East Village Pizza: First Taste of Michael White’s new “Wisconsin Style” Pizza at Nicoletta

Date July 23, 2012

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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.

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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

11 Responses to “East Village Pizza: First Taste of Michael White’s new “Wisconsin Style” Pizza at Nicoletta”

  1. TheStinkus said:

    I wanted to swim in those Pepperoni pools of oil.

    I agree, it didn’t blow my mind (or my taste buds) but it was rather tasty and definitely worth checking out.

  2. Diana said:

    what pizza has blown your mind or been a game changer? i would love to know. so far, di fara is tops in my book. love it!

  3. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Diana,

    Great pizza I’ve had lately are Sottocasa in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Prince Street Pizza in SoHo and Speedy Romeo in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

    They’re all reinventions of the classics we know, from Neapolitan to Sicilian and Grandma, and they’re all delicious. If you come to NYC those are four must eats.

    DiFara is great, I haven’t been for a long time, however, just because I know what the scene (read: line) will be when I get there.

    Lawrence

  4. Rich said:

    Just wondered how large (diam.) these $19-$21 pizzas are? From the pix I estimate larger than individual portion yet smaller than a classic ‘large’ pizza. If this is the case, with the widespread pizza discounting going on in NYC it may be a tad pricey.

  5. The NYC Food Guy said:

    @Rich,
    On second glance, the pies are definitely bigger than dinner plate size. Probably the size of a large pie at Pizza Hut or Dominos if that gives you a frame of reference? You’re mainly paying for ingredients though because every pie is loaded with serious toppings, a lot of thought goes into their pizzas, more than I realized at first. Check this out to see what I mean: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/07/top-this-fior-di-zucca-a-la-nicoletta.html

  6. Joe said:

    I disagree I think it is a game changer. I am a native ny’re been at the pizza game for 40 years. With the death of fresh made pizza like we used to get in Flushing at Glorias, you see I never really heard of a reheated slice till I got to college, finding a great pizza that’s not fresh mozzeralla is hard in NY.

    This place serves a classic, thick but not too, with a crunchy crust that you want to finish off, maybe even your kids you may go for. The sauce was very nice and lots of it and the cheese pulled from platter to plate until you broke the strings. The meatballs come like little mounds, half meatballs, excellent Italian style balls.

    This is a sloppy pizza, the way pizza should be. And the extra thickness only seen on Sicilian in NY is amazing and I love think crust pizza, I mean like A layer of crunch.

    Desert is soft serve Gelato with 2 toppings. I had the salted caramel and the pistachio brittle. Amazing. Great place, great addition to the neighborhood, I’ve been looking for a killer pizza that’s not Patzy’s ( love them need variety) now we have one.

  7. The NYC Food Guy said:

    @Joe,

    No offense, but if you love Patsy’s then it makes sense that you consider Nicoletta a game-changer. Depending on the day, Patsy’s is mediocre to good brick oven pizza. Nothing more. I’m speaking about the green awning chain, not the original in East Harlem. There are a wealth of pizza restaurants I’d go to in every neighborhood of Manhattan before Patsy’s. That being said, you’re right about the sloppiness and the puffy crust. Those two things are not easy to find in Manhattan, especially done this well. I didn’t have dessert so I can’t comment on that but it sounds like you made some great choices. Happy to hear you had a great meal at Nicoletta, I will definitely be back at some point and update my review.

    Now, to Gloria’s, have you been to the new Gloria’s in Forest Hills next to Midway theater? If so, is it as good as the old one? I’ve never been.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Lawrence

  8. Aaron said:

    Anyone know if that’s Ezzo pepperoni? Very curious to see how new yorkers like it. The sausage cups like that because the casing shrinks at a faster rate than the meat.

  9. Sweet pizza dreams « Fat In Manhattan said:

    [...] Apparently, it’s Wisconsin-style pizza served at a place in the East Village called Nicoletta. I read about it while scouring other NYC food blogs, simultaneously making myself feel inadequate and hungry. Anyway, I have never heard of “Wisconsin pizza,” but it looks amazing. As Jessica Simpson once famously said, “I totally don’t know what that means, but I want it!”* [...]

  10. Paul said:

    I for one welcome any one brining their take on pizza to the city, as long as it’s good I’m not a stickler for rigidity. Having said that though, the best pizza I’ve ever had in NYC was from Keste on Bleeker, and that’s about as authenic Neapolitan as you can get.

  11. Connie said:

    That pepperoni pizza looks amazing. I’d prefer that to the carbonara one any day ;-)

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