give it a try if its not to expensive.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Keste in NYC
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2010, 08:38:07 PM »
The mozz doesn't get ruined from being frozen? The place that I buy my flour and tomatoes from sells the Lupara brand frozen Bufala, I didn't want to try it because I thought that it being frozen would mess up the cheese. I'm going tomorrow to pick up some more mozz, maybe I should give it a try if its not to expensive.

David,
Read reply 20, it should answer your question.

Matt