One of the newest contenders on New York's crowded Neopolitan pizza market is Olio Pizza e Piu, a two week old restaurant in the old Go Sushi space on Greenwich Ave. It's a big space, with a big oven taking over the centerpiece in an ideal location to attract the pizza-hungry hordes. Early reviewers hint that there's a way to go before this newcomer can compete with the likes of Keste and Motorino but that there is some serious potential here. A look at the early word:
The So-So News: Adam Kuban notes that the pies are improving over time but a lot still miss the mark: Like many a Neapolitan pizza, the center of the pie is what pizza nerds call "wet"...That said, the first Margherita pizza I had at Olio was unforgivably sloppy, a product, perhaps of too much water in the cheese...In subsequent visits, the pies were still wet but not excessively so...The other pizza I enjoyed at Olio was the Diavolo — a Margherita with spicy salami on it. It's the closest you'll get on a Neapolitan pizza to the American classic pepperoni...On two occasions, we ordered more elaborately topped pizzas and were not impressed." [SE]
The Not So Great News: Sarah DiGregorio at the Voice dislikes the starters and is hit or miss with the pies: "The Zia Anna's salad, a mix of asparagus, smoked salmon, robiola (fresh cheese), and spinach is something of a disaster...Involtini of eggplant and mozzarella would be tasty -- melted cheese, eggplant, tomato sauce, what's not to like? -- but the eggplant has an unpleasantly sharp, bitter edge...Things improve considerably when you get to the pizzas. The Margherita Extra ($15)...is delicious...But the mozzarella seizes up, oddly rubbery and dry, without that milky, almost marshmallowy softness that you'd find at Keste..." [FitR]
The Has Potential News: Crave it All thinks improvements could be made: "The Margherita was the best which normally is your indicator that the rest will be good as well. The Amalfitana seemed promising and interesting with "lemon slices." It seemed the acidity would be a potentially amazing contrast with the mozzarella and Parmesan. Unfortunately, the lemon slices were much too thick to work. Because they are so newly opened, I'm going to give some allowance on this one."
The Good News: An eGulleter files an early review: "...the pizza on the plate is another legit contender. Char is not an over the top flavor element here (unlike, say... Co.), but is certainly present. Looking at the pizzaiolo grab the dough, it looked wetter than what I've seen at Keste. The net effect is that the pizza came out a little bit like a cracker for the first couple of milimeters (the part that touches the oven), then becomes puffy above that (a very slight good fresh tandorri naan like element I suppose). The sauce seemed a bit tangy, the Marinara strongly flavored with oregano. Substituting the buffalo mozz on the Margherita Extra made for the traditional soupy pizza center, which I really like." [eG]
The Pretty Good News: Most of the Yelpers, including this one, dig the place: "The dining room is gorgeous without being pretentious...service is excellent...What I did get was a white pizza with arugula and lemon slices. I'd never eaten lemon slices (with skin) before, so it was a new flavor experience for me. It was certainly nice, with a fresh, crisp zing, but I generally like my pizzas with tomato sauce, so I probably wouldn't order it again. I tried my friend's margherita extra, and it was very nice, too. The crust will be familiar to patrons of Keste and similar brick oven, Neapolitan style pizza restaurants--not too thick but bubbly, chewy, and just slightly charred."
The "Twitterific" News: Gael Greene expresses her disdain over waiting 45 minutes for a pie, while Dinevore's Jeremy Fisher taunts The Insatiable One with a message that his own pizza took mere minutes.
[photo: Serious Eats]