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Keste Pizza & Vino - 271 Bleecker St.


sickchangeup
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Great writing, tupac! Did it occur to you that after posting such mouth-watering descriptions, we won't be able to get into the restaurant anymore? :biggrin:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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@Sam: Thanks. To me, the mast'nicola really showcases the crust. I'd be perfectly pleased to get one of Roberto's crusts just slicked with a nice olive oil (while I'm keeping this dream alive, let's say Ligurian olive oil) and sprinkled with sea salt. The pork fat and pecorino on the mast'nicola have the same effect.

@Sick: I haven't, though I was coveting a neighbor's 4 cheese pizza yesterday. (I had a relatively new pizza on the menu, the Padrino -- tomatoes, caciocavallo ragusano, soppressata, gaeta olives, basil, extra virgin olive oil.) Will have to give it a try soon.

@Pan: Thank you, and I'm sorry! :raz: Speaking of not being able to get in anymore, I went yesterday about 230pm, today around 1230pm. Completely full both times. When my friend and I were first starting to frequent the place back in June, we spent many afternoons in relative privacy. With all the recent positive press (and maybe even the not-so-positive mention from Bruni), the place has certainly made it's way onto many more people's radars.

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@Sam: Thanks.  To me, the mast'nicola really showcases the crust.  I'd be perfectly pleased to get one of Roberto's crusts just slicked with a nice olive oil (while I'm keeping this dream alive, let's say Ligurian olive oil) and sprinkled with sea salt. 

I'm sure if you asked him, he'd be perfectly happy to do it.

And Sam, for some reason I thought we might have tried the mast'nicola, but when I looked back, I realized I'd tried that one on my first visit and really enjoyed it.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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@Sam: Thanks.  To me, the mast'nicola really showcases the crust.  I'd be perfectly pleased to get one of Roberto's crusts just slicked with a nice olive oil (while I'm keeping this dream alive, let's say Ligurian olive oil) and sprinkled with sea salt. 

I'm sure if you asked him, he'd be perfectly happy to do it.

I don't know. He gets a certain look on his face when people (and by people I mean my friend) ask him to change the toppings. And it's not a pleasant expression. :laugh:

Then again, my friend has asked for the same thing every time -- a calzone with only ricotta and olive oil (so he could compare more directly the calzone at Kesté with the calzone at Di Fara). Every time, they deny his request in a different way. It's quite amusing to watch, actually.

Actually, now that I think about it, I'd like to try the mast'nicola with the lardo put on after the pizza comes out of the oven. Then it would bring back happy memories of gnocco fritto con lardo like I had in Emilia-Romagna. :wub:

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Thoughts on the pizza del papa?  Did you find any of the extra toppings distracting?

Not a fan.

In fact, the pizza del papa was (by a good margin) my least favorite pizza that I've tried at Kesté. Something about the combination of butternut squash cream, artichokes, smoked mozzarella and roasted peppers tasted oddly like sweet mustard to me. Kinda disturbing.

The extra toppings were very distracting. I really like butternut squash, and it's a shame I didn't really taste it much here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So we decided to give Keste another try, after our first quite disappointing meal there. It was excellent this time; it may as well have been a different restaurant. We were a bit worried when we saw Roberto milling about the restaurant talking to guests without a drop of pizza ingredients on his clothing. But as we were waiting for our table outside the tall host guy was nice enough to bring out two pies for the sizable crowd of people waiting for tables to sample, one with some cheese and a drizzle of balsamic (which I'm pretty sure isn't on the menu) and the other the dreaded Mast'Nicola. Well, the Mast'Nicola was quite good this time! Much, much more restrained with the pecorino, more lardo, tastier, better cooked crust. This was a bit shocking, and got us pretty excited.

We actually had dinner plans somewhere else so we just got a Regina Margherita. It was flawless. Gone was the overly soggy crust. The tomato sauce wasn't as overwhelmingly sweet, and was much brighter and fresher tasting (with the cherry tomatoes providing additional brightness and freshness). And the crust was quite tasty this time, perfectly salted. It was superb.

When the food is this simple, what might otherwise seem like small errors can be the difference between mediocrity and excellence. I'm willing to concede that our first experience there was a one-off fluke. But then again a friend was at Keste last week and reported problems similar to those we had our first time. So I just don't know. In any case, if Keste can reliably produce pizzas of the quality that we had this time, then it certainly deserves to be up there as some of the best pizza in nyc.

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  • 5 months later...

Finally went last night (40 minute wait for two at prime time). The dough is a bit dense and too heavy, IMO. I like Motorino or Franny's much more. Burrata pie (the special, fresh burrata from Italy) with cherry tomatoes was nice, though. Topping quality was very good. But we literally ate an appetizer and 2 slices of each, ended up taking the rest of the pies home.

But overall, the dough was just way too dense. It kind of felt a little doughy and undercooked. Visually looked too solid when I took a bit of crust off the edge. And the height of the pizza itself was a little low, IMO. I wanted something more airy, and with more fire/wood taste. It needed some salt as well.

It wasn't terrible but it seemed a bit over-hyped to me and with all of the other pizzerias in town, I won't be rushing back.

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