New pizza styles

There's fresh terrain for the pizza aficionado to explore in Gotham. TONY investigates life beyond the New York slice.

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Wild Rise

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Wild Rise

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Wild Rise

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Wild Rise

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Wild Rise

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Wild Rise

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Wild Rise

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Wild Rise

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Wild Rise

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Wild Rise

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Wild Rise

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Basil Brick Oven Pizza

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Forcella

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Forcella

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Kest Pizza & Vino

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Wild Rise

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Wild Rise

RECOMMENDED: See more of the best pizza in NYC

Gluten-free pizza at Kest Pizza & Vino

Critics' pick

The backstory: Gluten-free pizzas used to be the domain of health-conscious joints, an option for virtuous eaters or those with wheat allergies, but not serious 'za aficionados. That changed last year when Kest's master pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio—the American-chapter president of the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani—decided to bring pedigreed pies to the wheat-averse masses.
The specs: Caporuscio makes his gluten-free pies in almost the same fashion as his traditional Neapolitan pizzas, but his secret weapon here is a special flour blend (rice, corn and potato starches and soy flour) from lauded Italian flour producer Caputo. To avoid cross-contamination with wheat flour in the main wood-burning oven, he cooks the hand-stretched rounds of dough at a blazing 850 degrees in a separate electric oven downstairs.
The result: Due to space limitations in the secondary kitchen, there are only three gluten-free pies offered: marinara, Margherita (San Marzano tomato sauce, creamy homemade mozzarella) and mast'nicola (topped with a blanket of salty pecorino-romano gratings, rich strips of Salumeria Biellese lardo). The thinner, chewier rounds don't have the same puff as the classic Kest pies, but they're delicious all the same—stretchy, blistered crusts covered with top-notch ingredients. When we visited, we didn't tell our dining companion that he was digging into a gluten-free pie until after he cleaned his plate. His assessment is one that we can get behind: outstanding. Mon, Tue (212-243-1500)

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West Village

Wild-yeast-fermented pizza at Wild Rise

Critics' pick

The backstory: When it comes to textbook Neapolitan pizza, the usual badges of authenticity are San Marzano tomatoes, doppio zero flour and an imported wood-burning oven. Dough-rising agents weren't even part of the conversation until a quirky Sunday–Tuesday pizzeria popped up in an unlikely place—the back of artsy neighborhood bote 68 Jay Street Bar. Bringing pizza back to its preindustrial origins, the team behind Wild Rise eschewed the consistent one-strain commercial yeast for wild yeast, a collection of strains of the microorganisms, imported from Campagnia. Wild Rise prizes the diversified yeast, as it produces more complex flavor—a worthy trade-off for taming the potential inconsistencies (rising time among them) from batch to batch.
The specs: The ingredients at Wild Rise might be old-school, but the tools here are all cutting-edge. The pizzaiolos keep their wild yeast in a lab incubator, which allows the stuff to propagate at safe humidity and temperature levels. The custom-built oven is a portable
steel-insulated cylinder that rises and lowers over an elevated pizza stone, bringing the heat source closer to the pies and cutting off air circulation to cook them quickly. The oven is designed to reach the same incinerating temperatures as the mammoth wood-burning brick beasts from Naples, but uses less energy and a fraction of the space. The rounds of dough—a mix of yeast, red sea salt and a custom blend of stone-ground flours fermented for two to three days—are dolled up with milky buffalo mozzarella, sweet Italian plum tomato sauce and fragrant torn basil. Each needs just 60 seconds to cook in the sweltering 900-degree contraption.
The result: The springy char-kissed crust boasts deep earthy and tangy notes that stand up to the bold flavors of the spot's primo ingredients—ultra-porky pepperoni and pungent hard-neck garlic. Choose from winners like marinara, Margherita, cremini with pepperoni, and shiitake and garlic. Mon, Tue, Sun inside 68 Jay Street Bar (718-260-8207)

