Great news! For those of us who love real-deal Neopolitan pizza (read: NOT foldable 8-slice American pizza), we have a new spot in northern NJ: Ah' Pizz, which is on North Willow Street in Montclair, is doing it right--it's just that simple. And simple is the key to this style of pizza, imo.
I got turned on to Neopolitan pizza thanks to the Tommy: Eats blog, and became a big fan of Roberto's stunning pies at A Mano in Ridgewood. I have since become a big fan of Keste, Roberto's NYC restaurant, and have introduced many friends who weren't familiar with the genre. This is not, as I said above, American style pizza. There's nothing wrong with that kind(when done right), but there's something more satisfying (to me, at least) about this simple list of (mostly imported) fresh ingredients being put together with TLC and love, then thrust into an 800 to 1000 degree oven for 2 minutes or less that makes me feel like I'm eating something GOOD. This is NOT takeout food. This is eat-it-the-minute-it-arrives food. And SIMPLE is the key.
Tommy's recent post about Ah' Pizz sent me running to check it out last night, along with a good friend who's also a Keste fan, and a bottle of my favorite sangiovese. Again, simplicity is the key here...there is a parking lot, so no circling around looking for a spot, and we were greeted by a genuinely friendly manager and then waitress and handed a short menu of maybe 3-4 salads, half a dozen pizzas, and a couple of specials. My friend went for the special, which had sopressata, red onion, Kalamata olives, and smoked mozzarella. I had the salsiccia, which is a margherita with big chunks of wonderful sausage on top. Let's put it this way...unless I'm meeting friends who live up that way, I don't need to go up to A Mano any more to get my NJ Neopolitan fix.
Desserts include the expected, but again, done with the best ingredients/purveyors. The cannoli was freshly filled, and the gelato comes from Sotto Zero in North Arlington--where the owner makes the gelato, including the base, from scratch. UNHEARD OF.
A full report that really tells you more than I can is here: http://tinyurl.com/2bgmpee
Bottom line: If you're not familiar with Neopolitan pizza, go, and go with an open mind. Order your own (they only come in one size, as is standard in Italy), share with others if you're so inclined, but try something new, and enjoy it! And if you know Neopolitan pizza, go check it out and see if you agree that this place is a welcome addition to this part of northern NJ.
7 North Willow Street
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