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Best new calzones in NYC: Fresh takes on the Italian turnover

Popping up at pizza hipster haunts like Roberta’s and new slice joints like Tufino, calzones are having a moment. Here are NYC’s best new calzones.

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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

Involto at Roberta's

The Bushwick pizza phenom has been slinging stellar pies since 2008, but it added this not-so-classic fold-over to the menu only last year. The love child of a calzone and a stromboli, this hefty, dough-swaddled specialty is built with the same provisions that make the pizzeria’s artisanal rounds destination-worthy. The wonderfully charred crust is folded up like a brick-oven burrito, with a cleft on top, bubbling the three cheeses (fluffy Narragansett Creamery ricotta, melty house-made mozzarella and nutty Parmigiano) and crisping the edges of the peppercorn-studded sopressata hidden underneath. Roasted red peppers and sweet tomatoes mellow the salami’s spice, finished with a subtle backbeat of homegrown basil and oregano. 261 Moore St between Bogart and White Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-417-1118, robertaspizza.com). $16.

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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Porchetta calzone at Motorino

At his Williamsburg location—
which opened last June—Mathieu Palombino’s swine-filled football is an all-out carnivore indulgence. Bolstered by prosciutto di Parma slices, the meaty mess highlights luscious porchetta, a stuffed-and-rolled 12-hour pork roast teeming with garlic, sage, rosemary and thyme. Like an Italian-accented ham-and-cheese, gooey stretches of provolone picante and pecorino romano are pinched between 
folds of the pizzeria’s famed crust. Parsley sprigs and a drizzle of olive oil freshen things up, while a 
side of snappy marinara has nice acidity to counter the fatty meat. 
139 Broadway between Bedford and Driggs Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-8899, motorinopizza
.com). $18.

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Photograph: Jennifer Arnow

Fritto calzone at Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana

At Stephen Menna’s Astoria pizza parlor, which opened last December, the fried calzone is more than a novelty—it’s a puffed-up wonder, a hybrid of street-fair zeppole and red-sauce slice. Oozing crazy-rich ricotta, fior di latte mozzarella, salty prosciutto cotto and an enlivening kick of black pepper, the stuffed-to-the-brim turnover takes a dip in the fryer for a golden, crackling hull. Menna—a Paulie Gee’s alum—spoons robust, tangy tomato sauce on top before giving the pouch a blast in the wood-fired Stefano Ferrara oven. 36-08 Ditmars Blvd between 36th and 37th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-278-4800, tufinopizzeria.com). $12.

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Photograph: Michael Rudin

S'mores calzone at Brooklyn Central

At his Park Slope pizzeria, launched last October, owner-pizzaiolo Matt Hyland (Sottocasa) swaps the standard marinara-and-mozz calzone filling for classic campfire accoutrements: chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers. Sticky pulls of melted mallow and ribbons of cocoa-hazelnut Nutella overlap inside a pillowy, crisp pizza-dough pod, cooked to a char-spotted smolder inside a tiled Ferrara inferno. With all of the familiarity of the bonfire favorite, the sweet meal-ender is finished with a generous dusting of fine graham-cracker crumbs. 289 Fifth Ave between 1st and 2nd Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (347-725-4891, brooklyncentralpizza.com). $8.

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Photograph: Hannah Mattix

Calzone Fritto at Don Antonio by Starita

There’s no marinara or mozzarella to be found in the massive, golden-fried pocket at this midtown Neapolitan joint, opened last year by Roberto Caporuscio (Kesté Pizza & Vino) and his mentor, Antonio Starita (owner of Naples’ renowned Pizzeria Starita a Materdei). Instead, this green variety bundles silky escarole—braised down to a bitter wilt—with briny anchovies, plump raisins, toasted pine nuts and salty cured Gaeta olives. The earthy pitch of the filling is matched by the sour, yeasty tang of the fried-then-baked shell, made with imported Caputo “OO” flour and poufed up in the 900-degree oven. 309 W 50th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves (646-719-1043, donantoniopizza.com). $17.

In recent years, pizza has gotten plenty of au courant twists, with offbeat toppings, local ingredients and deep-fried modernizations dominating the scene, but calzones have largely been neglected in the pie case. Now, a few ballsy pizzerias—including Roberta’s, Motorino and Brooklyn Central—are defying the tired cheese-sauce-dough norm, slinging updated versions of the Italian fold-over into their wood-fired ovens. These ain’t your nonna’s calzones.

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