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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peachy Picks Keste Pizza Our Coverage Sponsored By Stribling and Associates

The heavenly homemade burrata decadently enhanced by truffles exclusively at Keste

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The pizza gods have smiled upon Whom You Know once again, and namely it's Roberto Caporuscio, above, owner of the previously highly recommended Don Antonio by Starita, (the newer spot of the two), and since we loved Don Antonio by Starita so much, we just had to see about Keste Pizza, which is his original New York creation at 271 Bleecker Street.  We can now officially verify that every bite at Keste was as outstanding as at Don Antonio by Starita.  Saying Roberto Caporuscio does pizza is like saying Cartier, Harry Winston and Tiffany's do diamonds -and pizza is a Peachy's best friend.  After eating so many different kinds of pizza at both venues, we are supremely confident that there isn't a finer pizza in the land, and that would probably go for Napoli too.  We have no reason to go there now since we know Roberto Caporuscio, who grew up on a dairy farm in Pontinia! Peachy was dreaming about the pizza for days prior to the review-the fresh, fluffy crust, the authentic minimal sauces, the to-die-for ingredients, the fresh vegetables, and everything that you'd want a pizza to be.  Of course it is served piping hot. You can't just order one when you go because it is addictive and they are too talented to limit yourself to one selection.
Roberto, Executive Chef and Owner at Keste Pizza, says his customers are his inspiration on the menu...not only is he the last word in pizza talent but also he is a class act-a terrifically nice person that cares about getting the art of making pizza perfect every time.  Keste Pizza was first featured in Tasty Tidbits:
and it has advanced to Peachy's Picks without hesitation.  It has been around since March 2009 and we are tickled pink that finally we got there!
The only way this pizza could be improved would be if it was available on the Upper East side as well, but perhaps someday....
Keste Pizza is not only serious about their pizza but also adamant about offering the best wines to their customers.  There is nothing ordinary about this pizza place except the small spot and minimal decor that does not do justice to the miraculous cuisine that comes from their finest ovens of Italian descent.  We happily indulged in a ripe, deep, delightfully bouqueted Barbara Rapet - Piedmonte 2008- which was an ideal pizza companion.  Peachy thinks strong red wine from Italy cannot be beat.
The stats!
If you are visiting Manhattan do not pass go and collect $200 without a visit to at least one of these venues (and we suggest going to both, though perhaps not back to back as it is filling)-Roberto's pizza should be added to a list of Landmarks in New York to visit and eat and surely if the Statue of Liberty (which reopens this coming Sunday) could eat pizza, this is where we think she'd go too.
Since Keste is committed to excellence, pizza is not the only item on the menu that will blow you away.  We loved, and loved is not strong enough of a word, the burrata at Don Antonio by Starita and knew we had to make friends with it at Keste as well.  Just look at it:
This is the Ferrari of Burrata-it will make your tastebuds go from zero to 60 in 3 seconds.  If Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell were making Scent of a Woman today, this is where they'd be driving that Ferrari to during a test drive...and what makes this exact version even more special than the regular Burrata is that (drumroll please, as this is new!) THIS BURRATA HAS TRUFFLES IN IT!  It is orgasmic and when you taste it, you will understand.  It is the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan's dock in Manhattan cuisine...(get excited for the release of The Great Gatsby by Warner Brothers!)
The burrata is served with prosciutto de parma-also glorious and deliciously the right thinness.
The bread is also perfect.
If you are going to go to Keste Pizza, then you should eat Keste Pizza, which is part of the Pizza Rosse selection.  Above is the namesake pizza of the restaurant: tomato sauce, imported buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, arugula, gran cru, and extra virgin olive oil.  You will feel like you are in Italy and that's not far from the truth since Roberto after all is in short the USA President of the trade association for pizza in Napoli:
Keste Pizza General Manager Alessandro Malpassi is a total peach and makes sure every last detail of what happens at Keste is perfect.  He will make you feel superbly welcome at this temple of pizza galore.  He likes the Keste pizza the best, and he holds it here, and we totally adored the Keste pizza too.  Like Roberto, Alessandro is authentically Italian and hails from Rimini.
