I'm so behind on blogging that I can do round-up posts by food group. And by "food group" I mean "pizza." (It's a group—just like how gelato, hamburgers, and noodles are groups.)
All of these pizza outings have one thing in common: Kathy. She's a pizza addict. Although I've known her for years, it was only a few months ago that I found out that she likes to eat pizza a few times a week. I eat pizza a few times a month, maybe. It's a wonder she doesn't write for Slice, but she says she's not discerning enough. All slabs of bread covered in cheese and tomato sauce, beware—Kathy will suck the life out of you, and then digest you in a most painful bath of stomach acids.
So here's some pizza.
I was just going to say that I don't know how old L'asso is, but then came across their conveniently timed post announcing that they had their 5th birthday on July 15. Which confused the crap out of me because I'm almost positive that I remember the Chinese restaurant that used to be where L'asso is now, yet I've only been living in New York City for...not five years.
You know what this means: My brain is making stuff up. I'm pretty sure that's a sign that something is wrong. Like brain disintegration.
OHHH WHATEVER, I won't worry about it. ...what's this goo coming out of my ears...
Kathy, Jessica, and I shared two pizzas and a salad. First off: pizza margherita D.O.C., my favorite kind of pizza. Tomato sauce, soft plops of buffalo mozzarella (in my opinion, it's worth paying extra for the buffalo origins), fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil, with a sprinkling of oregano on a thin, slightly chewy, non-soggy crust. I don't think anything stood out about this pizza—it was just...simple and good. A++, WOULD EAT AGAIN.
I couldn't find the name of this pizza online, but it's the one with green onions and Italian ham. Alas, I wasn't as fond of this as the margherita—the ham was too crispy for my liking (imagine a potato chip...made of pork) and all I could taste was salty pork without much green onion to go with it. Crust was good though.
The Insalata L'asso came with mixed greens, asparagus, fennel, hearts of palm, goat cheese, and pistachios. Fresh, crisp ingredients and all around pretty awesome (besides that I think it would all go nicely on a pizza). Now I know where to go if I want a massive entree-like salad the size of my head.
Jessica was thoughtful enough to bring a vanilla frosted chocolate cake for Kathy's birthday. (I didn't bring any sweets; I just brought...my looove?) The waitress whisked it away and returned with three plates holding massive cake wedges. She was a notably nice waitress; I hope she enjoyed the final uneaten slice of cake that we offered to her.
A pizzeria around Little Italy and Chinatown with nice service and lack of toursts = hooray! I'd go back.
Update: Adam just posted his Veloce review on Slice! It's WAY better than whatever I wrote here, so you should read it. If you're interested.
For instance, I had no idea that they specialized in pan pizzas, or grandma-style. Upon my request, we went with the arugula pizza topped with a hefty layer of mozzarella, fontina, sweet onion, and bisected grape tomatoes. "On top of pizza" is my favorite way to eat arugula, which I find too bitter on its own.
Our crust (thicker than a regular slice of pizza, but much thinner than Sicilian; alas, I didn't have my calipers on me), while mostly firm with a bit of chew, was floppier in the center—seemingly less magical than Bruni's. But as Bruni said, the outer part was pleasantly extra crisp and infused with cheesiness. He also pointed out that he didn't like the arugula pie, so maybe I just FAILED. Then again, he said it was beacuse the sweet onion made the pie too sweet, which I didn't sense at all.
Overall, I liked the pizza, just not in an "oh my god ohgod this is frakin fantastic" way. I probably need to check it out again to get that 100% firm crust action.
The desserts were also in the "good, not awesome" camp. Sliced gelato, in this case lemon and strawberry, was...self explanatory. Slices of gelato. Tastes like what it says. Nothing less, or more.
Pistachio panna cotta would have been better if it had been called pistachio mousse, since that's what it tasted like to us. The texture was super light and a bit fluffy, which was nothing like the creamy, wobbly gelatinous panna cotta I was used to. Not to say this wasn't panna cotta or that it tasted objectionable; it just wasn't what I had in mind. Perhaps I'm being too traditionalist—I love panna cotta for its "jiggly, creamy, vanilla-tinged powers."
Veloce. We will meet again.
The spinach-n-choke pizza is known for either being delicious in a bad way, or disgusting in a bad way. Ed Levine hates it, as far as I know. Adam seems to think its okay. And I...actually really liked it. Of course, it doesn't taste like any regular pizza—it tastes like rich, cheesy creamy goo. Loads of it. Suffocating a layer of bread and whatever bits of spinach and artichoke are buried in it. The first dish that came to mind while eating this was the pasta alfredo I used to get at Outback Steakhouse while growing up (I didn't like steak). I remember slurping the linguine, causing thick gobs of alfredo sauce to collect on any surface it touched (i.e., my mouth), and then how, the next day, the leftovers would congeal into a tangled block of linguine-bound-by-milkfats. Fuckin' A!
Kathy, Doug, and I also shared slices of plain and Sicilian while eating on Doug's rooftop, but at that point in time, it was the spinach and artichoke that stole my heart. And possibly taxed it.