Who doesn’t love great pizza?! I certainly don’t know. So when a failed Neapolitan style pizza joined closed on 116th street in Harlem I was worried that I would have to head back downtown. That is until Harlem Pizza Co opened in its place.
I tried the pizza a couple of times and once at the direction of a friend that said you must try the Lexington for the pancetta, roasted oyster mushrooms and umami black garlic.
This was the pizza that prompted me to include Harlem Pizza Company in my first web series Making It and thank goodness I did cause I would have never met Chef Jonathan Shepard and learned how to make their dough using only low gluten flour and some semolina, cake yeast, salt and good ol’ New York City tap water. BOOM! It produces a crisp crust on the outside and a soft interior.
Aside from the Lexington, I am in love, love, love with the Ooey Gooey just for the use of burrata with all of its deliciousness and the drizzle of truffle oil at the end never hurt anybody either.
Then there is the Hot Bird – one of their best selling pizzas! Chef Shepard took his time cooking in Buffalo, New York and in Naples, Italy and perfectly balanced flavors to give you the taste of wings – chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese dip and all – in one bite. It’s magical.
The white pizza (no tomato sauce used) is formed by hand to the appropriate size and topped with just enough gorgonzola cheese as not to be overwhelming, diced chicken cooked in house and mozzarella. Into the hot wood burning oven for a short cooking time where it’s danced around by the chef’s pizza peel to transform into their signature crust.
The Hot Bird is not complete once it emerges from the oven. It is then garnished with peppery arugula, which adds texture to the pie and a little heat too. For the finishing touch the chef blends Frank’s hotsauce and fiery Calbrian chilis together to create a unctuous rich hot sauce with tons of depth and flavor.
And we are not just talking about pizza here. Harlem Pizza Co is using this great dough to make calzones – try the sausage and the porchetta (made in house their way) – and fresh panino – the Cuban is my fave. Add the arugula salad with Granny Smith apples, almonds, goat cheese and the roasted lemon vinaigrette (I need that vinaigrette recipe!).
In fact just go to town there and order a bottle of wine or a craft beer and chill.
If I whet your appetite for Harlem Pizza Co check out my weekly column, Talking SCHOP!, in the Amsterdam News, Super Bowl 50-Worthy Pizza. You will find a special offer for Super Bowl Sunday ONLY when you mention #AmNewsFOOD when you order and on Twitter.
Thank you Harlem Pizza Co! Look out for your Making It debut…