Last summer I read - and very much enjoyed - Heat by Bill Buford, the story of the former New Yorker literary editor's adventures as a "kitchen bitch" at Babbo, the hugely successful restaurant owned and run by The Ginger-Haired Wild Man of New York chefery, Mario Batali. Towards the end of the book, after many months spent being burnt, exhausted and delighted in equal measures, Buford moves to Italy to learn about butchery and pasta making. Meanwhile, Batali dreams up Otto, one of a string of restaurants he now has in New York. As far as I can remember, Buford suggested that the smart money said an up-scale, local pizza place just wouldn't work. Well, the smart money was wrong.
We arrived at 7:28 for a 7:30 booking and were wafted through an enormous crowd to our table. The place was packed and a scrum was forming at the desk. We ordered quickly - the seafood anti-pasti selection ($21), one pizza lardo and one anchovy pizza.
The wine took a while to arrive and the anti-pasti was vey average, but the pizzas were incredibly good - thin and crunchy bottomed. And then we chose two ice creams - Olive oil with Maldon sea-salt and Sweetcorn. Both were fantastic, actually, y'know, exciting, which is not something you often get to say about ice cream.
Great prosecco grappa too. Hic.