Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Keste Pizza & Vino - 271 Bleecker St.


sickchangeup
 Share

Recommended Posts

Some people seem to really like the sausage from Faicco's pork store that they use at Keste, some don't.

If that's confirmed (the use of Faicco's), then I don't understand how it can be compared to frozen Jimmy Dean's, as Bruni did.

It certainly appears that the sausage is precooked and broken up into little pieces - otherwise, the short amount of time the pie spends in the oven wouldn't really be enough to cook the sausage - the basil barely gets burned in that period of time.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yea. I really enjoyed Keste when I was there. But I am a fan of this softer style of pizza dough in general. There was, I felt, plenty of good char in spots, but I wouldn't call the crust at Keste "crisp."

The other day I happened to be in Williamburg for a skinny-jeans sight-seeing tour (kidding!) (sort of!) and stopped in for a pizza at Fornino. Fornino operates in the same stylistic space as Keste, which is to say new-Neapolitan style pizza. But Fornino's crust is overall more cooked-through and crisper, but as a result a little more dry. Some people might count this as an improvement over Keste, but Mrs. slkinsey and I both preferred the crust at Keste. It's not a style for everyone, though. Keste pushes the envelope about as far as it can go in the soft and wet direction.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fornino operates in the same stylistic space as Keste, which is to say new-Neapolitan style pizza. 

Can you explain what you mean by "New-Neapolitan", Sam? To me, Keste is pretty darn old-Neapolitan.

Keste pushes the envelope about as far as it can go in the soft and wet direction.

Agreed. For those that like that style (I do), I think Keste is probably the best in the city right now. For those that like a crisper crust, my allegiance is to Motorino.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fornino operates in the same stylistic space as Keste, which is to say new-Neapolitan style pizza.

Can you explain what you mean by "New-Neapolitan", Sam? To me, Keste is pretty darn old-Neapolitan.

There are really only a few places in town that attempt to slavishly duplicate la pizza vera Napoletana. UPN is just about the only place that is doing a good job at it. The other places retain many of the features of the Neapolitan, and even larger Italian Neapolitan-inspired traditions (the usual pizza you get in an Italian pizzeria will be single-serving size and baked in a wood-fired oven, but otherwise will not resemble what you would get in a traditional place in Napoli). But they have features that distinguish them from that tradition. For most of them this means decidedly nontraditional toppings (Pan's example from Keste is a good one), and it also means for many of them that the crust treatment is a bit different. It's usually crisper and chewier than the Neapolitan style. You won't find a crust like Franny's or Co.'s in Napoli. Keste's crust treatment strikes me as fairly traditional, but not so much all of their toppings. It's a fine line with Keste, though, I will admit. I put them as "new-Neapolitan" mostly because they don't seem caught up in dogma and creating a replica product.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the point of the differences between Keste & UPN, I agree almost to the word with KennethT.

I would add that it almost reminds me of why I still go to EMP for lunch on Friday's vs. Jean Georges - EMP is closer for me, far more convenient to book time wise, I can get in and out in a short amount of time, and I spend less money. The food is not better, but at the end, it's far more doable logistically, involves far less commitment and there is definitely value to that during a weekday.

In short, if you are comparing anything other than either those 4 pizzas that UPN makes, or also UPN's coffee vs. Keste, Keste wins in a landslide. Week round availability, lunch availability, credit cards, appetizers, salads, multitude of toppings, far cheaper price points - Keste has it, UPN doesn't. It's that simple, Keste wins. But conversely, and perhaps I believe this a little stronger than KennethT expressed, if you do go for a back to back between UPN and Keste judging strictly on any one of the 4 pizzas that UPN makes, UPN wins in a landslide. I just can't imagine anyone not preferring the UPN dough to the Keste one, but of course... plenty do :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mention salad, yet Keste really doesn't seem to know, or perhaps care, how to make a good salad. The first time I went, the salad was overdressed, so the next time, I asked for them to go light on the dressing. It was still overdressed with oil and had too little vinegar. But what was much worse was that it was tremendously oversalted - and even worse, the salt wasn't mixed uniformly, so that part of the salad was inedibly salty. I don't plan on getting another green salad from them again. Which is a pity, because I find it healthful and pleasant to eat a good or even acceptable salad when having a pizza-based meal.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The salads I've had there have all been excellent. I should hasten to add that, in Italy, when one dresses greens is is typically all about the olive oil and not so much about the vinegar (to the point that there often isn't any vinegar). So if you find the dressing insufficiently vinegary, this is likely why.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The salads I've had there have all been excellent.  I should hasten to add that, in Italy, when one dresses greens is is typically all about the olive oil and not so much about the vinegar (to the point that there often isn't any vinegar). So if you find the dressing insufficiently vinegary, this is likely why.

