Restaurant Reviews --> Pizza at Napolese
Pizza at Napolese
We're guilty sometimes of just not straying off our usual path...and and you've probably figured out from our local restaurant reviews, we're more of "lunch out" diners over dinner out because of work schedules. So with those factors combined, we had never made it to Martha Hoover's latest eclectic Italian venture, Napolese and Napolese Wine Bar, located at the corner of 49th and Pennsylvania. Opened last year, we had read great reviews and heard rave comments, so when we attended a 5:30 reception at Clowes Hall last Friday night, it was the perfect opportunity to stop by and eat dinner on the way home.
We arrived at about 6:15, and not a minute too soon, since we got the next to the last table inside. The few outside tables were appealing to us, but the temperature and bright sun (and no umbrellas) made us want air conditioning. Seating is also available in the adults only wine bar that serves the same menu. Hard surfaces on both the top and bottom of the restaurant make it a little noisy, but overall, the dining room has a great happening vibe with an open kitchen, full of very busy chefs and bustling servers. The menu says "artisanal pizza," and that is exactly what it is, with only 2 sandwich offerings. An extensive selection of starters and salads, all of which are plenty for sharing, fill out the menu. The wine list is limited, almost completely Italian, but well chosen and very fairly priced. We chose a bottle of the Renato Ratti Barbera d'Asti. Priced at $36, it is a wonderful bottle that we sell for $16.99 (of course, we buy it 10 cases at a time - it's $20 in most stores).
We had to start with the cured local meat plate,(charcuterie, French for "lunch meat") that featured thinly sliced Smoking Goose mortedella and salami, along with shaved parmasean, spicy pickled radishes, and a basket of warm, fresh baked focaccia bread. What a wonderful way to start dinner, and at $8, a serious bargain for two. They also offer 6 other starters, all at $7 to $8, all appealing by description, along with 9 salad offerings at $9 to $12. And from what we saw, all were easily enough for two, if not three people.
It is really all about the brick oven pizzas. Generous, plate sized, each is more than enough for two, and with the appetizer, we still had 2 pieces left for lunch the next day. There are 16 combinations offered, along with "free style" if you wish to create your own. We chose the Hamaker's Corner, named in homage to the drugstore that occupied their space for more years than I care to remember. Topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, aged provolone, and tiny, whole mushrooms, it was baked to perfection. With crisp, puffy edges, and a thin crust, this may be the best pizza in the City... at least it is our new favorite.
Like everything Martha Hoover does, it is done "right." And remarkably affordable. Since our ample pizza and starter clocked in at only $22, which would barely buy a meal for two at Applebee's, it makes you want to support local eateries...because our local eateries support local farms and food purveyors. Be sure and glance at the lower right hand corner of the menu where the local vendors like Trader's Point Creamery, Smoking Goose, Fischer Farms and others are acknowledged.
This is ultimately a Meridan Kessler local's secret, but it is worth venturing off your path to eat there.
114 East 49th Street
May 30, 2012