My search for the best pizza in New York continues….
Everybody loves pizza. So it’s in chefs’ best interests to try to make the dish accessible to everyone – especially in this day and age of allergies and dietary restrictions.
But I’ve tried raw and gluten-free pizza and they’re never quite the same as the real thing. Perhaps the easiest of those changes is to make the pizza vegan. After all, the original Italian pizza was just tomato and bread – no animal products at all. But it’s that tricky, much-loved cheese addition that throws things for a loop.
Chef Matthew Kenney thinks he can change eaters’ minds when it comes to faking the cheese. The recently opened 00 + Co. is a swanky restaurant dedicated to Italian food (most notably pizza) that’s entirely vegan.
Interestingly, the name of the restaurant is a reference to flour (and not to any sort of fake cheese). Any pizza snob can tell you that “00” flour is the best and most traditional type of flour to use in wood-oven pies.
And it’s that flour that makes these pies so incredible. I sat at the bar one night and ordered a realtively basic tomato pie with arugula and chile. The only ingredient that was altered was the ricotta cheese. Of course, it wasn’t made from cow’s milk, but rather from nuts. In this case, the ricotta was made from smoked almonds.
I have to admit, if I didn’t know the pizza was vegan, I never would have guessed that. The lightly smoked ricotta had a very nice creamy texture and even a subtle tang, but there was a restrained amount of cheese. I would have liked to get a better taste of it, especially since that’s the thing that separates this pie from other great ones in the city.
All the cheeses are made from nuts – in fact, the menu even includes a cheese plate of all their vegan cheeses.
The pizza’s other ingredients were superb. The fluffy, chewy dough would be praised at any pizzeria. There was a bracing heat from the chile peppers and I was even surprised to see a mound of extra chiles on the side for those that wanted full on fire with their pizza. The only other flaw here was that the sweet tomato confit made the pie a bit watery.
But these are truly great pies. The real challenge, of course, was making the vegan cheese taste as satisfying as the real thing. And from what I’ve tasted, it’s a success. Vegans and lactose-averse, rejoice. Now we just need to work on that gluten-free thing.
Is 00 + Co. the best pizza in NY? The dough is as good as the top-tier and the wonderful vegan cheese gives them extra points in the specialty world, so if all that is important to you, you’re going to be very happy. They get an 8 out of 10 from me since I still prefer cheese from an animal.
|00 + CO.|
|65 Second Avenue (between East 3rd and East 4th Street),