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BryanZ

Co. (Company) Pizzeria by Jim Lahey

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Co. Pizzeria

24th and 9th

After what seemed like years of well-chronicled delays, people are going ga-ga over Co., sometimes called "Company" and not to be confused with Ko, Jim Lahey's new pizzeria.

Even on a rather cold Thursday evening, waits ranged from 30 minutes to over an hour. I arrived shortly after 7, was quoted a 45 minute wait for a party of three, and was seated after about 40. Patrons congregate in the foyer and in front of the bar where about five beers are on tap along with glasses of wine starting at, I believe, $7 with most in the $9-$12 range.

The service here is still pretty discombobulated. It's hard to tell who is a server and who is a diner, we were delivered the wrong food twice, one server didn't know what pizza he was delivering and had to consult the menu, and water glasses occasionally went empty. Also, pizzas did not come out at the same time, so for those not sharing this could lead to an awkward situation. The pizzas are best when piping hot. Hopefully, these issues will get sorted as things calm down and the staff becomes more seasoned.

Crowds and service issues aside, this is seriously tasty pizza. Certainly more restaurant-style (i.e., real Italian-style) than corner pizzeria style. I haven't been to UPN, but I enjoyed these pies significantly more than those at Otto or Franny's, for instance. This is not a toppings-centic pie, nor is it a crust-centric pie. There's a real synergy as you work your way down each slice. First, the toppings dominate, then as the crust thickens toward the outer edge you get more char, more chew, more yeast. Very nice.

I also liked the differences in the pies we chose. The Brascaiola was more analogous to a gloppy (in a good way) corner pizzeria slice. Saucy, cheesy, assertive spice and sausage. The Special Pie was an exercise in excess. I particularly loved how thick and smoky their bacon is. Finally, the Ham and Cheese was the most understated and bordering on one-note, but the caraway really gave the pie more than just pork and salt notes. While this latter pie was my least favorite, I could easily see how one would prefer this simpler pie to the excesses of the others.

Starters included a small but tasty bowl of bread soup with cannellini beans, kale, and various goodies and also a bowl of fresh ricotta with olive oil and bread. For my friend's who'd only been exposed to deli-style versions of Italian cheeses, this ricotta, and the buffalo mozzarella on the pies, was a revelation.

All in, $35 or so, with one beer each. One pie was with some shared starters was good for me, but the lady in our group had trouble finishing hers. Naturally, I made up the slack.

These are iPhone pics. Sorry.

Ham and Cheese

gallery_28496_6396_87213.jpg

Boscaiola

gallery_28496_6396_147074.jpg

The pie the server couldn't identify, although it's the only one with mushrooms on the entire menu.

Special Pie

gallery_28496_6396_547490.jpg

Now listed as Market Price, it's still $21. I'm not sure what's so volatile with the market on this pie, but it was tasty. A bit much for some, but I loved it.


Edited by BryanZ (log)

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Reposting my earlier review (in a different thread)

I stopped into the soft opening of Co. two nights ago on a tip-off from a friend. (They were taking lots of walk-ins from the neighborhood, too.)

It opens officially tomorrow (Friday, January 2). It's a new pizza-centric restaurant by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and the infamous no-knead bread recipe. He is making excellent Naples-style pizza and challenging Una Pizza Napoletana (formerly my favorite) with lower prices, more interesting topping combinations, a much more spacious room than UPN, and an actual bar and space inside to wait for your table. The pies are about the same size. One pie is about the right size for a hungry person. They also come pre-sliced into quarters.

The crust is delicious. Not as puffy and light as UPN, but has a nice hole structure and the oven gives the crust a good char on the bottom. The pies are also well-seasoned (I often need to add a bit of salt to UPN's).

I really liked the "Ham and Cheese" pizza ($14): pecorino, gruyere, buffalo mozzarella, proscuitto, and caraway. It reads as very heavy and filling, but it's surprisingly light. The other standout I tried was "Boscaiola," ($17) which was tomato, mushroom, buffalo mozzarella, pork sausage, red onion, and chili. The red onions were just assertive enough to balance out the other ingredients, and the addition of a little bit of chile pepper gave it a satisfying kick on the finish. There are also cheeses, salads, toasts, gelato, etc. on the menu. Cheapest pie there is the cheese-less one, only $7.

If you're after a good margherita pizza, I still think UPN's is better, as I found Co's tomato sauce to be too acidic. However, UPN charges $21 and Co charges $13. And for the unique topping combos and all other non-food amentities, I think Co. wins.

