This place is special. I don't say that about many pizzarias.
I bought Ed Levin's book (Slice of Heavan) last week, and he raved about this place, so I had to try it while in NY. I called to find out when they were open and the message said they were "open at 5 until the fresh dough runs out" They are only open Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun. No reservations taken.
This place has just relocated from New Jersy to the lower east side of Manhattan. It is small with about 8 tables in the front with a wood burning oven in the rear. The oven was visible from the dining area.
Ony two people work there, the pizza maker(the owner) and the waiter. There is a sign on the wall that says "Great pizza is our specialty, not great service" The menu is minimal. Four pizzas offered, two wines, two italian beers. Thats it. No toppings, no salads, nothing else but four pizzas. One pizza with just sauce, one with sauce and motz, one with Buffalo motz and cherry tomatotes and one with just motz. Thats it. No choice between big and small, one size fits all. They are about 12 inches. Each pizza cost $16.50
I watched him make several of the pizzas. He doesn't pick up the dough to stretch it, rather he pats it on the table until it becomes round, flips it over and pats it some more. He then put some what appeared to be garlic and salt on the crust, and then a litte sauce, that looked uncooked. He then put loose chunks of motz on the sauce and then several whole basil leaves. The last thing he did was add a generous amount of olive oil and into the oven it went.
My wife, who loves food, but didn't want to go for pizza was raving about it. It is the most unusual pizza i have ever had. It was light, subtle, delicate. This is the first time that I had buffalo motz, and it was incredible.
The crust had a wonderful smoky taste. It was thin, but not crisp. I ususally prefer crispy crusts. The crust was soft and kind of light. It sort of melts in your mouth. It was nicely cooked with a few burned places, but not as burned as I usually like it. My wife doesn't like burned crust so it was a good compromise
We both were delighted at how good this pizza was. We had ordered two different pizzas and finished them off. We decided to order the third pizza on the menu. It took a while because there is only one pizza maker. the owner.
I talked to the owner for a bit. He is young, maybe 30, maybe. I asked him the temp of his oven, and he said he thought it was about 900 degrees. He told me that he and his father built a brick oven when he was a kid.
I asked him how many pizzas he makes a night and he said he wasn't sure, but at least 100. I asked him how he learned to make pizzas and he replied that his whole family is Italian. He said things were going well in the new location but it was a lot of work.
This pizza has me rethinking how pizza should taste. It is so diferent than any pizza than I have ever had. Light, delicious, subtle, flavorful. It would take more of a writer to descripe it. If you love pizza, you need to get there and try it. It might change your life.