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“Una Pizza Napoletana”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Italian East Village Cheap Eats Off the Charts

I discovered it last week. It was a warm night (read: above 15 degrees) and my friend Court and I were heading home from a benefit for Save the Children. After drinking way too much red wine and not getting our hands on any hors d’oeurves, we were hungry for something good, but quick. Court said he had the perfect place. And yes, he did. It was Una Pizza Napoletana. But, he said the hours were odd, and he hoped they were open. (Indeed, they are only open Thursday –Saturday from 5pm until they run out of fresh dough, and on Sundays from noon until they are sold out.)

I had heard about this place. It was already becoming legendary after just a few months of being open. This legend is justified—the pizza, made by chef/owner Anthony Mangieri— is spectacular.

You’ll find Anthony—cute, lean, well-tattooed, and wearing a baseball cap—at the rear of the restaurant taming the fire-breathing oven, filling its mouth with wooden planks topped with glorious pies in the making. For Anthony, the dough is key. It is never refrigerated or frozen and it takes 2 days to make it by hand. His pizza is made the old fashioned Naples way, from organic, unbleached, whole grain flour mixed with Sicilian sea salt. The dough is left to rise for 24 hours. It is then mixed again and set to rise again for another 12 hours. This dough becomes the magnificent base for a menu of four pizzas (11-inches in diameter, $16.95 each), and nothing else. The Marinara is topped San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh basil, and sea salt, the Margherita adds a layer of melting fresh buffalo mozzarella to the marinara equation, the Bianca leaves out the San Marzano tomatoes, and the Filetti forgoes the San Marzano tomatoes in favor of sliced fresh cherry tomatoes that grow sweeter from the intense heat of the wood-fired oven. You are served the pies whole—fresh, hot and steamy from the oven—and are presented with a knife and fork to make your own slices. (I was ready to pick up the whole pie with my hands and just dig in, but I was wearing a dress, so I thought better of it. In jeans, I would do it.)

We had the Filetti and the Margherita, left not a crumb behind, and could have eaten another pie or two without question. The texture of the crust is beyond belief. It is moderately thin, but dense and chewy, with an ample puffy border. Unlike some crusts that can lack seasoning and taste like card ... [more, click below]

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