Ah' Pizz -- Authentic Neopolitan pizza in Montclair
Great news! For those of us who love real-deal Neopolitan pizza (read: NOT foldable 8-slice American pizza), we have a new spot in northern NJ: Ah' Pizz, which is on North Willow Street in Montclair, is doing it right--it's just that simple. And simple is the key to this style of pizza, imo.
I got turned on to Neopolitan pizza thanks to the Tommy: Eats blog, and became a big fan of Roberto's stunning pies at A Mano in Ridgewood. I have since become a big fan of Keste, Roberto's NYC restaurant, and have introduced many friends who weren't familiar with the genre. This is not, as I said above, American style pizza. There's nothing wrong with that kind(when done right), but there's something more satisfying (to me, at least) about this simple list of (mostly imported) fresh ingredients being put together with TLC and love, then thrust into an 800 to 1000 degree oven for 2 minutes or less that makes me feel like I'm eating something GOOD. This is NOT takeout food. This is eat-it-the-minute-it-arrives food. And SIMPLE is the key.
Tommy's recent post about Ah' Pizz sent me running to check it out last night, along with a good friend who's also a Keste fan, and a bottle of my favorite sangiovese. Again, simplicity is the key here...there is a parking lot, so no circling around looking for a spot, and we were greeted by a genuinely friendly manager and then waitress and handed a short menu of maybe 3-4 salads, half a dozen pizzas, and a couple of specials. My friend went for the special, which had sopressata, red onion, Kalamata olives, and smoked mozzarella. I had the salsiccia, which is a margherita with big chunks of wonderful sausage on top. Let's put it this way...unless I'm meeting friends who live up that way, I don't need to go up to A Mano any more to get my NJ Neopolitan fix.
Desserts include the expected, but again, done with the best ingredients/purveyors. The cannoli was freshly filled, and the gelato comes from Sotto Zero in North Arlington--where the owner makes the gelato, including the base, from scratch. UNHEARD OF.
A full report that really tells you more than I can is here: http://tinyurl.com/2bgmpee
Bottom line: If you're not familiar with Neopolitan pizza, go, and go with an open mind. Order your own (they only come in one size, as is standard in Italy), share with others if you're so inclined, but try something new, and enjoy it! And if you know Neopolitan pizza, go check it out and see if you agree that this place is a welcome addition to this part of northern NJ.
7 North Willow Street
I'm really hoping that they politely explain WHY they don't take phone orders or deliver, and based on my conversations with the manager, owner, and wait staff, they should have that ability; these folks are definitely service-focused!
People wouldn't call Fascino expecting delivery because it's not THAT type of restaurant. And Neopolitan pizza just isn't THAT type of cuisine; hopefully those who are really interested in good food will go in and try it so they can understand!
And fwiw, I do think you can go in and get a pie to go, but again, that's not the idea...
331 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, NJ 07042
I took you at your word on Sotto and was quite disappointed by what I found.Sadly the lemon rosemary was not available,but I did try a number of others and they all pretty much missed the mark for me.I tend not to like many of the domestic Gelateria offerings as they are often over sweetened to suit American tastes.The problem I found here was that there was no consistency or balance in any that I tried,apart from good texture.The Chocolate was dense and intense,but really needed more sugar.The Pear wasn't bad (and this is usually a difficult one to get right ) but was weak in flavor.Overall the Strawberry was probably the most satisfying,but I couldn't even call that a standout after many weak samplings.Amanos Gelato s always seemed like an afterthought to me and of questionable consistency.The PreGel packages just don't cut it for me.
I hope to hit the pizzeria in Montclair sometime soon.A lot of aspiring people have been through the Neapolitan pizzerias in the area,some have been good and some not ,so it's a crapshoot what you get and where and when IMO.
We've only been there once, back during their soft opening. We found their ingredients and product to be first rate. the owner's mother also makes first class cannoli. In the short time they've been open (judging by what we see when we drive by, which is pretty frequent), they seem to have attracted a following. Their proximity to the Wellmont on concert nights, along with their price point (as an absolute, not just for pizza), have to be helping. I wish them well. For us, pizza is normally a takeout thing, and this pizza is really meant to be consumed on site.