Take Manhattan’s famous master baker, Jim Lahey, and pair him with a oven imported from Naples, where a pizza cooks in less than 30 seconds, and you’ll get Co. Pizza, also known as Company. The merging of these components is the main reason why Co’s pizza style has been referred to as Naples meets New York.
Lahey first appeared on the culinary scene 15 years ago when he opened the now infamous Sullivan Street Bakery. His no-knead breads are legendary across the city and sold in various respected establishments. He even made two guest appearances on the Martha Stewart Show where he dished out a recipe of his beloved bread and the infamous Popeye Pizza which is currently being served at Co. So with all this in mind, you can expect nothing less when dining at Company.
There are a slew of gourmet pizzas to pick from on the menu like the Fennel and Sausage ($18), Roasted Cauliflower ($17) or Stracciatella ($17) to name a few. When trying out a new pizza joint I usually opt for a classic pie and ordered the Margherita ($13) which contained a minimal combination of tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil. The pizza was absolutely delightful, a tangy flavorful sauce and bubbling stringy cheese, but the part that won my heart was the crunchy, chewy crust which is very traditional to the region of Naples . Be warned, pies are served adorned with any number of crispy black blisters which help enhance the oven, smoky taste.
I read many reviews stating Co. is the place for pizza, but skip the salads all together. I should have listened to this advice but instead had to learn the hard way by ordering a regretful Radicchio salad ($7) which was beyond lackluster. There was barely enough balsamic and olive oil dressing to dampen the overpowering bitter taste of radicchio. A heaping pile of raw shiitake mushrooms tasted bland and spongy and I wished there were more than a few specs of taleggio cheese. Oh well, lesson learned.
Thankfully, the meal ended on a pleasant note with an intense, chilly scoop of Chocolate Gelato ($3) served in an adorable Co. stamped paper cup.
Normally an environment that’s more on the slick side can be perceived as a turn off, but the decor at Co. is one to take note of. There’s an abundance of warm wood and two large central communal tables. The logo is stamped and branded throughout the restaurant from cups to glass bottles, and the over-sized windows facing 9th Avenue exude a warm, ambient glow. Co. is slated to celebrate its first anniversary this December and here’s hoping that Lahey can turn this Chelsea pizzeria into another New York culinary staple.