On a lovely autumn evening we chose to visit Ovest Pizzoteca for dinner. Ovest is owned by the same as Luzzo’s and specialize in “Naples-style dining.”
The space is very industrial-looking which is par for the course, I suppose, as you go further west in Chelsea towards the art galleries, but it was still quite cozy. EXPOSED BRICK, WEE! I was also pretty excited to learn that Ovest has apertivo (essentially an Italian version of happy hour, which means you get to eat tons of food included while you drink), but we obviously came for the pizza.
Their menu gives a choice between 10″ and 12″ pies, but only the 12″ are available for dinner. Fine by me. Our first pie, of course, was the Bufala (pictured above) with buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce, & basil. The sauce maintained a shocking balance between sweet and salty, in that I felt every bite alternated between which flavor prevailed. I liked it. Like our pie at Luzzo’s, it was covered with ample blobs of creamy mozzarella.
Unlike most other Neopolitan-style pizzas I’ve had, the crust on this one did not become soggy in the center and stood up quite well to the toppings. It was refreshing to taste this kind of pie without feeling I had to shove it in my mouth before it fell apart on my lap. Extra points to Ovest for that, as well as the perfectly smoky char on each slice.
Our second pie was the Arugola (their spelling – grrr), which was topped with mozzarella, tomato sauce, arugula, prosciutto, and basil. There was also what I’m pretty sure is shaved pecorino romano on top. This pie was, hands down, the best non-traditional (meaning not plain/regular/margherita/etc.) pie I’ve ever had. Scott agreed. The salty prosciutto paired with the milky smooth mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, and bitter arugula in a way that I felt left every taste bud I have completely satisfied. I absolutely must recreate this at home… or just leave it to them, since they did it so well.
For those who must commute home via Penn Station like me, Ovest is an especially good find since it’s just a quick walk away. Molto bene!
Ovest Pizzoteca, 513 West 27th Street #2 New York, NY; http://www.ovestnyc.com