• 160 Second Avenue
• New York, NY 10003
• (212) 432-1600 •

Once upon a time, famous chefs limited themselves to opening chic restaurants for those who wanted to see and be seen and who didn't mind dropping a hearty buck to do so. But the age of reality television, paired with the reality that catering exclusively to the 1% is seen as a sort of shitty thing to do these days has meant that there is a surge of famous names behind relatively inexpensive food. David Chang started Momouko Milk Bar, Todd English opened a mid-priced restaurant in LaGuardia Airport, Daniel Meyer created Shake Shack, and Michael White has Nicoletta, a pizza spot in the East Village that I went to with a handful of friends.

This particular trip was for Emma's birthday, and we were extremely surprised how sparsely crowded the place was. Other restaurants in the area that day had waits of up to an hour. But hey, that just made getting a table that much easier. A round of drinks was ordered (Mr. Dogz and I split a small growler, and white wines were ordered by the others) and we began debating the menu.

The vast majority of the menu is pizza, but like most New York pizzerias, there's a smattering of your standard red sauce Italian food. Lasagna, chicken parm, and the like. We did not order them. Unlike most New York pizzerias, these pies are a little less generic-feeling. Nine times out of ten, you can neither tell the difference between two halfway decent pizza joints, and nor do you care to try. This ain't that. But I'll get to the pies later. First, the appetizers. The table ordered a plate of Fried Calamari and an order Arancini, which is porcini risotto balls, also fried. This was not a healthy meal. The calamari were devoured by us. Flaky, crispy, tender, perfect. The arancini was likewise praised across the board. A couple of people considered ordering another round. Those of us watching our waistline thought the better of it. But rest assured, you'll like them.

The pizzas were similarly delicious. As I said before, these are not your standard fold-n-go NYC pies, though I wouldn't be a tool and eat them with a knife and fork, either. Without beating you to death with the details of an entire pizza menu, take it from me that you'll do well to follow our example and order one red sauce pie (in this case half Classica - plain with mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh basil - and half Calabrese - pepperoni, fennel sausage, red onion, pomodoro and mozzarella) and one white sauce pie (the Prosciutto pie - prosciutto, caramelized onions, and ricotta cheese).

Finally, we ordered a last round of proseccos, and a couple of cute desserts to pass around and share. A Strawberry Shortcake and a Brownie, served in little cups with ice cream. Fun. Emma the birthday girl was also given something just for herself with a candle. And then we sang and embarrassed her. It was glorious.

Pizzas average $24. The smaller plates average $10. One pie would be too much for one person unless that person is very hungry. But two people could easily split one if they also got a small plate as well.

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