10 Great Pizza Places in NYC
by Katherine Faw Morris, New York Observer contributor, 01/16/2009
7. Zero Otto Nove
2357 Arthur Ave. • 718-220-1027
When it opened in late 2007, Zero Otto Nove put Bronx pizza on the map. Taking its name from Italy's seaside Salerno—area code 089—this trattoria is a contemporary standout amid the time warp of Arthur Avenue. Though owned by Chef Roberto Paciullo of nearby Roberto's, the star here is Riccardo, a 20-something dough-twirler and Salerno expat, who crafts Neapolitan pies to the old country's exacting standards. Rich 12-inch pizzas are fired in a wood-burning oven and finished with thicker crusts than the New York norm, requiring no folding or dodging of dribbling grease. The margherita uses only the finest ingredients: San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. Starch-on-starch patate e porcini pie cleverly marries sliced potatoes and porcini mushrooms. A touch of fancy shows up in the specialty pies, like the "La Riccardo," topped with butternut squash purée, smoked mozzarella and pancetta. Zuppe, pasta al forno, carne from rabbit to Cornish hen, and whole fish round out the sprawling menu. The gravy is top-notch, lush and spicy. Unlike its red-sauce neighbors, the bi-level space echoes a suburban customer base more than the area's bygone days. Sideboards, faux windows and gold-flecked paint channel a stucco manse in the balconied dining room. Parked on the pavement outside: A baby-blue Vespa and matching 1958 Fiat.
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