Ribalta Pizza, just opened near Union Square (technically it’s in Greenwich Village) in the rambling space that was home to Piola for years, is serious about pizza. Or should I say: serious about bringing the “complete Italian pizza experience” to this legendarily pizza-crazy town.
To that end, the head pizzaiolo at Ribalta Pizza is also a Master Instructor at the Italy’s famed pizza school, Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli. To help spread the pizza-love, Ribalta Pizza is offering pizza-making classes at its on-site pizza school. They use only 00 Flour, specially milled in and imported from Italy.
And, most welcome, Ribalta has installed a game-changing THREE separate pizza ovens–one brick, one wood burning, one stainless-steel convection–each specifically designed for a different kind of pie.
Clearly, Ribalta’s commitment to the pizza-making process is above reproach. But all the obsessive care and attention in the world doesn’t matter if the the pizza-EATING process isn’t a pleasant one. Fortunately, Ribalta not only tries really hard to make a terrific pizza, the results are well worth all the effort.
I popped in to Ribalta Union Square early one evening during opening week and sampled two of the three kinds of Ribalta pizza: a Classica pie (“our secret recipe: crispy, light and digestible”), and a Napoletana pie (“a softer, thicker dough”). And while I admittedly couldn’t really tell the difference between the two, they were both pretty first-rate, so, in the end, who cares?
Take my Classica Diavola, for example, which is basically a Margherita–tomatoes, mozzarella fior di latte, basil–loaded up with hot and funky soppressata. The crust here is as-advertised delicious, the toppings all fresh and balanced. Well done, Ribalta master pizzaiolis.
And my Napoletana pie was just as good, a Capperi e Acciughe with anchovies, capers, black olives, “hand-crushed” San Marzano tomatoes, bufala mozzarella, and a “peperoncino oil infusion” to spice things up a bit. Again, even if I couldn’t distinguish between this and my Classica, the crust was excellent, and stood up nicely to the onslaught of flavors on top.
Left untried: the rectangular Pizza In Pala for two, for which the dough is “baked twice creating a uniquely crisp outside, soft inside”, but I’ll be back soon enough to check out that little number. Ribalta Pizza is located on 12th Street, just off Broadway, two blocks south of Union Square. For more info on their pizzas (and other offerings), check out their menu.
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