My search for the best pizza in New York continues….
Since I visited the modest, but well regarded Luzzo’s in the East Village a few years ago, they’ve been doing some serious expanding. In 2009, Little Luzzo’s opened on the Upper East Side, then Ovest followed a few years later on the far reaches of Chelsea, and most recently Da Mikele by Luzzo’s brings this Neapolitan-style pizza to Tribeca.
I’m embarrassed to say the only one of pizzaiolo Michele Iuliano’s pizza palaces I’ve been to is the original Luzzo’s. Of course, the others are all on my list, but I was in the neighborhood of Da Mikele (named for the master himself) and needed a quick, filling meal. And so it was I found myself in a comforting, exposed brick restaurant similar to, but warmer than, the original.
The menu was made up of mostly Pizza Quadrata, which are old fashioned square pies, with just one round Margherita pie and a few cone shaped pizzas on offer. They were definitely pushing their square pizza, so I figured that is what I should try.
While there were lots of tempting toppings (spicy salami, artichokes, truffles, etc.), I like to stick to the traditional for my first go-round. In this case, I chose the Bufala (which was strangely named since it didn’t have actual buffalo mozzarella cheese on it).
The small square pie was more than enough for myself and it came cut into four rather large slices. Dotted with a restrained blanket of San Marzano tomatoes and thick mounds of fior di latte mozz, this pizza looked good enough to eat.
Turns out they’re using a gas oven here, but the pizza is just as crispy as the masterful pies at Luzzo’s. I was missing that woodsy char on the bottom and the pillowy Neapolitan crust. But this was a totally different style.
The style fell somewhere between a Sicilian pie and a grandma’s style. I was impressed by the rich butteriness of the crunchy crust, which had a slight sweetness to it. My problem was really with the other ingredients. The tomato sauce might have been overdone because I found it dry and caked onto the bread. Aside from a hint of acidity, it didn’t have much brightness and got lost in the bread.
The cheese was also a bit waxy and overly greasy, leaving a big puddle of buttery foam on the table.
No doubt the crisp bread was the highlight here and perhaps I came at an off night (or too early in the evening) because I know some of the pizza experts are big fans. And based on my pizza experiences at the original Luzzo’s, I should be too.
Is Da Mikele by Luzzo’s the best pizza in NY? The square pie I had is not nearly as good as the one from Luzzo’s, but the sweet, buttery crust had a nice crust so it gets a 7 out of 10 even though the tomato and cheese had its flaws.
|275 Church Street (between Avenue of the Americas and White Street),