Not all pizza is created equal. Yes, I am of the belief that even bad pizza is good pizza. But excellent pizza is another story all together. New York is riddled with excellent pizza: Lombardi’s, Grimaldi’s, Pepe’s (Yonkers counts!), John’s, Joe’s, Artichoke, the list goes on and on. The latest pizza joint I’ve been hearing about is Keste, located on Bleecker Street (interestingly right across the street from John’s.) Keste is not brand new, but it was brand new to me. My friend Marcy and I decided to check it out the other night, and while we walked towards it, I saw a familiar Manhattan sight. A line of people standing outside. Two things immediately jumped into my head: 1) Great… we have to wait for a table. 2) This place must be really good.
Once seated, we were not disappointed. The staff was wonderful–all Italian young men that move the seatings along, but have the just-right amount of charm that’s all over Italy. We started with a few glasses of vino and a wonderfully fresh arugula salad with aged balsamic and parmesan.
And then the pizzas. I had to first check out the operation. The working area is maybe the size of an office cubicle. And the wood-burning oven… it’s hot and it works fast. I took a peak inside, and the heat not only brought a flush to my cheeks but also fogged up my camera.
The second pizza we ordered was a special, and it featured this amazingly fresh burrata, flown in from Italy that morning. It also included tomato sauce and basil. The burrata was so fresh–pillows of cheese with the perfect amount of creaminess.
Both pizzas were incredible. Both featured a crust that was perfectly salted with the right ratio of chewiness and crunchiness. Excellent things are happening in that hot oven.
If you can’t make it to NYC anytime soon, check out this awesome tutorial provided by Serious Eats. Maybe you can bring some Keste magic to your own home.
271 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014