Amazing Pizzas

The food: Artisanal pizza

The Stracciatella Pizza at Company in New York

The Stracciatella Pizza at Company in New York

The story:

There was an interesting story in the New York Times Dining section this week by Frank Bruni about the artisanal pizza trend in New York city.

Bruni was not too enthusiastic about the pizza at Co.,

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the newish Chelsea restaurant opened by Sullivan Street Bakery proprietor Jim Lahey, a baker well-known for devising the revolutionary no-knead bread recipe which caused a huge stir (but no knead, heh) in North American foodie circles when food columnist Mark Bittman published it in the NYT in 2006.

Forget Bruni. I LOVED Company’s stracciatella pizza, and not just because I’m a sucker for any thin crust pizza that features melted fresh mozzarella topped with fresh arugula.

Santo Stefano pizza at Terroni in Toronto

Santo Stefano pizza at Terroni in Toronto

I’ve eaten a variation on that theme at Terroni in Toronto, the Santo Stefano (tomato, mozzarella di bufala, fresh arugula, proscuitto di Parma $16.95) but I found it bland and boring.

C't Mang Pizza at Terroni

C't Mang Pizza at Terroni

I much prefer Terroni’s C’’t Mang White Pizza with Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Fresh Pears, Walnuts, Speck (Smoked Prosciutto), and Honey ($15.95), even though it’s arugula free.

Getting back to Co. though, and here’s an interior shot –

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what makes the Stracciatella pizza ($17) so amazing

Looks good, tastes amazing

Looks good, tastes amazing

is the cheese – a shredded texture type of fresh mozzarella that is tangy, creamy, and absolutely delicious when melted over the Co. crust, drizzled with a fruity olive oil, spiced up with some ground black pepper, and yes, topped with fresh arugula.

The Stracciatella pizza was so good it reminded me of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten, the Biancoverde (Fresh Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, Ricotta, Arugula, $14.00) from the legendary Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve only been there once, on a weeknight in November, 2008, when E and I figured there wouldn’t be much of a lineup for the restaurant’s 5 p.m. dinner opening time. We were wrong, arrived at 4:40 p.m. and waited 2 hours for a table. The reward: fabulous pizza, and Marisa Tomei at the next table (she was in town promoting the movie The Wrestler.)

Could the pizza at Company be as good as the pizza at Pizzeria Bianco? I’ll have to go back to both restaurants to find out.

In the meantime, I tried making my own artisanal pizza, using a Manoucher focaccia loaf for the crust, some fiore di latte cheese, sweet cherry tomatoes and arugula.

Homemade pizza with arugula - next time I'll have to source out some stracciatella cheese.

Homemade pizza with arugula - next time I'll have to source out some stracciatella cheese.

It looked and tasted okay, but it was nowhere near as dreamy and creamy as the pizza at Company or Pizzeria Bianco.

Update: I just tried out the newish and much-vaunted Toronto pizza place Pizzeria Libretto, on Ossington. I ordered the Margherita D.O.P. pizza ($13) with arugula added.

Margherita D.O.P. pizza at Pizzeria Libretto

Margherita D.O.P. pizza at Pizzeria Libretto: where's the cheese?

And my sister had the duck confit pizza with pear ($16).

Duck confit pizza at Pizza Libretto

Duck confit pizza at Pizza Libretto

Both pizzas were billed on the menu as featuring Ontario Fiore di Latte mozzarella but there wasn’t enough of it on either pizza, and not enough pear or duck confit, either. The crust had a satisfying, slightly chewy texture, which makes it a bit better than Terroni’s crust, which I have occasionally found to be too crisp, dry and cracker-like in spots.

Final rankings: Co. and Pizzeria Bianco dwell in the food heavens, Pizzeria Libretto and Terroni hang out somewhere near ground level.

Terroni (Midtown) on Urbanspoon

Co. Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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11 thoughts on “Amazing Pizzas

    • hungrynovelist says:

      Thanks for commenting, Ashleigh – I tried Pizzeria Libretto just this past weekend! And found it to be … okay. I updated the blog post accordingly, and inserted some pics from it, too. Happy eating.

  1. Ashleigh says:

    Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it! My partner is obsessed with napoletana pizza and we usually have to seek out the best place in every city we go to.

    We’ll be sure to check out Company when we do our New York pizza tour.

  2. Erika says:

    Going to Co. tonight, so excited! And your version looks pretty gorgeous, very nice photo. I too need a solid amount of cheese on my pizza to really fall in love.

  3. Monte Mathews says:

    Thanks so much for sticking up for Co.’s pizza. I am in total agreement that the stracciatella pizza is one of the best I’ve had. And I, like you, am a connoisseur of pizza going back to my student days in Italy. Tonight I am going to attempt to make one myself, having gone to DiPalo Diary store in Little Italy yesterday for the stracciatella and the pizza dough itself. If you go to my blog — http://www.chewingthefat.us.com I will post the results this week.

    • hungrynovelist says:

      I’ll check out your blog for sure and see how it goes. And I went back to Co. today! The stracciatella pizza was still amazing and a special pizza with brussel sprouts, lardons and chestnuts was very good too.

      • Monte Mathews says:

        Thanks for the message. I made pizza at home this past weekend. It was the best pizza I have ever made and came so close to our favorite Co. pie. I am posting the recipes this week on my website. So please take a look. I think you’ll want to do this yourself. Monte

  4. poethead says:

    Terroni’s crust is the absolute best, hands down. I guess it all comes down to taste, but I think you’re crazy.

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