Pizza Lunch: Don Antonio by Starita

mushroom calzone from Don Antonio

The mushroom calzone at Don Antonio has sauce spooned on top.

I haven’t been to Don Antonio by Starita in a few months and certainly not since I’ve been working at Paulie Gee’s. So when I had the chance to meet a longtime friend/former coworker there, I jumped at it like Evel Knievel jumps rope. I wanted to see if I had developed a keener palate or had more finely tuned my pizza sensors.

The point of the lunch, though, was to catch up with a friend, so I didn’t do much pizza-noting. I did, however, opt for the calzone, which I can’t recall ever having tried. I usually hate calzones, but I’ve had great luck with calzones from Neapolitan WFO pizzerias. I think that’s because they’re not overly stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella. They’re usually a more restrained thing, AND they often have sauce spooned on top pre-oven. They’re so far removed from the giant gooey hot pockets of NYC-style pizzerias.

And, so, yeah, bottom line is that the one at Don Antonio is pretty good. We tried the mushroom version because we were already having a meat-topped pizza alongside. I’ve found that Neapolitan calzones are often stuffed with salami, and I’m of the mind that I like to have at least half the order meat-free. (I’ve gotta get my vegetables somehow.)

Girelle pizza at Don Antonio

The Girelle is a white pizza topped with pinwheels of mozzarella and arugula along with cherry tomatoes and prosciutto.

For the actual pizza part of this Pizza Lunch I ordered us the Girella. Google Translate says “girella” means “pivoter,” and there’s some sort of Italian junk-food snack cake named “La Girella,” so obviously the name refers to the pinwheels of mozzarella and arugula. I like this one just fine (what’s not to love about that ingredient line-up atop a superb crust?) but usually prefer my pizzas with sauce. But you can’t beat this pizza for the visual Wow Factor, which I wanted to treat my friend to.

It was interesting to see how the crust differs from the pizzas I now help make at Paulie Gee’s.

What’s this about working at Paulie Gee’s, you ask? I’ll get to that a little later.