Veloce Pizzeria NYC
Veloce Pizzeria first fired up its ovens last summer, the newest food-and-drink hangout from the Vespa-mascotted Veloce mini-empire. Usually the opening of just about any New York City pizza restaurant with any sort of ambition–especially a new East Village pizza place–is cause for an almost ridiculous amount of attention in this town, but with newcomers Keste, Co., and Motorino all having their debuts in 2009, Veloce Pizzeria sort of slipped in under the radar. Not that the place is at all dead–like most everything in this neighborhood, Veloce pizza attracts a young and loud crowd every night after a certain hour–but the pizza itself has perhaps gone under-appreciated. Not, it should be noted, by us.
We've eaten at this East Village pizza spot several times over the past few months, and have never been anything less than completely satisfied with our pies. The appetizers? That's another story. A quick pre-movie dinner over the weekend, for example, was, for us, a typical Veloce Pizzeria experience. Tempted as always by the Spuntini section of the menu, and wanting to round out our pizza meal with other flavors, we ordered the Batter Fried Calamari with lemon and arugula, and the Ricotta on bread, and really wished we hadn't bothered… or, better yet, that we had just gotten a second Veloce pizza instead. The calamari was soggy and flavorless; the ricotta cheese spread fresh from the deepest recesses of the walk-in fridge. And this is not unusual, to be disappointed in the starters. In the past we've equally not-enjoyed our (also icy) Caponata on toast, and our (limp, chewy) Fennel Salad, though an Arugula Salad we once had was serviceable.
But enough bad news. The point of Veloce Pizzeria is, of course, the pizza, and on this dish we're smitten. The pies here are done up Sicilian style–square, thick-crusted, four big slices in each–and, especially when they really blister the heck out them, they are outstanding. Every variety of Veloce pizza we've tried has been a winner, from the Mushroom (covered in a nice selection of wild fungi) to the Porchetta Sausage (with fennel pollen) to the simple, bright and lively Margherita. The secret is in the dough, which chef Sara Jenkins infuses with potato (!), adding a unique and delightful layer of sponginess and flavor to the proceedings. Next time we're at this East Village pizza place, we?re going to skip the starters, and double-up on the pies. And you should, too.
Veloce Pizzeria NY Details
Veloce Pizzeria NY is located in the East Village on First Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets, and is open from 6:00 p.m. until 12:00 midnight on weekdays, and from 3:00 p.m. until midnight on Saturday and Sunday. For more info, check out their website Veloce Pizzeria. For an up-to-date menu, go to Veloce Pizzeria menupages.