We are big time fans of Michael White, but then again, who isn’t? With restaurants such as Marea, Ai Fori, Osteria Morini and many more coming, Michael has built an empire of inspired cuisine. Michael White is the best of the best. Not many chefs can say they are a Multiple Michelin & NY Times Starred Chef, Grand Chef Relais & Chateaux, and James Beard Award winners. But after all the awards, achievements, and success, Chef Michael is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is humble, generous, funny and someone that you want to just hang out with.
Nicoletta is quite different than the other concepts that Michael operates. Many people ask, “why would super-star Chef Michael White open a pizzeria in NYC?” The answer is simple. Because if Michael is behind it, it’s going to be something very special, and it is. New York has become home to many wonderful Neapolitan pizzerias which have certainly raised the bar on the quality of pizza in the city. Hailing from Wisconsin, Chef White puts a mid-western twist with his impeccable palate of unique flavors into his hand crafted pizza.
The menu is fun and a perfect balance of small bites (assaggini e sfizi), antipasti, and of course, pizza. We loved the caponata, the cici fritters, and the insanely delicious patate (crispy fingerling potatoes with pecorino, truffle oil and parmesan fonduta). We enjoyed two salads, the Nicoletta and Farro. Both were full of fresh flavors and the yogurt vinaigrette on the Nicoletta salad has become an addiction! These small bites are perfect to get you going before the pizza arrives and just as expected, the flavors are clean, bold, and spectacular.
Chef Michael is a master of detail. I can’t think of another restaurant operator that is so critically focused on every minute detail including the dining room and guest experience. Prior to our pizza arriving, our server brought out metal pizza stands that slip into spring loaded receptacles strategically placed on each side of the marble tables. The pizza is then placed on the stands and held in place by magnets. This keeps the pizza elevated above the table so that drinks can fit underneath and serving the pizza becomes a very easy task. Just brilliant!
Pizza in general is all over the map. You have your typical New York slice, the greasy dripping over-cheesed type, the psudo-gourmet California type, the newly popular Neapolitan style, we can go on and on. There is something quite unique about the pizza at Nicoletta besides that fact that is it delicious. It is a medium crust pizza with a wonderful bite and texture. It is incredibly satisfying. The three pizzas we tried really gave us a good sense of what Nicoletta is all about. We had the Calabrese, which we understand is Chef Michael’s favorite, with thick-cut pepperoni, homemade fennel sausage red onions, pomodoro and mozzarella. This pizza is bold, meaty and intense. If you are hungry and in the mood for big flavors, this is your pizza. The Tartufata with mozzarella, crema di tartufo, prosciutto cotto and roasted wild mushrooms was to die for and probably our favorite pizza of the night. It has that wonderful umami quality from the truffle and mushrooms that is perfectly balanced with the prosciutto. The third pizza was the Parmigiana with fior di latte, marinated tomatoes, ricotta fried eggplant, pomodoro, garlic and basil which is absolutely delicious and can only be described as pure comfort food.
We really enjoyed our experience at Nicoletta. It is the kind of place that will bring spontaneous cravings and keep you coming back for more. We highly recommend that you head over to Nicolatta and give it a try. Let them know that The Men Who Dine sent you!
160 Second Avenue • New York, NY 10003