Fried pizza, really? Before Iowa-state-fair visions of fried twinkies, oreos and deep-fried butter swim through your head, know that only the dough is fried (not the entire pie), and is then topped with sauce, cheese, etc. before being finished off in the oven. The dough is fried in sunflower oil, which supposedly makes for a lighter-than-expected crust.
How did it taste? We were a bit skeptical, but one bite later we were full converts, preaching right along with that choir. The dough was surprisingly light, with a crisp, slightly crunchy exterior that gave way to soft, puffy buttery goodness, which as crust fans, we appreciated. Tangy tomato sauce and globs of fresh salty cheese were perfect toppers and though the signature montanara (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil) was good enough for us, we also salivated over the tartufo topped with mozzarella, ham, mushrooms and the pièce de résistance, truffle oil, which we admit to loving so much we nearly bought a bottle of the stuff at TJ Maxx.
We also sampled the porchetta, a ‘pizza sandwich’ filled with smoked mozzarella and porchetta, natch, which was pure salty, fatty deliciousness. The apps looked tasty as they whisked past us, but we’ll have to go back to try them for ourselves.
The space: Long, very narrow and dimly lit, La Montanara has an exposed-brick rustic-chic look that’s become quite ubiquitous in NYC, though photo collages of Italian architecture and foodstuffs lent a more authentic feel and bit of old-world appeal. Diners can sit on brown banquettes or high-top tables, and those ordering at the front will get a full view of the tiny open kitchen and red pizza oven.
The Deal: We may have lived in Manhattan too long, but we found the prices insanely reasonable - small bites for $2–$4, 4 out of the 5 pizzas for less than $9. Right now it’s alcohol-free, but beer and wine may be added in the future. Its late night hours (until 2AM Sunday–Wednesday, until 4 AM Thursday–Saturday) evidence the target audience: late-night (read: blitzed) eaters on their way home.
So, would you give fried pizza a try? Let us know in the comments.
The Deets: 168 Ludlow Street; 646-657-0730.