In case you hadn't heard, pizza is in. If I had a nickel for every time I have read or heard that comment in the past few months, I could probably pay for an entire pie by now. I have always thought of pizza as a New York staple. However, I think many people have spent years worrying that it is unhealthy and then really only indulge in a slice (or two) late at night. Well, as times get tougher, pizza has never looked better. And, who really cares how it makes you look as long as it tastes great and is light on the wallet.
Spunto, one of the latest additions to the pizza craze, has arrived - warming up the west village as a traditional brick-oven joint. With a large bar up front, brick walls, and booths, the atmosphere reflects the ultimate pizza parlor - the kind of place that every neighborhood would welcome. I can already see myself on a random night grabbing a Blue Moon at the bar and watching as the baseball season unfolds. But, I really recommend grabbing that beer before your friends arrive, and then moving to one of the booths to enjoy a selection of several pies and pitchers of beers. Even if you don't go with a large group, it is possible to order individual pies, all made with the very same thin consistency as the regular ones. However, in all honestly, I would still prefer going with several people. It simply ups the odds of sampling a variety of pies.
Pizza, beer, and salad are truly the perfect trio - and Spunto is a dealer of all three. The salads are great for sharing and made with traditional Italian ingredients that are extremely fresh. We started wih the arugula and bocconcini salad - arugula, bocconcini mozzarella, black olives, seasonal tomatoes, and sweet red onions tossed with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. But, I know you are most curious about the real focus of the evening - the pies. I was overly impressed with these thin-crust brick oven pizzas. The most important aspect for me is the crust and this was perfectly crispy and thin - and never burnt. The next element that they nailed is the cheese - not too much, which definitely reduces the amount of grease and highlights the toppings. Of the three that we ordered, two are musts. The Shroomtown - marinara sauce and cheese with portobello, shitake, and button mushrooms topped with white truffle oil - is delicious. These are all the flavors that I love together in one pizza. The Big Pineapple - marinara sauce and cheese topped with fresh pineapple, smoked bacon, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil - is a different option from what I would usually order on a pizza, but I was nicely surprised by it and truly loved it. Again, they do not overload it with toppings. The chefs at Spunto are all about consistency - and they even know how to manage that on pies with 4+ ingredients.
Whether it's to sample several other intriguing pizzas on the menu or to create my very own pie from the inspiring list of toppings, a return trip is already guaranteed. And, whether you want to believe it or not, I truly feel that pizza really does not always have to be an unhealthy option - Spunto being the prime example of this. While it is all about moderation, it is also all about the weight of a slice. Something this thin and crisp will surely keep you in a similar form. As my dad always said when he went on his great no-bread diet back in the '90s, "Stay away from the poof. It's what makes you poofy." Stick to the thin crust and you will be feeling great for the upcoming bikini season in no time.
65 Carmine St.
New York, NY 10014
FOOD RATING (Out of 5):