Given how close my office is to Don Antonio by Starita (a five-minute walk), I don’t know why I don’t eat here more often. The pizza is great. Like Kesté, its sister pizzeria in Greenwich Village, this place is über Neapolitan. (Though I will say that the topping choices are a lot more expansive than some of the Neapolitan joints I’ve been to, where there are, like, five pies on the menu.)
One of my favorites—going back to the first time I visited—is the Pistacchio e Salsiccia pie, which has a pistachio pesto as a “sauce” and is topped with, well, all the stuff you see in the caption above.
The crust at Kesté is not as aggressively charred as some of the city’s other Neapolitan joints, which, I understand, is par for the course in Naples itself, where the black bubbles and spots we ‘Mericans enjoy and praise are considered a no-no. I’ve never been to Naples, which is a big hole in my pizza game, I know, but from what I’ve heard, Kesté often is lauded by those who have been as the most authentically* Neapolitan of the joints in NYC. By the transitive property—the pizza is nearly identical—that makes Don Antonio super authentic as well.
* I really do hate to use this word, because it sparks so much debate, but since there are zero readers of FOA, nobody is going to pop off in the comments here. (And I’m thinking of doing away with comments anyway, so whatever.) Also, I think it’s appropriate here for other reasons I can’t quite/don’t want to articulate at this time. Namely, I think the debate over authenticity in Neapolitan pizza often centers on whether certain ingredients are verboten—mozzarella with garlic, etc. Since Kesté/Don Antonio seem to get a nod from the Neapolitanistas, I feel OK in using “authentic” here. Anyway …
It took me a while to warm to this style of pizza, but Kesté and Don Antonio (and other top-notch Neapolitan and Neapolitan-inspired pizzerias) have gone a long way in opening my eyes to the merits of the genre.
That’s about all I have to say about this Weekly Pizza Lunch. I’ve been using these meals/this column mostly as a means to explore and inform my bar pizza recipe, but I was hard pressed for a place this week and did the easy thing.