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Tribeca

Fried pizza at Forcella

The backstory: Fried pizza is storming NYC, with versions of the previously unheard-of pie showing up at the Manhattan and Brooklyn locations of Forcella, PizzArte and soon-to-open Don Antonio (from Keste's Roberto Caporuscio). It may seem like some newfangled gimmick in line with KFC's Double Down, but fried pizza's roots go back to Naples, where ovenless families improvised by making pies, called montanara, in stove-top pans. Giulio Adriani came across a deep-fried pizza ripieno (calzone) during a visit to Italy and began experimenting with the hot-oil concoctions, eventually adding them to the menu in July, one month after he opened his first Forcella location.
The specs: From his time working in Italy, Adriani knew that his regular dough, intended for high-temperature baking, absorbs too much oil in the deep fryer. For his montanara, he fortifies the dough with more Caputo 00 flour and lets it rise for 48 hours, double the normal fermenting time, so that the bonds among the proteins are stronger and develop a protective barrier against the oil. Discs of the dough are dropped in bubbling 375-degree oil for 30--40 seconds,covered with toppings and finished in the wood-burning hearth at an incinerating 900--1,000 degrees for another half minute. The process for calzones is slightly simpler: The stuffed half-moons of dough spend just 90 seconds in the deep fryer, no oven time required.
The result: The golden-fried crusts—speckled with tiny air bubbles, chewy and slightly sweet—are reminiscent of country-fair funnel cakes, without a trace of grease. Crowned with a light sauce of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, gooey house-made mozzarella and a sprinkling of salty Parmigiano-Reggiano, the pizzas are damn good, as are the calzones. Cut into the ripieno classico, and smoked mozzarella and creamy ricotta laced with tomato sauce and meaty bits of sopressata ooze from the crispy, airy shell. 334 Bowery between Bond and E 3rd Sts (212-466-3300) • 485 Lorimer St between Grand and Powers Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-8820)

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Northern Italian pizza at Basil Brick Oven Pizza

The backstory: Since Naples-born Gennaro Lombardi opened America's first licensed pizzeria at 53 Spring Street in 1905, southern Italy has dominated New York City's pizzascape with its Sicilian squares (an Italian-American riff) and Neapolitan pies. But in the past few years, pie reps from northern Italy have started to edge their way onto the city's slice map. In 1994, traditional Roman varieties, the crispy rectangular lengths sold by the inch, surfaced at Sullivan Street Bakery, which was later joined by Campo de Fiori (2010) and Roma Pizza (2011). Last June, a different kind of northern Italian pizza—round pies found all over the region—arrived in far-out Queens, thanks to Piedmont native Danile Barbos.
The specs: Northern Italian pizza resembles Neapolitan-style versions, but Barbos says the two possess three major differences: Northern Italian pizzas are thinner since less dough is used, offer more varieties of toppings (he has 40 different pies on his menu), and cook for longer (three to four minutes versus a quick 60-second turn in the oven).
The result: On the Basil Brick Oven Pizza menu, you'll find familiar favorites, like the Margherita and quattro formaggi, along with more characteristically northern options, such as pies topped with pesto or cream sauce. We liked the finocchiona, slathered with tomato sauce, pools of creamy homemade mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and a double dose of fennel—slices of the sweet roasted vegetable and anisey coins of hot Italian sausage flavored with its seeds. These tender and crispy pizzas have a distinctively smoky flavor derived from the extra time in the oven with smoldering wood, and the generous layer of toppings is thicker than the crust itself, making austere Neapolitan versions seem downright stingy by comparison. 718-204-1205

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Astoria

Comments

1 comments
peter timber
peter timber

no mention is made of a 24 hour pizza that can be eaten for breakfast. Its called Nonna's Pizza (grandmothers pizza) and is made with fresh ricotta and fresh tomatoes and a hearty crisp but thin crust. Its made in Yonkers, NY