Pizza in NYC can be had in almost any fashion – traditional thin crust, locavore influenced with spring vegetables, even vegan and gluten free. But never had I EVER tried deep-fried pizza until last week.
Fried meets cheese? This is a love story of epic proportions.
La Montanara, opened by the people who run the popular Forcella, is a tiny restaurant that only serves a few items, all of which are fried. Fried pizza, fried risotto balls, and fried desserts are all on the menu. Order at the counter, then wait at your table until your number is called.
Be aware that this is not fast food – it is made to order and comes out as it is ready. Grab a few friends and wait the 15 minutes until your number is called. The results are worth it.
The first bite of this is so bizarre it made me laugh out loud. The first taste is of pizza – the trio of homemade mozzarella, bright tomato sauce and zesty pepperoni. However, that taste quickly takes a background to the taste of the dough – crisp outside and pliant inside, with a faintly sweet taste. For all the world, it tastes like a freshly fried yeast doughnut! But, somehow…it works. Like maple covered bacon or cheese and apple pie, the taste melds sweet and salty, dessert and entree. The toppings are all first rate, and though the sauce is a bit sweet, it works well with the dough’s pillowy texture and slightly sugary taste.
This pie, topped with delicate ham and fragrant truffle oil, is a more earthy, woodsy pizza. Served with that same creamy mozzarella, it showcases the dough in another, equally unique way.
La Montanara is very inexpensive and very unusual. Don’t go there for a date, but for a quick bite with a friend or alone, this place can’t be beat. The pizzas are small enough to be a snack but hearty enough to be a light meal. And it’s fried, people.
Like I said…an epic love story.