Co(pane) Was Worth the Wait

From the lost archives – my review of Co(pane):

I am not the kind of person who runs to a restaurant the day that it opens. I can’t stand lines or being on call-waiting for 30 minutes just to get a reservation. I figure, if the restaurant is great, it will only get better with time and practice. And if it isn’t, then all the better that I don’t waste my time and money while everyone else is doing just that!

So now you know where I stand…but that still does not excuse me.

 Co.(pane) opened in 2009, and I JUST made it here. Jim Lahey, bread guru behind no-knead bread (which, yes, I still have yet to make) and Sullivan Street Bakery (Home to truly delicious pizza bianca and other treats), opened this casual pizzeria as his first foray into New York’s competitive pizza world. Some people loved it, some were less than charmed. So how did it measure up?

 Co is a casual, breezy restaurant with lots of sunlight and a long communal table in the center of the room.

There is also a film projection of a fireplace. Consider me obsessed. Yes, there is a pizza oven behind that somewhere, but really…fake fire is just about the most fascinating thing ever.

 Veal meatballs with homemade sauce, Parmesan and basil, served with bread and butter.

I tried these mostly because Serious Eats had named them some of the 15 best meatballs in NYC. They are indeed delicious, but not what I would call the BEST. All of the flavors were spot on – mild, juicy veal, salty Pecorino and nutty Parmesan cheeses, fresh, acidic tomatoes and sweet basil. It was a textural thing for me. The balls were just too dense for me.

The bread served with it is totally exemplary. Sour, crusty, bouncy, with a loose crumb and some soft, sweet butter on the side.

Escarole salad with bread crumbs, capers, lemon, olive oil and anchovies

A truly awesome Caesar-type salad. Though it lacks the garlicky punch of Caesar, the salty, acidic, pungent dressing is like a breath of salty sea air and is totally amazing. No cheese is needed, with the brine and salt of the anchovies and capers giving the necessary salinity. The breadcrumbs were really freshly toasted croutons; thick, crunchy without and tender within. The escarole has the mild, verdant taste of romaine but the velvety mouth feel and stiff texture of endive.

Bird’s Nest Pie with Oma and Tallegio Cheeses, Asparagus, Quail Eggs and Truffles.

I was originally going to order the Margherita pizza, to see how they do a plain old ‘za, but…hello…truffles.

What kind of heathen doesn’t order truffles when the opportunity arises?

The aroma of truffles was apparent the second the pie hit the table, along with the deep scent of the Tallegio cheese.

Upskirt shot: charred in spots, but not burnt. Pliant but not flimsy. Exemplary crust.

And the pie itself is…fantastic. 

Fresh, light asparagus is shaved thin and piled on raw. Some pieces are snappy and fresh and some are charred to a crispy, almost sugary, carcinogen filled delight. The Tallegio cheese is melty and funky and the Oma cheese is buttery and rich. The eggs are delightfully runny and when broken  they create a rich sauce.

And the truffle. The bewitching, intoxicating, deep but heady truffle. Four thick and hearty shavings of it.

I love truffles.

The dough itself is excellent – not cracker thin, but still managing to be light and pliant and crispy at the same time.

I love this place. Great service, reasonable price point and some really amazing food. The Caesar salad was out of this world, and the birds nest pizza is something I could eat every day of my life.

Co was definitely worth the wait.

Co. (Company) on Urbanspoon