Today we focus on Nicoletta, an East Village pizza joint recently opened by Michael White.
So far this summer (loosely defined) the hottest, most highly-anticipated new restaurant openings have been, in order of appearance, 1) a Thai joint over near the BQE; 2) a divey Chinese spot on Orchard, and, now, 3) a pizza place.
Yup, welcome to New York City, circa 2012, where you can get can explosively good food in fun, even raucous, settings, for prices that allow even budget-conscious NYC residents to return again and again.
Take number three on the list, Nicoletta, a spanking-new East Village pizza place from renowned chef Michael White, of high-end NYC Italian favorites Marea, Osteria Morini and Ai Fiori. What would such an acclaimed chef, a James Beard Award-winner, do with our beloved New York City staple, the pizza? Well…
I stopped in to Nicoletta Pizza during its first week, and I must say that this place more than lives up to the hype. Chef Michael White hasn’t reinvented, or even revolutionized, the pizza at Nicoletta–it’s actually based on the sort of thing they do in his native Wisconsin, with a little bit more crunch to the crust that us New Yorkers might be used to–but from the couple of varieties I tried, he certainly has an instant contender for Top 5 NYC Pies.
There are ten specialty pies on the Nicoletta menu, as well as a “create-your-own” option. Every pie here sounds appealing, including the Patatona (crushed yukon gold potatoes, nueske’s bacon, caramelized onions, rosemary-black pepper oil) and the Fior di Zucca (zucchini blossoms, bufala mozzarella, D.O.C.grated yellow squash, pomodorini, basil pes to), but in the end I couldn’t not get the Porchetta pie (because, c’mon: porchetta) which was covered with chewy slices of Osteria Morini’s house-made pig, sweet crushed tomatoes, arugula and rosemary, and, just for fun, salted pork cracklings. This was a seriously delicious pizza, and plenty big and rich enough to split.
There are also a handful of small bites, starters, and salads on the Nicoletta menu. The Peperoni Fritti, those juicy, lemony, sea-salty fried padron peppers, were an easy win, an nice little $4 snack to get things rolling. And the more standard appetizer-sized Pollo al Aceto was kind of outstanding, a confit fried chicken thigh with melted mozzarella and no-joke-spicy chili vinegar on top, over a bed of crunchy, bitter broccoli rabe. I would definitely get either or both again.
The design of Nicoletta is generic-pizza-place: brick walls, dark-wood tables, visible oven–which is fine, and the staff were all friendly and helpful. All in all, an excellent addition for residents of East Village apartments, and definitely worth a trip from points beyond the neighborhood.
Nicoletta is located on the corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street and is now open every day at 5:00 p.m., until 12:00 midnight on Sunday through Thursday, and until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Lunch, take-out, and delivery coming soon. For a look at the complete Nicoletta menu, please see the Gothamist recap on their website.
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