Before our three-stop NYC Pizza Tour on Friday, my wife and I went to one NYC pizzeria for lunch today, to whet our appetites. We went to Naples 45, a restaurant a few blocks east of Times Square. It's a huge place, maybe 10x bigger than our benchmark, Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.
Naples 45 has three wood-burning pizza ovens, two of which were running at a very busy lunch time rush. My oven at home is 39", these must have been at least 60", they were huge, with roaring fires going on the left-hand side. A few photos of an oven and a pizza maker (taken with permission, but no flash... so sorry for blurriness, are to the left, click for a larger image). Each oven is named, Stromboli, Vesuvius, and one other (I'm blanking out).
They bragged about their Caputo flour on the menu and had huge sacks of it in the pizza making area. Not pictured, but they had a long granite counter for spreading the dough, with dough balls sitting out in proofing boxes.
We ordered two individual 10-inch pizzas that had very good flavored crusts, with nice charring (a few black spots on the edges and underneath), but it was not real puffy (except for one spot on one pizza). I have the same problem with the Caputo flour at home... I think that's just a characteristic of that flour. It has great flavor, a nice crisp crunch, and spreads very thin (the Naples 45 pizza was amazingly thin in the middle).
Both pizzas had San marazano tomatoes (crushed, a nice simple sauce). Very good fresh tomato flavor, no sweetness or extra unnecessary sweetness. The classic margherita (left) was executed quite nicely -- flavorful mozzarella, and chopped basil, a good balance of flavors, overall.
We also had a pizza with ground fennel sausage and onions -- I liked it, my wife said "it tastes like the margharita, but with sausage, didn't think the onions added much. I liked the flavors, although the sausage (and other toppings, in general) weren't real evenly distributed, which made for inconsistent tastings of different pieces, I think.
All in all -- the crust was the highlight, we'd score it an 8 out of 10 for good flavor and crispness, cooked nicely, but losing points for not being real airy or puffy. Toppings and preparation score an 8 out of 10. Overall score is 8 out of 10. If we weren't previously spoiled by Bianco's, this would have been a really outstanding pizza. We'd recommend it.
Service was quick and efficient, considering the 12 noon rush. We waited about 5 minutes for a table of 2, service was relatively quick. The mixed greens salad was enough to share, with a nice basic vinaigrette and some cherry tomatoes.