Kesté Pizza is NOT New York-style pizza. There. Disclaimer done. What Kesté Pizza is is Neapolitan-style pizza. This means that the crust is softer, more doughy than the crisp NY pizzas. This is just something to keep in mind so you’re not surprised when you get your pizza and take your first bite.
Now, having gotten that all out of the way, Kesté is one of the better pizza places in Manhattan. All the ingredients are fresh and mouthwatering (like their homemade mozzarella!), the pies are wood-fired, and as an added bonus, the restaurant even has some gluten-free pizzas, which I’ve heard are fantastic, and quite a few vegetarian/vegan options. Something for everyone! The charm of the place is that you really feel like you’re getting something authentic, from the Italian staff to, of course, the food itself.
The owner, Roberto Caporuscio, was born and raised on a dairy farm in Italy and studied Neapolitan pizza-making in Naples. He’s also the U.S. President of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli (Association of Neapolitan Pizza Makers), the “elite Italian governing body that teaches the 150 year old art of Neapolitan pizza making and certiﬁes adherence to authentic procedures.” So yeah, I would say this guy knows his stuff.
I ordered the Keste pizza (if they name the pie after the restaurant, it must be good right?) which has tomato sauce, imported buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, arugula, gran cru, and extra virgin olive oil. I’ve really been getting a kick out of prosciutto lately…any time I see it in a menu item, I’m like, “Gimme that!!”
The dough was chewy and had a nice char to it from being wood-fired. I loved the fresh shavings of cheese on top and how the prosciutto covered the entire pizza instead of me having to make sure I spread it out myself to get some with each and every bite. Because the crust isn’t firm, the New York technique of folding the pizza in half with one hand when eating is totally helpful here. What…never heard of it? Well, it’s sometimes referred to as the “fold hold,” and you can check it out here. You won’t eat pizza the same way again.
But no matter your method of digging into a delicious pizza pie, your taste buds will be pleased with what Kesté has to offer. After all, it was named “#1 Pizza in New York” by New York magazine, “Best Pizza” in the state of NY by Food Network Magazine, and amongst the top 25 “Best Pizza Places the US” by Food and Wine magazine. Hard to argue with that.
271 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014