For my halfway mark, it’s fitting that I return to one of my new favorite places in New York. Somewhere that I have dined at before, reviewed favorably on the blog here, and somewhere I shot a segment of my first webisode. The list brings me back to Kesté.
I’ve established somewhat of a relationship with Roberto Caporuscio and Rosario Procino, the two Italian owners of one of the city’s recent Neapolitan pizzerias. Roberto is the pizzaiolo and has certification from Naples itself to bring authentic Napoletana pizza to the masses. It was great to see Roberto again and he even sent us a nice complimentary amuse bouche (Italian style, so it was bigger, doughier, and heartier; not really an amuse bouche at all).
The Margherita Pizza comes in at Number 6 in Time Out’s Top 10. Now this baffled me because (even though I never had their plain margherita), I don’t know why anybody would order anything less than the Regina Margherita. The Regina is the same pizza but with buffalo mozzarella instead of plain fresh mozzarella. I thought maybe it was because this pizza was slightly cheaper, but TONY is not afraid to include an $85 pad of butter on the list. I’ll get to that one another day – maybe when I get my tax return.
But so I followed the list and ordered the plain margherita. And I have to say that I was right. The regina is better. The buffalo mozzarella gives it a rich creamy buttery flavor that you don’t get from regular mozzarella. But still, this pizza shows off Kesté’s magic. The bread is fluffy and delicious, the tomato sauce has a nice acidity to it, and the basil (while a bit light this time) is fresh and adds balance to the pie.
I added to our order the Pizza del Re (with Prosciutto and Truffles) and the Pizza del Papa (with butternut squash and smoked mozzarella). So we definitely left Kesté talking about the best food we had tried in the last year. And it was a nice way to celebrate my fiftieth dish. I’m amazed I still fit into my jeans!
Would Kesté’s Margherita Pizza make my Top 100 of the year? As much as I love this place, this is not the pizza I would have picked. It’s still tasty and better than most pizza out there so that’s why it gets an 8 out of 10, but I would have rated the Pizza del Papa or the Regina Margherita much higher.