Kiki & Lala

Keste, One Bite at a Time

Posted on: April 8, 2010

It was a beautiful Saturday in the city (relative to the horrific weather we’ve been having lately), so my dearest Twin-ham and I decided to take ourselves downtown for some sunshine and good food. But as always, we were faced with the question: What should we eat on this fine day? A little meditation and a little more web surfing gave us our answer: PIZZA!

I’ve always been a huge fan of pizza, and I’m not one to discriminate. Whether it’s thick crust, thin crust, deep dish, square, round, topped with every meat known to man, or simply done with tomatoes and mozzarella, I will devour whatever you put in front of me. There is something so comforting about melted cheese on warm pizza dough that it’s hard to imagine a more perfect food. I am instantly transported to the times I ate reheated pizza slices during my summer trips to New Jersey, when I thought that I was eating some akin to manna from Heaven. Little did I know that the word ‘pizza’ could encompass so much more than semi-cold mushrooms and congealed cheese (which I STILL love, by the way).

A Neapolitan pizza revolution has been quietly taking place in New York, with the growing popularity of places like Motorino, Keste, and the now-closed Una Pizza Napoletana. I try not to get sucked into food wars, but I had to admit that this particular rivalry was a lot more interesting than the others going on in the New York food scene. Maybe today would be the first stage in this battle?

Despite the lovely weather, we didn’t have to wait too long for a lunchtime table at Keste. We were seated towards the back, close to the dome-shaped brick oven. The familiar smell of yeast, cheese, and fresh herbs filled my nose, and my saliva glands kicked into overdrive. Our server–a very charming fellow with a swoon-inducing Italian accent–took our order: one Pizza del Re, and one Rustica salad.

I was ready to gnaw my arm off in hunger, but fortunately, our server quickly returned with our Rustica. The salad was a perfect start to the meal: the dressing was acidic enough to wake up the taste buds without being overwhelming, and the artichokes had a creamy quality that made for a good bite of food when paired with the mesclun. And of course, the prosciutto was like icing on the cake. (And yes, I would eat actual cake wrapped in prosciutto. Don’t judge!)

But all thought of salad flew out of the window when the pizza arrived… The menu described the Pizza Del Re as “fresh mozzarella, mushroom, prosciutto di parma, truffle spread, extra virgin olive oil.” My first sniff confirmed the presence of truffle; my second sniff confirmed that sharing this pizza with Twin-ham would be highly unlikely.

While I stuffed my face with deliciousness, a couple of things occurred to me: (1) I should have considered ordering a pizza with some kind of vegetable (tomatoes, arugula, anything), because all this truffle spread was getting a little heavy, (2) the Neapolitan pizza crust was a little more dough-y than I expected, but in a pleasant way, (3) the combination of said crust and truffle spread was making me feel a little sluggish, and (4) perhaps sharing wasn’t such a bad idea.

I threw up the white flag after my second slice, and Twin-ham took over from there. All in all, it was a fantastic meal and I’m already looking forward to my second visit. But in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, I’ll have to drop by Motorino soon to see who truly reigns in the Neapolitan kingdom.

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4 Responses to "Keste, One Bite at a Time"

My mouth waters as I read this. That Pizza Del Re looks amazing! I wanna go with you to Motorino! I’ll eat and you’ll write the review. Haha! Let me know : )

Game! I heard that the Motorino in Brooklyn is even better… Time for a field trip, methinks!

Just say when : )

they actually have a Motorino in the East Village (super tiny though)..i went through a bad ” craving for the best neapolitan pizza phase” recently 🙂

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