These guys need to stop being so authentic! It's like some of the people I've taken to Lupa who think the pasta isn't cooked enough.

So, Keste's number 1 in Time Out NY and number 1 in NY Mag and a lot of people think they suck...pretty significant diversity of opinion.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The salads I've had there have all been excellent.  I should hasten to add that, in Italy, when one dresses greens is is typically all about the olive oil and not so much about the vinegar (to the point that there often isn't any vinegar). So if you find the dressing insufficiently vinegary, this is likely why.

No, it isn't. I've spent three summers in Italy, enough time to be quite familiar with the way salads are made there. What seems to have happened, if anything, is that when I asked them to go light on the dressing the second time, they interpreted that as decreasing the amount of vinegar and maintaining the amount of oil. Of course, that doesn't account for the oversalting and overconcentration of salt in a particular part of the salad.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The salads I've had there have all been excellent.  I should hasten to add that, in Italy, when one dresses greens is is typically all about the olive oil and not so much about the vinegar (to the point that there often isn't any vinegar). So if you find the dressing insufficiently vinegary, this is likely why.

These guys need to stop being so authentic! It's like some of the people I've taken to Lupa who think the pasta isn't cooked enough.[...]

Again, in my case, no it isn't.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made my first visit to Keste tonight and can't say enough good things about it.

If your ideal of pizza is 1- a puffy, soft, salty crust and 2- very high quality and creative toppings, then this is right up there. Even as someone who normally favors the New World style of crisper, denser crust, I thought Keste was fantastic.

We started with the prosciutto and arugula. I went into Keste with no expectations: some reliable seeming people love it and some dislike it. One bite and I was in the "love it" category, so much so that I was spinning a lot of theories on why anyone wouldn't love it. Options include: 1- they don't like the Neapolitan style, 2- the kitchen is radically inconsistent and I hit it on a good night while they hit it on a bad one, 3- they're crazy, and 4- there's a widespread and sinister plot against Keste, led by Frank Bruni.

gallery_1_295_12874.jpg

We also had the salame pizza (rear) and the salsiccia e friarielli (rapini, smoked mozzarella, Italian sausage). On the latter I really did a double take, because the quality of the sausage was extremely high. So either they were using a different sausage when Frank Bruni ate there, or see options 3 and 4 above.

gallery_1_295_79342.jpg

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)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I guess I have to agree with NY Mag et al. now:

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/200...en-as-motorino/

Keste back to #1 :-)

Yep... I actually got unbelievably lucky... my wife and I had talked about going back to UPN one last time before the rumored close - we were debating going this weekend or next... turned out we had some time on Sunday and decided to head down there around 7:30... turned out, we were the last people on line when thye came out and said that after us, they were to run out of dough!!! What crazy insane luck is that! I had to have that filetti one more time - and it was good to be able to finally convince my wife, who prior to this said the margherita was her favorite... now it's a tie... I hope Motorino can get that same dough -I loved his dough!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I was spinning a lot of theories on why anyone wouldn't love it. Options include: 1- they don't like the Neapolitan style, 2- the kitchen is radically inconsistent and I hit it on a good night while they hit it on a bad one, 3- they're crazy, and 4- there's a widespread and sinister plot against Keste, led by Frank Bruni.

I am not on Frank Bruni's payroll, so I vote for option #2. Or who knows, maybe my friends and I are #3. As I posted in another thread, three of us went in June, and none of us was impressed.

Exhibit A: Lardo Pizza

gallery_23992_6660_139634.jpg

Does that even look good to anybody? Particularly the slice on the right? Actually none of the slices were very good, the lardo was reduced to werid crunchy nuggets under what tasted mostly like burnt romano. We only ate about half of it.

