Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nick's New Haven Style Pizzeria & Bar

Hello Foodie Friends, 

Today's Boca Food Find is Nick's New Haven Style Pizzeria & Bar. 

Now, there is pizza, and then there is apizza, New Haven-style pizza is the latter; a hotter, crispier, and dirtier descendant of Neapolitan style pie. What ribs are to Kansas City, cheesesteak to Philadelphia, and crabcakes to Baltimore, pizza is to New Haven. So how did Connecticut's second largest city become ground zero for some of the best pizza in the United States? And just what is New Haven-style pizza exactly?
At the turn of the twentieth century, New Haven became a popular town for Italian families who settled in the United States in neighborhoods such as Wooster Square bringing with them palates that appreciated the thin-crusted Neapolitan style pizza of their homeland.
What makes New Haven-style pizza so unique and sets it apart from the other styles is its signature charred, thin-crusted, crispy and chewy pies that use the perfect balance of sauce, cheese and toppings throughout.

First you must get the lingo and the pronunciation right; It's apizza, (pronounced a-BEETS) not pizza. The word "apizza" is itself a distinguishing characteristic of New Haven. The "a" is a harbinger of the Italian dialect spoken in the Naples region.

Coal:  In the twenties and thirties coal was abundant and cheap. It is also responsible for the blistered, sooty, and smoke-imbued flavor of the pies at Nick's, whos brick oven is coal fired and cooks at an excess of 750 degrees, creating a darker crust which they call "charred" or "done well".

A long, cold fermentation: New Haven-style pizza dough relies on a longer fermentation than that of its quick rise New York style pizza neighbor. Allowing the dough to proof more slowly over the course of an overnight refrigeration, in combination with letting the dough come to room temperature before shaping and baking, allows for a much more nuanced flavor and chewy crust.

Now, although I have had my share of pizzas over the years representing different styles, I would not claim to be a pizza aficionado by any means. All I know is that the pizza I like best is crispy but not burnt and can hold up to the toppings placed upon it without making it soggy and droopy. That's it, I'm not asking for a whole lot, am I? 

So when my friend Shaina asked me to join her at Nick's, I was excited because I had not yet been there. We started out with the Escarole & Beans which we both thought were excellent. Perfectly seasoned with the right amount of oil and acidity.

Escarole & Beans
 They had a section on their menu dedicated to bruschettas, which we both thought was really cool. An order comes with 3 or 5 pieces of toasted rustic bread that has been rubbed with garlic oil and topped with your choice of any three toppings from the following categories: Marinated, Cured & Cheeses. We chose to top ours with tomatoes, eggplant and shaved Parmesan cheese. This was one of my faves of the evening.
Shaved Bruschetta

Fried Calamari

1/2 Roasted Garlic, Spinach, Mozzarella & Tomato
1/2 Roasted Peppers & Caramelized Onions

 Because there were were both apizzas and pizza flats on the menu, we decided we had to try both, so we could make the comparison for you. So here's my take on it. Of the two apizzas we had, the roasted garlic, spinach, mozzarella & tomato and the roasted pepper & caramelized onion, I enjoyed the one with the spinach the best. It held up to my crispy test the best. The second one didn't hold up quite as well, although it was tasty, the toppings made it a bit too soggy for my liking.

Nick's Famous White Clam Pizza Flat 
 A visit to a Nick's New Haven Style Pizzeria & Bar would not be complete without at least trying their signature white clam pizza (either on their traditional apizza or on their pizza flat). If you are a lover of clams, this combination will certainly not disappoint. Made with Parmesan, cherry peppers, lemon and garlic. Our white clam pizza flat was very flavorful and perfectly crispy and most importantly, it stood up to my test with flying colors.

OK, now we are getting to my next favorite part of the night; Dessert. Shaina had her eyes set on trying the chocolate mousse cheesecake and me? I was eyeballing the salted caramel gelato affogato. Nick's make's their desserts in house and we were both thoroughly impressed with what they brought out. I would come back here for the desserts alone! They also have quite a selection of specialty drinks and wines by the glass and bottle.

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Decaf Cappuccino with Salted Caramel Gelato   
Nick's has two locations; one in Boca Raton and the other in Coral Springs. We visited the one in Boca which is located at 2240 NW 19th St. (561) 368-2900
Until we eat again...
  I send you delicious wishes, xo
Denise Righetti
C.F.O. (Chief Foodie Officer)
Denise's Foodie Events & Savor Our City™

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