July 23, 2012
Michael White is a seriously high class Italian chef. But now he is diverting his attention from octopus and bone marrow fusili to “Wisconsin style” pizza. And he’s doing it in my neighborhood, the East Village, which means it’s my obligation as a borderline pizza addict to sample some. The best barometer for a new pizza place is the symbol of pizza porn: classic pepperoni pizza. Now I’m not sure what “Wisconsin style” actually dictates, but at Nicoletta, I found an airy, dinner plate sized pizza with slightly crisp and buttery end crust, a thin layer of smooth tomato sauce, a thick layer of mozzarella, a lot of dried oregano, and tasty pepperoni, small, burnt around the edges and cradling their own little pools of oil. Just how I like it.
My pizza was tasty – not a game-changer – but good enough to put Nicoletta on the consideration list when someone asks “Where should I eat pizza in the East Village?” My first and only visit came late on a Sunday night after beers, Jameson shots and fried pickles at open-air haunt Bua on St. Mark’s Place. Not the steady base you would want to approach the menu of rich pizzas, topped with everything from porchetta and pork cracklings (Porchetta, $21) to Wisconsin bacon and potatoes (Patatona, $19). But steady base or not, the question in my mind as I departed was whether or not I’d want to come back at all for one of those gut-busting pizzas. Not a good sign in a neighborhood overrun with quality pizza options. Motorino, Artichoke, South Brooklyn Pizza, and even Vinny Vincenz (for Sicilian slices only) offer pizza heads more alluring options. Then again, Nicoletta is open until 3am and crazier decisions than indulging in Carbonara pizza (cream, pancetta, pecorino romano, egg, black pepper, and scallion, $19) have been made after twilight.Nicoletta 160 Second Ave at 10th Street, New York, NY 10003 212.432.1600 Mon-Fri, 5pm-3am Sat & Sun,1pm-3am