But I think we have a winner in Montclair, NJ. You may be thinking,"Do we really need another pizzeria in northern New Jersey?" If the place is Ah'Pizz--I think we do. Business partners Michael La Morte, who runs the front of the house, and pizzaiola, Chris De Lisio believe they have found their niche.
They have set out to create a high end pizzeria serving Neopolitan pizza cooked in a Neopolitan brick oven using ingredients imported from Italy. The restaurant which has been open since April of this year, is a bright and unpretentious storefront with brick walls and floor to ceiling windows.
The night we met L and J there we were seated within five minutes, menus in hand and wine bottle opened. Of course, it was a holiday weekend, but if the pizza that we were served that night is any indication, I expect long lines once word gets out.
We each ordered salads, which were enormous.
This salad was a special that night, cucumber and tomatoes with a balsamic glaze. One of the salads, another special that night, was baby spinach in a mustard vinaigrette; and another a spring mix with fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, and artichoke hearts tossed with a balsamic glaze. All were quite good.
All the pizzas were delicious. The crust is light--not too dense-- tender but still chewy. Cooking in a 1000 degree wood-burning oven gives the crust the perfect char. The Margherita was covered with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano and basil. The Carciofi was topped with artichokes, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and black olives--nice combination. But the favorite that night was the Gorgonzola pie topped with speck and dusted with Parmigiano Reggiano. Delicious!
As if that wasn't enough J said we had to have the nutella pizza for dessert. I don't think so. But we had it anyway.
The dough hot from the oven was smeared with nutella, covered with banana slices, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Coffee. Done.
Ah' Pizz is open seven days a week. No reservations. BYOB. Take out, but no phone orders. It is not inexpensive, but considering the quality ingredients and excellent pizza, it's worth it. Check out their website for more information.
In the inimitable words of Emma in Wilton Barnhardt's novel, Emma Who Saved My Life, "It is important in the daily diet to have one representative from each of the Four Food Groups. A caffeine, a sugar, a booze and a grease...." Except for the grease, we did all that.