DAY 9: OCTOBER 9th, 2009
LOCATION: Company (24th St. and 9th Ave, NYC)
ORDER: half of an individual Margharita, one bite of a Flambe, one fourth of Cauliflower
GUEST(S): Erik Tanouye, Matt Pack, Robin Rothman
Think of the company, then follow your gut. If you've ever been to Company (Co. for short) your better judgement will likely take you back. This time, bring a date. Company's hip, clean interior, large service fleet, inconspicuous kitchen, and full bar proves pizza can be a date worthy meal. Avoiding the temptation to put their oven front and center like in most pizzerias, Co. opts for the more traditional restaurant route. The oven is in the kitchen, in the back. Orders go back, gourmet food comes forward. The oven itself is the opposite of traditional, however. Imported from Los Angeles, Co.'s dome shaped gas powered Earthstone oven seems to provide the perfect amount of heat to every inch of every pie.
Apparently the owner of Co., Jim Lahey, also owns Sullivan Street Bakery. And, by no coicidence, the bread is what sets Co. pizza apart from the rest. As a solid foundation for each pie, the crust buttresses layers of high-end toppings all across the menu. A seasoned tomato sauce, flavorful fresh mozzarella, and requisite basil puts the taste of Co.'s Margherita right up there with Lucali and Franny's...that's pretty good company (pun very much intended)!
In addition to the standard Neopolitan pies, Co. offers several signature pizzas that expertly blend some interesting toppings ranging from cauliflower to spinach. For lardon (pork fat) lovers, I recommend the Flambe. Swimming in a tasty white sauce called bechamel, the parmesan, buffalo mozzarella, and carmelized onions mix together with the lardon for a flavor that will just melt in your mouth. A taste that will leave you wanting more. Also, a quantity that will leave you wanting more.
Quality don't come cheap. Co. is a date place so expect date prices.
We went during an off-peak time and found the open tables and soft music relaxing and cozy. However, there were hints that indicate the "social" atmosphere of two long pizzera-length tables could become rather cafeteria-like if more populated or if the volume of the music were increased.
As it was, a late lunch at Co. wound up being both comfortable and satisfying. I will be back.
1. Don't videotape the oven. They don't allow that for some reason. If you want to see it, though, Adam Kuban at sliceny.com got some great pictures of it here.
2. Today was Erik Tanouye's birthday.
17/21 = .810 x 5 = 4.05