Editor's note: Pizza Maria has closed.
Those familiar with true pizza Napoletana—crust so soft and delicate it's often cut with scissors—are probably also familiar with the wildly popular crop of sturdier, drier, "Neapolitan-inspired" versions at institutions like Ken's Artisan and Apizza Scholls.
Well, Pizza Maria's traditional Neapolitan crust is perfectly bubbly, chewy and charred in all the right places.
But what really melted my heart here is the toppings.
A late-summer "market vegetable" pie was a standout, with roasted cherry tomatoes and paper-thin zucchini slices, basil, pickled shallots and pops of impossibly sweet corn, bound with Parmesan and a touch of cream reduction. The "bologna," recommended by a server, was a close second: Slices of dry mortadella mingle with arugula, pecorino and mustard seeds under a sprinkling of chopped pistachios for a perfect balance of chew and crunch.
The sleek, industrial-chic space features an open kitchen with a view of chef-owner Sean Coyne (formerly of Per Se and Grand Central Bakery) loading the pies into an imported Mugnaini oven.
"Pizza Maria loves you," goes the slogan on the menus. This crush is requited.
Pro tip: Pizzas are just large enough for the average hungry person. For two people, two or three pies should provide just enough, with a few slices of leftovers.