Peachy's most favorite pizza at Keste is the Pizza del Re: homemade mozzarella, mushrooms, prosciutto di parma, truffle spread and extra virgin olive oil.  You'll find this under the Pizza Speciale section-and be aware the pure variety of pizzas offered will wow you.  This is without a doubt the best pizza Peachy has EVER tasted in her life: the quality of each ingredient in tandem with the proper proportion of each is testament to the expertise of Roberto.
Next, we tried the amazingly colorful and also nutritious Pizza del Papa: butternut squash, cream, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, imported smoked buffalo mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil.  The smoked aspect of this one gave it an impressive fall-like quality paired with the butternut squash, which does not make it soggy at all because after all, remember these are the pizza gods making it!
Alessandro next suggested this rich Sangiovese which was another hit!
Finally, the last pizza we tried was the Pistacchio e Salsiccia-and if you think pistachios on your pizza would be strange-banish that thought from your head this moment because again, they have chalked up another winning combination with the fresh pistachio pesto, sausage, homemade mozzarella, pecorino romano, basil and extra virgin olive oil.  
The admirable finish of the 
Valpolicella confirmed why there is nothing better than a red Italian wine!
A cappuccino to finish that was absolute perfection:
coupled with our last pizza, made of CHOCOLATE
was just the exclamation point on our sentence of 
Our esteemed panelist adds:
First of all, for just one bite of the edge of the most perfect, warm chewy pizza crust hot from the oven, anyone should come to Keste! And the Homemade Burrata by itself would be enough to motivate crowds of diners to converge on Bleeker Street even if this restaurant didn’t have pizza! Luckily for all of us, at Keste New Yorkers can have it all. I have tried many of places listed at NYC’s top pizzas, and I have eaten Neapolitan pizza in Naples itself, and in addition I am a huge fan of New Haven “Apizza”. In fact pizza is one of my favorite foods, and Keste exceeded my expectations.
Okay, so eating cheese as an appetizer before your pizza might be excessive, but the exquisitely creamy truffle Burrata, oozing onto a slice of fresh bread was heavenly, and the prosciutto di parma is top quality. The myriad of choices for the actual Pizza is a little overwhelming: we tried 4 and each one was quite different and all were delicious. I would suggest trying one of the Pizza Rosse because the tomato sauce here is perfection. We tried the Keste (above): the crust here is amazing, and the tomato sauce tastes so fresh that the flavor brightens up every bite. Add to this the imported buffalo mozzarella, and gran cru pecorino cheese with the slight bite of fresh arugula, olive oil and prosciutto and your mouth has discovered a medley of textures and flavors that will be sure to bring pleasure to your meal. The next 3 pizzas we tried were from the Pizza Speciale section; they are slightly more expensive than the other pizzas because they include creative, gourmet topping combinations. For example, the Pizza del Re might sound similar to the Keste at first glance but the taste was completely different: here we had mozzarella (this one homemade, rather than imported) and prosciutto with mushrooms and a truffle spread. The addition of the truffle flavor to a pizza is brilliant. 
 The Pizza del Papa is completely unique as well, featuring smoked buffalo mozzarella and a butternut squash cream, topped with delightfully colorful zucchini and peppers. Although it is hard to pick a favorite, mine may be the Pistacchio e Salsiccia. I had never heard of pistachio pesto or thought of putting pistachios on a pizza, but all I can say is that it works! This delightful pizza also includes flavorful sausage, pecorino romano, basil and mozzarella. And it is worth repeating one more time, whichever pizza you choose, from the fancier truffle-featuring Pizza del Re, to the classic Margherita, that the crust here is divine. I found myself peering at the bottom of the crust to study it! Roberto Caporuscio is, after all, the US President of the Associozione Pizzaiuoli Napoltani and I am lucky that people like him exist in this world.
Alessandro, the manager, is extremely hard working, courteous and knowledgeable about the menu. I tried 3 of the red wines, which are all Italian and each helped to augment the flavors of the meal. They included the drier, ruby-hued Barbera Rapet, the smooth Montepulciano and a warm, spicy Valpolicella. The next time I go I think I will try one of the 10 different Italian types of beer. If you happen to still have any room left for dessert, the pizza oven here also does extra work making sweet concoctions! We had dough baked with nutella and sprinkled with confectioner sugar; this was so much better than any nutella crepe I’ve ever tried. Keste had a persisting line of customers waiting outside for tables which is not surprising! 

Peachy Picks Keste Pizza!
Keste Pizza is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.


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