Pizza Heaven

January 7, 2018

I couldn’t take my eyes off the woman seated in the middle of  Pasquale Jones.   She looked like one of those aging French actresses – short dark hair, fine bones – and she was eating a clam pizza all by herself.  As she picked up each slice her eyelids would slide closed – almost involuntarily – as she bit into the soft, pillowy dough.  Then the most extraordinary look would cross her face, one of deep satisfaction.

Slowly, methodically, she ate the entire pizza. Watching her, there was no way you would not order one for yourself.

I shared my pie – but it took a certain effort of will. Pasquale Jones’ clam pizza – with its slightly charred crust, its lemon, its cheese and its broccoli rabe – is a thing of great beauty.  And while I was exceedingly skeptical about the cream – that works too. Sprinkle on a bit of chile oil, and this is pretty much pizza heaven.

But I have to say its hard to imagine anyplace I’d rather be on a frigid winter day than this cozy little restaurant with its wood-fired ovens, its lovely wine list and its fantastic food.

Ease in slowly, with a pristine plate of raw fish with radishes.

Have the brilliant braised leeks – which are treated like pasta and tossed with creamy parmesan and toasted walnuts

Order a pizza and then indulge in a few bites of duck-based lasagna

A bit of wine, and you’ll never want to leave.  There is, however, one compensation for leaving this little oasis: walk a few blocks south to Grand Street, go left one block and you’ll find yourself at my all-time favorite store, Di Palo’s. Plan on spending some time there as you buy ricotta, mozzarella, and the best Parmigiano in the city.  This is not the time to rush.

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