Posts Tagged ‘Neopolitan Pizza’

John and I have decided to just forget about “Pizza Month” which we began way back in October. The idea that we could limit our intake and subsequent discussion of pizza – a food that we are both clearly obsessed with – to just one month was downright silly and bad judgment on our parts. Our apologies. Going forward, we are going to frequently feature pizza – both the making of it and our maniacal running-around-various-cities to taste it. You can count on us.

Next up on the tasting end of things is Dozzino, a brand-spanking new (as of November 2010) artisanal pizza joint in the ‘Boken. To use some lingo I picked up in California, we were pretty stoked about the arrival of this place in Hoboken. Before, the only solid (in our humble opinions) pizza to be had in Hoboken was Grimaldi’s, of Brooklyn fame. Now we have our very own. We were all a-tingle.

“Dozzino” in Italian means “dozen.” The dozen refers to the amount of ingredients that goes into their pizzas: flour, water, salt, yeast, air, sea salt, tomatoes, fior di latte, extra virgin olive oil, basil, fire, love.

Dozzino is not your typical slice shop, nor does it purport to be. The pizzas can best be described as a combination of Neopolitan and Roman. They are personal in size with that doughy, charred crust characteristic of Neopolitan pies, but much less floppy and soupy in the center of the pie, which gives it a Roman flair. Typical of both areas, the ingredients (and this applies to the toppings as well) are fresh and simple. Pizza is not a complicated food, nor should it be. Keep it simple, stupid.

John and I strolled over to its 6th and Adams location one Saturday night to sample the fare. Upon entering, we were greeted with a well-designed and thoughtful atmosphere. The bar at the back of the front room has a chalkboard wall listing the daily specials in colored chalk. The shiny, chrome espresso maker hangs out back there as well, with a Santa Clause (it was the holidays) Mr. Potato Head keeping close watch over the espresso beans.

The natural wood, farmhouse-style tables have ample room for spreading out your various pizzas, crostini and salads, and the white-washed chairs and walls offer a nice contrast to the wood and chalkboard wall. They have a larger, back room and even a patio with a bocce court.

Since Dozzino is BYO, John skips on over to a local liquor store for a bottle of the Beringer Chenin Blanc shown in the first photo. John insists that I used to make The Box buy this for me with some frequency. I honestly don’t recall this at all (maybe because I’ve drunk too much of it?), but at $8.99, you can’t afford not to. We settle in with our sweet, grape-juice wine and order SPESTO!

“Spesto” is a Dozzino speciaty: a pesto made with spinach and walnuts, instead of the usual basil and pine nuts, and served on crostini of housemade bread. The housemade bread is excellent, and perfectly toasted. It is generously loaded with spesto, which is lucky because we really approve of this pesto modification. Chunky walnuts and mild spinach get a boost from an infusion of chopped garlic and drizzle of olive oil. We cleaned our plate.

After John sends me to the restroom (pics later!) to remove the spinach from my teeth, we receive our two ordered pies: the “La Pizza” and the “Diavola”. The La Pizza is topped with fior di latte, tomato and basil – the traditional pie and one which John and I feel obligated to sample every time we try out a new pizza place. For consistency! And science!

The La Pizza is delicately accented by little semi-molten blobs of creamy fior di latte (a mozzarella made from cow’s milk),  a fine layer of tomato as to appear almost pink, and sprigs of fresh basil. The crust has a bit of a char to it around the edges and is nicely chewy on the inside, although a bit dry. The toppings and crust work well together, making the La Pizza very easy to eat.

The Diavola is next up – a spicy combination of fior di latte, tomato, red pepper and calabrese salami. Sliced ultra-thin, the salami is like a tissue-thin blanket of fiery cured meat tucking in the other toppings on a mattress of pillowy dough. Wow, I just wandered off into a pizza-induced descriptive simile. Apologies. Clearly, this pie was my favorite of the two.

