I am still blown away each time I speak with a New Yorker who has not eaten at Kesté Pizzeria. This tiny eatery in the West Village has the most authentic Neapolitan slice I've ever tasted here in NYC -- and it's damn good.
The 12-inch pies come out approximately 7 minutes after ordering, steaming from a delicate rendezvous with a beautiful volcanic stone oven, perfectly singed at the edges, buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomato sauce still magnificently bubbling with sweet goodness. But the most deletable element of this fine Italian work of art is the crust. Doughy, with luscious stretchiness, the Campania-sourced flour cradles the perfect amount of saltiness, adding an explosion of flavor to each savory bite.
Everything about Kesté screams Italian from the "molto bello" waiters, to the imported ingredients, to Chef Roberto Caporuscio, a former cheese salesman and the current President of APN (Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani), who stands by his 1,000 degree wood-burning oven delicately twirling pies to eating perfection. And the atmosphere is fun -- house music is played at a low-level to fuel the fast-pace of the waiters who happily engage in conversation about their homeland and brag that Kesté's pizza is truly "Lifa Changin".
If you go, try the Regina Margherita and Battilocchio Tartufo -- both will be a good introduction to the incredible food at this place. Once a Kesté junkie, it's best to explore different items on the menu to secure a good fix each time, as I can assure you that your taste buds will be happily intoxicated with the lush flavors of Naples' most coveted meal.
Kesté Pizzeria, 271 Bleecker St between Cornelia and Jones Sts (212-243-1500, kestepizzeria.com)
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