Tuesday, February 17, 2009


For years, savvy New Yorkers knew that Sullivan Street Bakery was, in addition to being a fine purveyor of breads and pastries, a great place for pizza. Owner and baker Jim Lahey knows what he's doing with dough and crust, so when he finally opened Co., a standalone pizza place, the NYC food blogosphere went crazy.

We tried to go for dinner with some friends a few weeks ago, but the wait was over an hour (on a Wednesday at 6:30), so we were out of luck. But this week word came down that Co. would be opening for lunch, so we were the first people through the doors on Saturday. Even when the dining room filled up, as it quickly did, the service was consistently friendly and hands-on.

In a refreshing touch, Co. sells every one of its wines either by the bottle or the glass, so we started with a Malbec and a Fiano Seghesio, an interesting white wine that we'd never had before. And as usual, we couldn't resist the lure of a bowl of olives to start.

But the center of the menu is where everyone's eyes drift. Co. serves seven different pizzas (plus a daily special), three with a tomato base and four without.

The names are a touch silly, but the pizzas are in total and delicious earnest. We went with the Popeye and the Boscaiola (minus the mushrooms). The former had a nice kick from the pecorino and black pepper, and the bountiful spinach atop it was cooked perfectly, fresh and crisp in the center and charred and crunchy at the edges. The Boscaiola was spicy, sweet, and salty all at once, a tough combination to resist. The complimentary biscotti at the end were nice, but what we really wanted was seconds.

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