Having reviewed and enjoyed new Williamsburg eatery Forcella (home of the now-famous deep-fried pizza) several weeks ago, I was intrigued to check out the fare at its new Bowery outpost (334 Bowery, 212-466-3300), which opened last week. Would the pizza quality still be as good with pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani shuffling back and forth between the boroughs? Would there be any new menu items unique to the location? How would the interior compare? Needless to say, I stopped in for lunch to check it out.
The space is much larger than the original, with white subway-tiled walls and a cluster of tall two-top tables at the front of the room and larger tables in the back; the mosaic pizza oven sits in the middle. Tall windows let in lots of light, and the high ceilings (covered with sleek pressed tin) make the space feel a lot airier and somewhat more upscale than its Brooklyn counterpart.
I began with the pizzelle di nonna ($5, pictured above), an appetizer listed as “small deep fried pizza with tomato and parmesan,” since that dish wasn’t listed on the menu when I reviewed Forcella and I wanted to compare it to the big deep-fried pizza, the montanara. A plate arrived with two small, puffy disks, lightly smeared with tomato sauce, sprinkled with cheese, and topped with a basil leaf. Yet whereas the montanara is finished by baking it in the pizza oven, giving a nice char and chew on the crust, this dish tasted more like a savory doughnut. As much as I love fried food, I’d probably skip this next time. It’s like buying the fake Coach bag instead of the real Prada one: better in the long run to go all out.
The pizzas, though, are as good as ever. I opted for the fuorigrotta ($14), which comes topped with homemade mozzarella, pecorino, thin lemon slices, and a showering of arugula. The sharpness of the greens and acidity from the lemon cuts through the richness of the cheese, and the crust is nicely soft and puffy (being Neapolitan-style, after all) but not soggy. Obviously one pizza isn’t enough to make a whole judgment, but as far as I can tell, the food at the new Forcella is just as good as at the old, and the digs are even better.