Exhibit B: Margherita

gallery_23992_6660_10064.jpg

That at least looks pretty good, and did in fact taste a lot better than the lardo, but as may be apparent in the photo, it's really wet in the center. I know, that point has been debated extensively here, and I'm willing to grant that the wetness is part of the style, but the crust at the center of this pie seemed not only soggy, but tasted like wet raw dough. All the pizzas I've had at UPN have been pretty soggy in the center, but never tasted raw.

Exhibit C: Marinara

gallery_23992_6660_43856.jpg

OK, the main problem with this was that it was mostly kind of blah, but this was the only option for the cheese-averse member of our crew, given that the waiter refused to put in an order for any of the other pies without cheese. I can understand the no-substitution rule, but simply leaving something off, especially from one of the non-mozzarella-based pies, seems simple enough, especially given that we were the only ones in the place at the time.

But ultimately, among the three of us, we just didn't love the flavor of the crust, and that's a big deal. Roberto Caporuscio was not manning the oven at the time, although he was in the restaurant. Maybe it makes a difference whether he's holding the peel...

The opinions expressed in this thread have been so different from ours that I have to wonder if something went wrong when we were there, so I'm certainly interested in trying Keste again. I'm not sure if I can get those friends to come with me though...

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I was spinning a lot of theories on why anyone wouldn't love it. Options include: 1- they don't like the Neapolitan style, 2- the kitchen is radically inconsistent and I hit it on a good night while they hit it on a bad one, 3- they're crazy, and 4- there's a widespread and sinister plot against Keste, led by Frank Bruni.

I am not on Frank Bruni's payroll, so I vote for option #2. Or who knows, maybe my friends and I are #3. As I posted in another thread, three of us went in June, and none of us was impressed.

I would add one more option:

5) You ordered badly. Seriously, those are the worst pies there IMO. You have to go toppings heavy, rich stuff. I agree with you that those three pizzas alone make the place seem pretty bleh.

Edited by sickchangeup (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can accept that, and indeed some of the more exotically-topped versions were quite enticing.

But we explicitly wanted a Margherita as a control, as a comparison to other places, and shouldn't a place like this make a banging basic pizza?

Two of our party had only a few days earlier eaten a lardo pizza at Osteria in Philly, on a newly-introduced Neopolitan-style crust, that they reported to be transcendent, so they couldn't resist trying for that again. I already explained the reasons for the Marinara (and FWIW, that same dining companion really enjoyed a similar pizza at UPN.)

But I can certainly see how interesting toppings would change the equation, and I'm likely to explore that next time.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roberto Caporuscio was not manning the oven at the time, although he was in the restaurant.  Maybe it makes a difference whether he's holding the peel... 

As I was reading this post and looking at the pictures, I kept thinking "Those aren't Roberto's pizza's..." And now I have my answer. Not saying it's a good thing that you aren't getting the same quality when he's not at the oven--but that's the only explanation I could imagine. I think his crust is exquisite, no matter what toppings are involved!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say, philadining... those pizza pictures you posted look amazing to me.  All of them.

I was going to say, they look great to me by the standards of the style. As well as just plain great.

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)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can accept that, and indeed some of the more exotically-topped versions were quite enticing. 

But we explicitly wanted a Margherita as a control, as a comparison to other places, and  shouldn't a place like this make a banging basic pizza?[...]

Yes. There's no excuse for a Neapolitan-style pizzeria (or most any kind, really) to not ace the Margherita.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say, philadining... those pizza pictures you posted look amazing to me.  All of them.

I was going to say, they look great to me by the standards of the style. As well as just plain great.

Those pix don't look a heckuva lot different than Fat Guy's, to my untrained eye.

I really enjoyed the lardo pizza the one time I had it. As well as the marinara (no cheese).

I never find the crust here kind of blah. Nor the toppings.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think his crust is exquisite, no matter what toppings are involved!

I'm legitimately curious, is there anyone who believes this that went back to back with a UPN pie?

This seems like a moot point. Anthony Mangieri sold UPN and is moving to San Francisco.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...