After watching the TV show "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" that took place in Naples, and seeing some mouth watering Neapolitan pizza, we decided to try San Matteo on the Upper East Side. What I did not know, before watching the show and looking on the internet, is that there are certain rules to follow for the pizza to be called Neapolitan. These rules can be found on the website of The True Neapolitan Pizza Association. For instance:
- The dough ball must weigh between 180 and 250 grams.
- ingredients should be flour type "00", sea salt and water with a Ph of 6 to 7 (with a temperature of 20 to 22 degree Celsius). The yeast must be compressed, biologically produced.
- The pizza is created with a single dough ball, with a motion from the center outward, and with the pressure from the fingers from both hands. From the center, the thickness must be about 0.4 cm (+ or - 10%) and the border 1 to 2 cm.
These are just few examples, but there are plenty of rules such as which tomatoes to use. And I do not know why, but knowing this made me look at the pizza differently!
So here we are on the Upper East Side, excited to go to a restaurant that is making such pizza. Walking there, I have to say that we could have missed it, also because we were not expecting such a tiny place!
In the back of the room, was the brick oven, another criterion to have a pizza called Neapolitan!
We started off with the burrata:
The plate was very appetizing and had fantastic colors between the green from the salad and the olives, the red from the tomatoes and the black of the balsamic vinegar, that contrasted perfectly with the white of the burrata. If you do not know what burrata is, it is made of mozzarella (outer shell) with cheese inside. Fresh, it is exquisite!
From the discussion we had with the people from the restaurant, we understood that there were shipping their mozzarella directly from Italy!
This burrata was good, but not the best I ever tried for sure. I found that the mozzarella was a bit tougher than it should be. I, anyway, enjoyed it!
Then, we got a pizza! We decided to go with a traditional one: the Margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil).
I could have definitely eaten that pizza myself. Again, the contrast of colors and the blob of the crust made it extremely appetizing. Just look at the crust on the photo below and tell me you would not want a bite of it!
Yes, that crust was fantastic, as was the pizza! It tasted fresh (they put fresh basil leaves) and they were generous with the mozzarella. It was soft in the center and crispy on the outside. Perfect and yummy!
San Matteo is definitely a little gem on the Upper East Side! The food is good and the service courteous and fast. I definitely want to try other pizzas over there!
Enjoy (I did)!
And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!
If you like this post or the photos, feel free to share it using the toolbar below or to write a comment!