It’s now been nine months since I’ve been to New York City. That’s the longest separation I have ever had from my favorite city in the world and I miss it dearly. COVID has not been too nice to the City and to quote a former Manhattanite friend who has since left for Texas: “Everything that is good about it has shut down and everything bad about it has gotten worse.” The state of the City has saddened me to the point that I avoid reading any news about it to avoid further heartbreak. But like it has always recovered from downturns in the past, I know it will once again regain its status as the greatest city in the world.
My last trip there leaves me with one last late blog entry about pizza in the City. With my mind first set on visiting my beloved and sadly struggling Strand Book Store on 12th and Broadway, I searched for a nearby pizza joint that was new to me. My discovery was Ribalta, a restaurant that made a Neapolitan pie. I walked by their extended wooden storm door shutting out the cold on my way to the Strand after parking the car on 12th.
Unsurprisingly, Ribalta was packed at this prime hour which gave me the pleasure of an immediate seat at the bar, my place of preference. It’s comfy and cozy, quick to order and lets me easily observe what’s going on. Ordering from the right or “red” side of the menu (as opposed to the left or “white” side), the “Doc” ($17, an extra $2 from their norm) with Buffalo Mozzarella, marinara and basil made sense. However, my already half full stomach really didn’t need the side of meatballs. (They were definitely too much to eat, but well worth it!)
While the meatballs took only two minutes to arrive, it was another ten before I got my pie. My bloated stomach was shocked when I saw how big it was. Expecting more of a “selfie,” this guy was about a 12-incher and was cut into four extra-wide slices. My eyes did detect that it was gonna be wet and thin in the middle and it was. When I picked up a slice, there was no support at the almost paper-thin tip.
Neapolitan as you know, is not my favorite pizza type, and there being no hype about Ribalta’s pie got me thinking if I was starting with a prejudice. Whatever, sogginess aside, it was tasty, and I thought that both the cheese and sauce were great. And the amply charred crust was fantastic. As you will see in the photo, the basil somehow didn’t matter much to my pizza-maker! No loss there though.
Good news was that being this thin it wasn’t that filling, and I had nothing left to take home with me.
I liked this place and loved the great service I had at the bar. While this may not be the best N-pie you can find in the City, Ribalta seemed to be a great restaurant and a fun NYC experience that I think you will enjoy.
PS There’s also a Ribalta in Atlanta and both locations seem to be currently operating.
PPS I can’t wait to be in NYC again. If all goes well, I hope to be there around Christmas time.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
48 E. 12th Street
New York, NY 10003