Photos:

http://flickr.com/photos/kathryn/sets/72157611925399980/


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

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I'm not sure it's even on the menu. At least, they don't have a website to my knowledge that updates whatever the "special pie" might be. I assume you heard about it from the JGV blog post. What JGV eats there, as JGV and an investor, might not be what the rest of us get.

With that said, given your eating experiences in Europe, this is probably right up your alley. Truffle sandwich, truffle pizza, are truffle nachos next?

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It was on the menu the day I was there 2 weeks ago . . . so was jean georges.


Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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I'm not sure it's even on the menu.  At least, they don't have a website to my knowledge that updates whatever the "special pie" might be.  I assume you heard about it from the JGV blog post.  What JGV eats there, as JGV and an investor, might not be what the rest of us get.

With that said, given your eating experiences in Europe, this is probably right up your alley.  Truffle sandwich, truffle pizza, are truffle nachos next?

Yes, I did see it on JGV's blog, though I also heard it from another source (though I'm not certain if that person, like mjc, happened to be there on the same day as JGV).


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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It was on the menu the day I was there 2 weeks ago . . . so was jean georges.

Same here. Didn't order it but the couple next to us did. The smell was intoxicating.

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It was on the menu the day I was there 2 weeks ago . . . so was jean georges.

Same here. Didn't order it but the couple next to us did. The smell was intoxicating.

it wasn't there on the menu last week on 1/20. there were no special pies that night.

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It was on the menu the day I was there 2 weeks ago . . . so was jean georges.

How much is it?

I THINK it was in the low $30s.

$21 is what I heard.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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It was on the menu the day I was there 2 weeks ago . . . so was jean georges.

How much is it?

I THINK it was in the low $30s.

$21 is what I heard.

It was $40 the day I was there.


Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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It was on the menu the day I was there 2 weeks ago . . . so was jean georges.

How much is it?

I THINK it was in the low $30s.

$21 is what I heard.

It was $40 the day I was there.

That certainly seems more accurate.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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We visited Co. last night - it was a second visit for me.

We found the pizzas still good, though I now notice that the ham and cheese appears to have more ham on it than the picture at the start of this thread. The flavor of the crust is impeccable, as one might expect, but for some reason I still prefer Motorino's effort. Maybe it is Co.'s sauce, as some people upthread speculate.

I'm not sure how strong Co.'s side dishes are. It's approaching tomato season, and our heirloom caprese was in fact very good. But I was utterly left cold by the "toasts". What is a table supposed to do with one piece of toast with spread? I guess the answer is "order more", but it just seems an odd menu item.

The only other thing I'd note is that Co. might be more convivial if there were a couple of real budget wine by the glass choices. As in, $6. Perhaps that just doesn't work as a matter of economics.

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Co. last night for the first time.

Been having a lot of pizza lately. Like, a LOT of pizza lately. Keste 6 times. Motorino, Trattoria 089, and now Co. once each. This is all in the last 2 1/2 weeks, mind you.

Sat at the bar. Had the margherita. Traded a slice with a neighbor for a slice of her ham and cheese (minus the caraway, as requested).

There's a fine line between heavily charred and burned, and this was right on that line. But to me, there's also a difference between heavily charred bread and heavily charred pizza. To me, this was bread. Quite good bread with quite good toppings, mind you. But a very different style -- not napoletana and not NY-style -- than what I usually prefer. I would have liked a thinner crust, at least in the middle. The crunch was great, though.

Ham and cheese was also good. Much more ham than cheese, but I wasn't complaining about that.

I definitely liked it, and would return. I am, however, more enthusiastic about a return to Motorino, which I think offers a very similar sort of rustic/crunchy/charred pie that I happen to have liked more than Co.

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I went to Co. tonight, finally (I'm slowly trying to reclaim my NY pizza literacy after a half-decade hiatus), and thought it was excellent. While the style doesn't conform to any particular set of rules, the crust is superb in its own way -- a nice compromise between the Neapolitan pillow and the stiff New York coal-oven-type crust.

Toppings-wise, the four pies I tried were all successful. Fennel-and-sausage (crushed tomato, roasted fennel, sausage, red onions, chili, buffalo mozzarella, parmesan) and boscaiola (tomato, mushroom, buffalo mozzarella, pork sausage, onion, chili) were my favorites. They sound like topping-heavy pies but the toppings are applied sparingly enough that they don't overwhelm the pie. The margherita was quite good but not as good as the pies with interesting toppings. The Popeye (a lot of spinach plus pecorino, gruyère, buffalo mozzarella, black pepper) was surprisingly harmonious.

I liked Keste better but in terms of style it's not directly competitive.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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