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Pizza is in a funny place these days. With the exception of Artichoke, very few new generation parlors go the slice route, despite the fact there’s obviously a big demand. For the current crop of dough freaks, it’s all about finding new school ways of cooking an old school pie and one-upping each other. After an initial explosion a couple years behind the success of Keste, Motorino and Co., the hipster pizza has returned for its second wind with Forcella’s Montanara pizza leading the charge.
Let’s talk about this Montanara pie. Different and more delicious than any other haute-pizza we’ve tried, the dough is flash fried before being finished off in a pan, baked inside their wood-burning oven imported directly from Italy. The impossibly crispy margherita pie comes out tasting like dessert. It’s incredible. We’ll let The Underground Gourmet school you on the details, but just take our word for it – you need to try this pizza. Forcella is banking on that too as this restaurant is massive for a pizza place. Their prime Bowery real estate can’t be cheap. A couple things to keep in mind: There is no booze yet, liquor license is still being worked out. Also, the service is rough around the edges. Our server was dreadfully slow and a total space cadet. We witnessed mishaps at multiple tables around us, so it wasn’t just our guy either. Also, aside from the Montanara pie, nothing was overly impressive. The other pizzas are good, but they’re no better than the competition. Plus, the starters and salads are nothing to write home about which begs the question of why not just open up a Montara specific pie and slices joint? Keep the overhead low and people happy.
Here’s what’s truly amazing about Forcella. It’s operated by the same guy who manned the oven at Olio Pizza e Piu, the restaurant that currently owns the most hysterical and lowest scored review on Immaculate Infatuation. As you can imagine, we were a bit skeptical going in. What can we say though? We hold no grudges and this time, dude got it right.
Sizeable tomato and mozzarella rice balls that are breaded and fried. A fine starter, but definitely not a mandatory order as they’re a bit bland.
Pizzelle Di Nonna
If you’re not going to order the fried Montanara pie, then you best be ordering this appetizer duo of mini fried pizzas. Or, if you’ve got balls, order both. That’s what we did.
A trio of bruschette is always a solid app to share. This one comes with one sundried tomato piece, another that’s an artichoke and olive spread and a standard tomato with garlic and pecorino.
Mixed greens, cucumber, corn and cherry tomatoes in a light vinaigrette. Feel free if you want some greens on the table, but don’t get too excited about it.
So, as we explained above, this the reason why you’re here. This flash fried crispy, fluffy deliciousness is the kind of pizza we could eat every day of our lives. Unlike other pizzas, this one won’t weigh you down either. We could have eaten two of these whole pies in one sitting.
If you’re using our iPhone app and currently at the restaurant reading this, trying to figure out what to order, don’t get too caught up by the rest of the food rundown. Order the Montanara and the rest is gravy. We thoroughly enjoyed the Margherita Regina pie with it’s fresh bufala mozzarella and cherry tomatoes.
There are a solid ten choice of White Pizze Bianche, we decided to go the eggplant, zucchini and pepper topped and didn’t regret it. The soft pillowy dough has just the right amount of char on it and makes pretty much any pie you choose a money choice. We inhaled this thing. That being said, the toppings are better at Motorino.
What we thought was a calzone pizza was actually a legit calzone. Inside the soft dome of dough lives some tasty soppressata, smoked mozzarella and ricotta. Our one complaint here is that there wasn’t enough stuff in the middle. Too much dough, not enough meat.