Kesté Pizza & Vino opened three weeks ago on Bleecker Street, just across from local favorite John’s, “but thousands of miles away in pizza terms,” observes DavyTheFatBoy.
Its chefs came from Naples, as did the artisans who built its wood oven, and it’s connected with the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, which certifies the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza makers. The result, hounds say, is a superb traditional pie. Davy’s classic margherita (tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil) compared favorably with one he had at the Naples landmark Da Michele. Kesté’s crust was similar, fairly soft with a nice char, but its sauce was much tastier.
The closest thing to Kesté in New York is probably Una Pizza Napoletana, the rigorously authentic East Village restaurant. “If you are one of the people who understand UPN, then i’m sure you’ll get this,” xny556cip suggests. “It’s Neapolitan with no apologies. It’s made to be eaten with a knife and fork, and NOT by the slice, so don’t complain when everything slides off if you try.” In fact, some prefer the homegrown pie; Jorel praises Kesté’s margherita and prosciutto-arugula pizzas, but gives the nod to Napoletana for a more nuanced tomato sauce and a better salt balance in the crust.
Despite its Napoli cred, Kesté is also looking to New York, supplementing imported ingredients with others from such local lights as Di Palo’s and Salumeria Biellese. “Was afraid they’d be the ‘Vera Pizza’ police,” guttergourmet writes after meeting the owners, “but they just really cared about the ingredients and the service. They had sampled virtually every pizzeria I could name including NY icons like Patsy’s, Grimaldi’s, Di Fara and John’s across the street.”
Kesté Pizza & Vino [Greenwich Village]
271 Bleecker Street (between Jones and Cornelia streets), Manhattan