Totale, a new wood-burning-oven Neapolitan pizza place, quietly opened on St. Marks about three weeks ago. The simple, narrow, white-tiled eatery is reportedly from the owners of 2 Bros. Pizza, and employs a former longtime manager of Una Pizza Napoletana. There’s certainly no shortage of good pizza in the area, but Totale distinguishes itself by hewing to its block’s ultra-cheap tradition, undercutting fancier competitors like Keste and Motorino.
A 12-inch marinara pie — tomato sauce, garlic, basil, olive oil — goes for $7 and could make a light lunch for two.
The crust gets puffy and chewy in the oven’s heat, and has an appealing, salty tang. It’s blackened with a good deal of char — I liked it, but some might find it a bit too carbonized. The tomato sauce is loose and sweetish, seasoned with oregano, chopped garlic, and puddles of olive oil. All in all, a quality neighborhood pie.
And although these pizzas are not quite as impressive as those at Keste or Motorino, Totale’s are significantly cheaper, and served without a wait or attitude.
36 St. Marks Place