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March 31st, 2009 · No Comments


Pizza has always been a New York City staple, but these days, it’s enjoying a newfound resurgence. The mainstay pizzerias seen on more street corners than Starbucks are making way for destination pizza restaurants serving Neapolitan pies. Artisanal bread is the new thin crust. Homemade sausage is the new pepperoni.

In these modern times, technology is also playing a larger role. Costly pizza ovens are being specially designed and flown in from far away places. Owners and chefs are engaging in machinery-inspired machismo: My oven is bigger! Mine is hotter! It’s no surprise that since opening in January, Co. (short for Company) has been as blistering as its wood-fired oven (about 900 degrees).

Co. is a Jim Lahey production, a man who has carved – make that, rolled – out his place in the Manhattan baking scene. Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough is the sturdy foundation for his pies. His Sullivan Street Bakery churns out some of the most highly touted breads in the city.

Co.’s decor, made up of light woods and communal dining tables, is undeniably laid back. Co.’s staff, made up of characters (think surfer-dudes and actors), is undeniably quirky. They appear to be having fun, even if they don’t appear to be professionals. They shimmy to the loud music. They cluster in groups and giggle. They talk to one another about what party they’re hitting later.

Co. is not the place to grab a quick slice. Co.’s mostly-round pizzas, from which there are nine to choose, come individually sized. In addition to the pies, the menu offers three salads, cheese and charcuterie, and a selection of toasts.

On our first visit, the waiter explained that Co.’s pizzas come with a slightly blackened crust. My husband, forever asking for his pizza to be well done, was thrilled when the promise of charred edges was fulfilled. The crust was somewhat mind-boggling; it’s singed and crispy, yet also soft and chewy.

On our most recent visit, our pizzas’ edges were only baked golden brown. Without the crunchy and doughy contrast, the crust wasn’t nearly as impressive.

One doesn’t go to Co. for the Margherita pizza. It would be like going to Cold Stone Creamery and getting a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Lahey must have it on the menu for the pizza laymen. Don’t be one of them.

On the menu, the Popeye ingredient list reads long: pecorino, gruyere, buffalo mozzarella, spinach, black pepper, and garlic. Though its description sounds frenetic, its appearance and taste are subtle. Scorched spinach leaves top a pleasing combination of cheeses, leaving a most elegant pizza in their wake.

True to its name, the flambé was more robust. Bechamel, parmesan, buffalo mozzarella, carmelized onions, and lardons create a salty and sweet pie you’ll be craving in a week.

The leek and sausage pie is also quite good. Spicy bits of sausage mingle with leeks and soothing buffalo mozzarella on tomato sauce. Whatever Lahey creation tickles your fancy, will likely please your tastebuds.

The pie is on the rise and Co. is at the top of its game.

230 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
(212) 243-1105

Neighborhood: Chelsea

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