Prova, an ambitious new Neapolitan pizzeria from Sushi Nakazawa partner Maurizio de Rosa and restaurateur/TV personality Donatella Arpaia, opens on January 7 in Chelsea. It's the third in a string of pizzerias to occupy the space at 184 Eighth Avenue, starting with Donatella (which closed earlier this year), and more recently Heartwood (which shuttered in November). Will the third time be a charm? The project, which was announced earlier this month, came to be for a singular reason: the oven that was custom built by the famed Italian craftsman Stefano Ferrara. While there are other ovens from the famed builder in the city, they are prefabricated, whereas this one was built from scratch, brick by brick, to a more exacting standard. According to the owners, that, combined with long-fermented dough and ultra luxe ingredients, will take Prova's pizza's to the next level of pizza.
"I couldn't let that oven go to waste," de Rosa, who is the driving force behind the project, tells Eater. "If it was in the North Pole I would have opened a restaurant there," he explains, adding, "When you get a chance to play with a Stradivarius, you take it!" Another partner, Rosario Procino of Ribalta Pizza, has a more modern analogy: "It is like a Ferrari" he says.
Alongside Sushi Nakazawa, de Rosa also owns Partenope, the only VPN certified pizzeria in Argentina. But he has considerable experience in restaurants dating back several decades in NYC. He owned the popular trattoria De Rosa, which garnered two stars in the NY Times and was a partner in the original incarnations of Anthos and Kefi. And while Prova and Sushi Nakazawa are owned and operated separately, de Rosa's association does have one tangible benefit: He will use the connection to source the best seafood available.
Yet another partner is Pasquale Cozzolino, also from Ribalta, who will be the chef and pizzaiolo at Prova. The menu will feature seven traditional pizzas and seven pizza "nuova," new creations that take pizza to a new level. "We are going to use Michelin quality ingredients" says de Rosa "but apply them to pizza." At a recent friends and family meal, this included copious amount of black and white truffles, quail eggs, and Santa Barbara uni paired with drizzles of squid ink. There will also be a section of charcuterie and cheeses, again in multiples of seven, because de Rosa says the number is considered lucky in the culture of pizza making. Prices range from $12 for a marinara to $26 for the aforementioned uni pizza. The full menu is below. As with the ingredients, the wines will showcase Naples. The list will initially have 70 bottles in the $25 to $100 price point, all from Campagna, along with 40 Italian beers.
A counter constructed of pizza peels was designed with the Instagram generation in mind.
"Even if we don't make any money it will be a fun project" declares de Rosa. Prova is currently in the friends and family stage and will open to the public on January 7.
Prova Pizza 184 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Here is the menu: