I think of a lot of things when I hear the word pizza. Most of them involve gooey cheese and luscious tomato sauce all over my face. Rarely do they involve wearing white. I think of Napoli, and of gangsters, and people that talk like Marlon Brando in The Godfather. But, mainly, I think of my gut, expanding pleasingly with a charred crust, just-crispy, still a little chewy. And spicy sausage. Jesus, I need to go for a pizza.
OK. Let me calm myself briefly. One thing I never, ever think of is the beach. Yet brothers Tom and Anthony Martignetti clearly did — christening their successful Upper East Side, Manhattan, restaurant Pizza Beach.
The Martignetti’s parlour, though, is anything but conventional; Brussels sprouts, kale and roasted pear are not ingredients I’d ever put on a ‘pie’ (as they call them out here). Nor would I wash it down with a vitamin D-spiked juice. But this is New York, in 2015, so play along.
Veggie-forward they call it, and it seems New Yorkers were nowhere near as sceptical as I — a riotously successful few months up east and they’re opening a follow up down east, their LES Pizza Beach another refreshing two-fingers to tradition; all white-washed with a kitschy feel you’d expect out on the far east of Long Island. The brothers welcome a new chef, Eric Kleinman, who closed his renowned local restaurant ‘inoteca last year — the NYC native calling on his 15 years cooking in the area with things like braised chicken cacciatore on skewers and ￼￼Lamb Merguez with ￼Moroccan chickpeas.
Pizzas, beaches, veggies — not natural bedfellows, but one look at those crusts is enough to convert the most curmudgeonly of old sourpusses. TAKE ME TO THE BEACH!