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The Early Word on Bleecker Street Newcomer Pizza Roma

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259 Bleecker Street has been lying dormant since Zito's Bakery closed its doors in 2004. Of all things, pizza joint Pizza Roma opened in its place, joining a crowded pizza scene dominated by John's and Kesté just a little further down the block. Their thing here is to let their dough rise for 96 hours, thus making their pizza "lighter, healthier, and very digestible." However they do it, all that matters in the end is how it tastes - to the early word:

The Okay News: Fork in the Road files a review that puts this place squarely in the middle of the road. "We opted for the special margherita, made with buffalo mozzarella. It came a little overly sauced for our liking, but the ingredients were fresh and it had a nutty, almost whole-grain-tasting crust. The rectangular-shaped pizza is far different than the floppy Neapolitan pies pervading the city, lacking that carbonized, puffy chew we've come to love. We tucked into a square covered with thinly sliced potato, a layer of mozzarella, and a sprinkling of rosemary. We wished it could have been a little hotter as the cheese had a slight gumminess, but the flavor profile was spot-on. Finally, we ordered a slice topped with zucchini flowers -- not quite the season for them, but it's hard to resist those bright orange blossoms. This was probably the least successful of the three, since it was rather dry. All in all, Pizza Roma didn't convert us from worshipping at the John's/Keste altar, but the ambiance in the simply decorated back seating area was pleasant and filled with many solo diners reading and nibbling." [FitR]

The "Satisfying Crust" News: The Daily Meal stops in and offers this write-up of their meal. "In the Roman style (though the owners' original shop is in Barcelona), the pizza is square, displayed under glass and sold by length after being snipped with a scissors. The dough is allowed to rise for 96 hours resulting in an airy multi-layered crust that is incredibly light, greaseless and satisfying. Toppings range from classic tomato with cheese, tomato sans cheese, potato sans tomato, artichoke, and even truffles. The local, fascist Department of Health has supposedly forbidden meat covered pizzas to sit on the counter, so sausage needs to be ordered by the pie. As if anticipating my disappointment, soppressata is offered for reheated slices... While we certainly don't need another Subway sandwich shop, another pizzeria/bakery on Bleecker would have made both Gennaro Lombardi and Anthony Zito feel right at home." [The Daily Meal]

The Great News: Pizza blog Slice files an enthusiastic review. "On the classic Margherita whole pie I ordered ($13.50), the mozzarella was amazingly creamy - to the point that I thought there was more on the pizza than was billed. The sauce is thick and flavorful, though the amount of cheese on the Margherita masked it a bit. Of the slices I tried, my favorite was the porcini mushroom slice. The meatiness of the savory mushrooms added to the creaminess of that cheese - well, that was a satisfying slice on a cold, snowy day. Desserts at Pizza Roma include a tiramisu, crostata, and the now de rigueur Nutella-outfitted "dessert pizza," which was my favorite of the three. Here, the Nutella is stuffed inside a slice of Roma's pizza bianca that's then dusted with powdered sugar. Of the Roman pizza I've had in NYC (and there are surprisingly many), Pizza Roma holds its own. It's a welcome addition to this neighborhood, which has become something of a pizza hot zone." [Slice]

The "Almost Undercooked" News: Yelper Sasha M. isn't impressed. "Their dough is different, as advertised, but despite having no problem with that in principle, or particular "allegiance" to more ubiquitous in US/NYC pizza styles, I didn't like it. It's chewy and feels almost undercooked. A slice with several toppings cost $5. Overall, nothing to make me want to drop by again." [Yelp]

The "Very Tasty" News: Yelper Jason F., on the other hand, is most certainly impressed. "We walked into the restaurant, passed the slice counter, and asked a waiter for a table-for-two. Although it was a Saturday night around 8:30, there was no wait. The waiter handed us menus, but because they lacked much explanation of the pizzas and other dishes, we were obliged to ask our waiter to interpet it for us, which he was both prepared and happy to do. We ordered a medium-sized Margherita topped with Porcini mushrooms and the Insalata Ricca, a light and refreshing salad made with Romaine lettuce, artichokes, and Mozzarella cheese. I also ordered a few glasses of very reasonably-priced Sangiovese. The portion sizes were perfect, and the two dishes were more than enough to satisfy our appetites. And, most importantly, everything was very tasty -- all for under $45. I'd definitely recommend Pizza Roma to pizza-lovers, and hope this place and its Roman-style slices and pies are able to make their own mark on the Bleecker Street pizza scene." [Yelp]

The "War is On!" News: @WeekofWonders tweets about the crowded Bleecker St. pizza scene. "Greenwich Village Bleecker St. pizza wars are on! Pizza Roma (with light, delicious pies) now on Zito's site, steps from John's and Kesté." [Twitter]
—Gary Wong

Pizza Roma

259 Bleecker St., New York, NY