When Danny Meyer opens a new restaurant, people flock to it. It’s just what happens. That was the case with Marta, so I was surprised Rebekah and I could get a table last Sunday night – only about a month and a half after the restaurant opened. At first I was concerned that could be a bad omen. Had the people already spoken and deemed this place a dud? Not the case. I think it was a combination of our late Sunday evening arrival and the speed with which their massive wood fired oven churns out pizzas.
Rebekah’s husband Alex and his friend ended up joining us for dinner, which meant we were able to try more pizzas. When it comes to pizza, more is always a good thing. We ordered four for the table…and then one more when Alex (who has the endless appetite of a 14-year old boy) decided he wasn’t quite finished. We tried the margherita di bufala, the salsiccia (mozzarella, pork sausage, crimini), the patate alla carbonara (potato, cured meat, pecorino, lots of black pepper, and egg), the cavolini (brussels sprouts and cauliflower), and the amatriciana (red onions, chile flakes, and cured meat). My favorite was probably the salsiccia. The margherita was also great just because the red sauce was perfectly executed. It could have used a little red pepper, but there is something so right about quality marinara and crust as thin as a cracker.
My only complaint was that the environment didn’t match the $17 pizzas and $8 wine. The restaurant is in a grand hotel space with the tallest ceilings I have ever seen. I know this isn’t a pizzeria, but it still felt a bit too formal (and a tad boring). The setting worked for the other items on the menu like the rabbit meatballs or $35 lamb chops, but if the goal is to focus on and own this type of pizza the way Meyer owns burgers at Shake Shack, I would have hoped for something a bit cozier.