My wife, Kasia, and I decided to head out to New York City to celebrate the arrival of a New Year and to also visit our favorite Sacks 5th Ave window display. As usual, we were not disappointed. For this New year, Sacks chose a White theme with a very light touch of color. Specifically, there was an elegant shoe in every window frame (try to find it in the photo posted below). My favorite window was the one that depicted a Queen wearing her diamond jewels and crown; with her was the display of cakes and sweets.
The weather was dry, but definitely took a turn on the colder side of the barometer, a complete reversal from the 73 degrees Christmas temperature that we experienced a week ago. Nevertheless, we were not disappointed. We navigated our way around the crowded sidewalk and completed our visit with a Light show filled with music and applause from the gathering street spectators.
All this walking around, surrounded by food street vendors and amazing visuals of cakes and sweets stimulated our appetite for something awesome. Kasia is the food expert of the family and she is the only person that I know who can point me to a great place to eat in NYC. So, after a brief discussion, we decided to hop onto the F train to Union Square for a Movie and a meal.
We arrived at Union Square with enough time to purchase our movie ticket and had an hour left to eat before the 7:50 show. Kasia was in the mood for something light, delicious and fast. We walked towards 12th Street on Broadway and spotted the perfect hole-in-the-wall Pizza restaurant. At least we thought it was a hole-in-the-wall from the street entrance, but were completely surprised once we entered the restaurant. We walked in and were immediately taken by the low and pleasant background bassy music. With a smile, Vito the Manager greeted us, and we requested a table for two. He asked if we had a reservation or are we a "Walk-in." We chose the latter and were immediately seated. The service was fast and polite.
After deciding on the PARMA Pizza, which comes with Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, Arugula, Prosciutto di Parma, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, and the BABY OCTOPUS, a slowly cooked in San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Gaeta Olives and Sicilian Capers, our table was quickly garnished with warm Italian bread, Unfiltered Olive Oil, and Water.
Although this is my first Napoletana meal, I heard several times from Kasia about this salad-garnished Pizza but never had a real chance to taste one. I did not know what to expect with the Pizza but had the opportunity to eat grilled baby octopus, but I was not sure how it would taste in a sauce. So, after we received our orders, which came in less than 20 minutes, I started on the Octopus and was quickly blown away by the sauce rich and tasty flavor. Kasia dug into the Pizza and was also amazed! I shared a piece of Octopus with her and OMG, we were both equally satisfied with this amazing and delicious delight. Next, I reached for a slice of Pizza, not knowing, again what to expect, we both had a similarly delightful experience: delicious. My curiosity was stimulated; we needed to know the process of this Pizza and Octopus.
The restaurant has an open design, exposing the Pizza oven area, given me the opportunity to observe the preparation and cooking area. I would, at first glance, credit the wood oven for the crust, but that would not be fair, for there is a great deal more to that I have yet to discover.
The ingredients are made from scratch and added to each Pizza as needed. There is no magic. The delicious flavor comes from the fresh ingredients and process. The cooking is slow and the temperature is just right.
We are definitely returning here for another meal, the sooner the better. For more information on Ribalta, please visit their Web site.