Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Brooklyn-Proud Speedy Romeo Brings The Kind Brother and Other Goodness to Manhattan (LES)

The Kind Brother pizza (wild mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, farm egg, sage) from Speedy Romeo. Photos by V.W.

BY V. W.

corner of the room has voted. Hand’s down, the best we have tasted all evening is The Kind Brother.

If one ingredient sets it apart, it is egg. Don’t misconstrue my words, the wild mushrooms, smoked mozzarella and sage are pulling their weight. The addition of the egg, however, is a brilliant stroke. The yellow is only partially cooked – a couple of seconds from runny – except it holds its form as I bite into it. Yum!

Pizza. That grab-and-go staple that New Yorkers just can’t get enough of. The second location of the newish pizza purveyor, Speedy Romeo, will likely do quite nicely here at 63 Clinton St. on the Lower East Side. The 50-seat eatery is situated amongst myriad bars, restaurants, emerging designer shops, generally cool people and so on.

The chocolate cake is aided by branded marshmallow graham cracker.

Clinton Street can likely support another pizza concern (pies go from $12 to $18), too, in this expanse between Rivington and Stanton streets, though Speedy Romeo offers other palate-pleasers. Rizzo’s Fine Pizza Co. is at 17 Clinton, Nonna’s LES Pizzeria at 105 Clinton and Clinton Square Pizza is holding it down at 201 Clinton. Anybody with an abacus can figure out that there is a gap here, a missing slice.

In progress this clear and crisp Tuesday evening (29 March 2016) is the opening party. The pizzas and bites are coming direct from the hardwood-fired oven and wood grill at a steady clip.

Here, we have another winner, The White Album, named in part no doubt for its proliferation of white cheeses: ricotta, pecorino, provel. In a supporting role are roast garlic and b├ęchamel.

Ah, meet me at The St. Louie. Near sonnets have been written about this pie since it was introduced at the Speedy Romeo Clinton Hill, Brooklyn location. It is made with Italian, sausage, pepperoni, pickled chilis and provel. The latter is flown in from the city after which the pizza is named.

The St. Louie is sliced in a square, not a triangle. A taster pronounced it “OK.” Though it is tasty, I concur. I also try it in altered states – sans pork, so consider the source.

The Speedy Romeo Caesar (romain, anchovy, lemon).

The well-received Speedy Romeo, which sounds more like a plumbing service or racehorse, is named for – ta-da! – the fast equine of the family of Todd Feldman, one of its owners. Chef Justin Bazdarich is his partner. Chef, a French Culinary Institute grad who also interned at Jean Georges, prides himself on producing “Italian influenced seasonal American cooking at its hottest and freshest.”

This morsel of knowledge puts one at her ease as she feasts on that old chestnut, The Margherita: tomato sauce, basil, oregano, chili and mozzarella. It is delicious and as fresh as its mozzarella, which is made in-house.

Also on the seasonal menu are salads, appetizers in the manner of Grilled Beet ($14) and a very tasty Speedy Romeo Caesar ($12), served on individual romaine leaves.

Aside from pizza, for instance, is steak, burgers, Chicken Parm ($24) and Atlantic Salmon. ($28)

Olive Oil Cake ($8) is on the dessert menu. Coming around now is Chocolate Cake, ($9) taken to another dimension by the addition of branded marshmallow graham cracker. Meanwhile, White Chocolate Mousse ($8) is elevated by rhubarb compost and balsamic rose sugar.

The Dangerfield (pork and veal meatballs, ricotta, bechamel, garlic chips.

Speedy Romeo, which opens to the public at 5 p. m. on Wednesday (30 March 2016), has done well. Chef has sent out a very representative sampling of the menu. Unlike in Brooklyn, the LES Speedy Romeo has a full liquor license, making possible the “Smoking”- and “Nonsmoking-inspired cocktails. Other libations are beer, red wine, prosecco and a pale rose. All are pleasant and have paired well with the food.

At this impressive trough, the piece de resistance is the Grilled Octopus ($16). An appetizer, it is served on a stick with almond romesco, celery and crispy potato. The octopus has the consistency of swordfish and the wood imparts a bacon flavor.

Yum! Yum!

Grilled Octopus

Almond romesco, crispy potato, celery.

The White Album

Roast garlic, ricotta, provel, pecorino, bechamel.

The St. Louie

Provel, Italian sausage, pepperoni pickled chilis.

White Chocolate Mousse

Rhubarb composte, balsamic rose sugar.

The Margherita

Tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, oregano, chili.

The Paul's Boutique

Katz's pastrami, dijon bechamel, smoked red kraut, fontina Thousand Island dressing, everything crust.

Visit to learn more about “Speedy Romeo.

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