John and I decided to finish things off with two cups of Dozzino’s espresso, which is advertised (on their menu) to be the best in Hoboken and quite possibly in the USA. I do know a good cup of espresso when I have one, and this was definitely a good one. Their ultra-fancy espresso machine churned out two dark, rich cups for us that we threw back like frat boys doing shots at a bar. Minus the fist pumping and hooting.

Let’s not forget the bathrooms! While I was performing some dental-spesto removal, I snapped the following photos:

In addition to being clean and uncluttered, the Dozzino bathroom is well-lit with an ample-sized mirror. White subway tiles, accented by a stripe of red and gold (Roma’s colors) carry the modern and thoughtful interior design of the restaurant right into the bathroom. I would have appreciated some spesto-removing toothpicks, though.

We will definitely be back to Dozzino (John has already returned on his own). The well designed and spacious atmosphere and fresh ingredient pizzas combine to create a unique neighborhood restaurant that is a welcome addition to Hoboken.

Overall Experience: Napolean Dynamite – The Offbeat Success

* Note: The Specials chalk board photo and photo of the oven with espresso cup, courtesy of Dozzino.

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Just when you thought you were done with Pizza month, we pull you back in.  Due to the plethora of Pizza joints within the area,  Elana and I have agreed to stop this soon and continue at a later date… but there is still work to be done.  This week’s review is of Luzzo’s, on 211 First Avenue in the East Village.   Since it was Elana’s birthday, we invited a whole crew of pizza enthusiasts and made a reservation way in advance.  Our crew had grown to 15 people, and I was skeptical of how they would handle our posse.

Accommodations turned out to be no problemo.  One of the waiters took our crew down a flight of stairs to their basement.  If anyone is thinking about booking a large group for some delicious pizza, ask to be downstairs in the basement.  We basically had the place to ourselves.  It even comes equipped with a stereo system in which the staff at Luzzo’s actually encourages you to supply your own music.  Unfortunately, none of us were aware of this ahead of time, so Elana’s whack-ass mix of early 90’s techno supplied the musical backdrop.  Also in the basement is a bar, stocked with wine and ice cold Peroni, the latter of which was ordered by all the male participants in half hour increments; like clockwork, one of us would twirl our index finger in the air, while our waiter would rifle off bottle caps and dispense the brewskis.  Did I mention how awesome the basement is?

After ordering a few snacks, the pizzas arrive.  Like Keste, Luzzo’s is very much a Naples pie; the mozzarella is barely melted, the crust is charred, yet chewy.  It is extremely simple in its look, yet sophisticated in its creation.  Luzzo’s gives the option of ordering either 12 inch or 16 inch pies.

For the group, we get a bunch of 16 inch pies; 4 of which are Bufala Mozzarella pies.  This pizza is definitely some of the best we have had.  It is a little thinner than that of other Neapolitan pies,  which isn’t good or bad – just figured i’d say so.  Its bufala mozzarella is great; despite its spotty application, it is huge on taste:  milky, salty, and a touch sour.  Perfect.  The tomatoes are of equal quality, extremely fresh with perfect compliments of oil.  Take a look at the oil which swims on top of the slice.  It’s there, but not overwhelmingly so.  And the crust is of fine craftmanship – the blackened portions of the crust are contrasted with its doughy, pillowy insides.  Rugged exterior, tender underneath it all.  Alot like myself.

(This picture is from the bar afterwards.  As you can tell, it was fun)

We ordered a few more pies.  One was a white pizza with truffle patte (pictured above). Another was a magherita pizza with prosciutto and arugula.   A third one was a white pie with prosciutto and mushrooms seen below.  All were very good; building on Luzzo’s wonderful pizza making philosophy with wonderful pizza making accompaniments/ingredients.

Those looking for a high end Neapolitan pizza will not be disappointed by stopping into Luzzo’s.  In comparison with Keste, our other reviewed Neapolitan pie, it is slightly thinner and tad more simple and bare.  Yet in taste, they’re in dead heat.  Stay tuned for our pizza rankings in the coming weeks.

Overall Movie ExperienceShawshank Redemption

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