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Pizza throwdown, Domenica v. Ancora

Thought this could be a fun topic. Granted, I have only been to Ancora once, and that was within a week of opening, but at this point I prefer Domenica, which is not to say that I didn't enjoy Ancora greatly. ch

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Domenica
123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

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  1. Crust - Ancora
    Toppings - Domenica

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    Domenica
    123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

    1. Apples vs. oranges.
      Different ovens: Domenica's oven is a gas-wood combination, with a rotating cooking deck; Ancora's oven is wood only, no rotating hearth, so the pizzaiolo must tend to each pizza individually, adjusting it throughout the cook time as needed. Their respective pizzas look quite different: Domenica's is more evenly browned, whereas Ancora's crust shows the charred blistering characteristic of much higher oven temps.

      Different dough: I'm pretty sure that Domenica's dough has some commercial yeast in it, whereas Ancora's dough is completely wild-yeast leavened (so it is more slowly fermented).

      Toppings: Domenica has more & diverse toppings, partially because the crust will stand up to them. Ancora's choices are closer to the typical pizzas of Naples, and the softer crust isn't the best match for baroque combinations of ingredients.

      The two are both turning out delicious pizza of different styles. I'm happy to have both!

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      Domenica
      123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

      2 Replies
      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        are they really apples vs oranges? i havent been to Ancora but my impression is each restaurant is serving neapolitan style italian pizzas -- while differences exist they sound like the same sub-genre? (as opposed to NY vs chicago deepdish vs neapolitan, etc)

        i hear Ancora is going for the official variant, which means following certain rules and being registered w/ the AVPN...tho i dont seem 'em listed yet%3

        http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/showna...

        ...i have been to one from that list in the US and it was exceptional.

        i like Domenica, but am looking forward to trying Ancora.

        1. re: kibbles

          oh FYI for anyone interested -- i contacted the AVPN group, Ancora is not participating in the certification process. oh well. we'll still try it tho.

      2. Hey y'all-
        We just had a lovely meal at Ancora...however it ended very, very unpleasantly (read to the end). The eggplant was actually some of the best of ever had, stewed agradolce and studded with sweet garlic and cherry tomatoes. The pizza was pretty tasty, burnt edges just like in Italy and NY, with super fresh mozz. The dough was a little lacking in flavor and just a tad too thick for me...for Neopolitan 'za, I expect almost cracker-like consistency. All told, the food was very good.
        The service, however, was...strange. The female server (Clare?) was very sort of rambunctious and over-energetic, and the male runner had sort of an edge of being put off and yet overly attentive throughout the meal. I wouldn't mention it, because this is sort of the hallmark of service in a brand new restaurant...it's always a little over-eager and sensitive, kind of trying too hard. However...shortly after we paid the check (and left 20% incl. wine and tax), we were "escorted" out of the restaurant by one of the chef/owners. For what? I have little idea. He said we were "rude to one of his servers". My parents-in-law, from NY, are a bit sarcastic and boisterous in general, but certainly didn't say anything out-of-bounds or rude. I was surprised that no manager, if we were so rude, would come up and assess the situation, ask us how the meal was, gauge our attitude, but no. Only after we had paid (and had been offered dessert), and got up to leave (once they had our money), were we told to leave the premises. I have never been treated such!! Wow, Ancora...what's your problem?

        14 Replies
        1. re: shaidr

          Can't speak to your service issues, but true Neapolitan pizza is most definitely NOT "cracker-like". It is quite thin at the center, with a thicker, puffed edge. It is sufficiently soft to allow a pizza to be folded into quarters, wrapped in paper, and handed across the counter so you can eat it while walking on the street. (see first attached photo, with the stones of Naples' via Tribunali visible in the background).

          Thin mostly to the edge pizza with a more crisp texture is Roman pizzeria style (as opposed to Roman pizza al taglio style baked in pans, which is thicker). Second pic shows this style, third pic (sorry it's blurry) shows the cracker-like thinness in cross section (from Rome's pizzeria Ai Marmi in Trastevere).

           
           
           
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Celeste, where best to find what you show in the third photo?

            1. re: marthasway

              None locally, sorry. In Rome, Ai Marmi, Leoncino (on the street of the same name), and a whole slew of places. See Katie Parla's excellent blog, www.parlafood,com, for some current recs on food in Rome (and other parts of Italy, too).

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                This is apropo of nothing I guess, but Leonardo's Trattoria, which is a few doors from Herbsaint also has a wood burning oven. Unfortunately they really don't know how to use it and there pies are under cooked. Where do Mondo' s pizza's fit on the list as to type?

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                Herbsaint
                701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                Mondo
                900 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

                1. re: CharlieH

                  I haven't sampled Mondo's pizza (yet), but a guy from Mondo manning the Green Plate booth at the Farmer's Market said it was "neapolitan style". I'll drag myself out to Lakeview and eat it some time soon, for comparison's sake. And Mardi Gras Zone (of all places) has a wood oven, too.

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                  Mondo
                  900 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    while Mardi Gras Zone does have a wood oven, i dont think they have much idea what to do w/ it. ive had a slice, it was similar to most bourbon street pizza and priced the same to boot ($3.50/slice).

                    1. re: kibbles

                      Aw, that's disappointing to hear about MGZ. Here I was, hoping for a crazy good pizza to be hiding in a convenience store/MG bead store.

                      1. re: kibbles

                        Just had pizza at MG Zone, and it's an okay slice. Nothing especially interesting in the crust's flavor & the sauce was too sweet & thick for my personal taste but if I was in the area, I'd probably have a slice now & then.

                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                          yeah. for us tho, having found in Pizza Delicious what we were seeking for so long, we cant think of a reason to go anywhere else. premium product, exceptional price ($12 for a large cheese, most special pies $17-19).

                          one in a while i think about Sugarpark, tho. the shrimp & corn.

            2. re: shaidr

              thats an astounding story. did you ask the owner what was going on?

              1. re: shaidr

                stories like this one and the other post about leonardo trattoria(no ice water) really put me off. waiting till you paid(and left your tip) to have the manager throw you out really disturbs me. not in any hurry to try those two restaurants.

                  1. re: califkatie

                    yeah, it was absurd...we were practically out the door, and this putz goes, "I'm going to have to ask you to leave." It was the owner. Guy is clearly on his power trip!

                    1. re: shaidr

                      Was it Adolfo or his new partner next door at High Hat, Chip? Doesn't sound like the Adolfo I know.