I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Marta is the hottest new pizza place, and one of the most talked about new restaurants in general, this year in New York City. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing so much buzz about this place located in the Martha Washington Hotel (which was built in 1903 exclusively for women!) and near Madison Square Park, so I had to get in on the action.
The restaurant comes from the renowned Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, an empire which includes Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack (you know, kids stuff) and Chef Nick Anderer from Maialino. They make pizza in the Roman tradition here, meaning that the pizzas are super thin with super crackly crusts.
The decor is stunning and the overall feel is classy, especially with the high ceilings. One of the best features about the place is that they have two GIANT wood-burning ovens out in the open. They also have this cool coal burning grill next to it, which is a nod to the Roman tradition of cooking “alle brace” or cooking over open embers. Besides the table seating, you can also sit at the counters by the open kitchen and watch the chefs work.
I actually went to Marta on Thanksgiving Day, and it was refreshing how pleasant, helpful, and hospitable the staff was. I’m sure that’s their standard, but it was great to still have such high quality service even when they’re working on a holiday. For example, my dad went up to go to the bathroom, placing his napkin on the table, and when he left, a staff member came by and elegantly folded his napkin and put it at the corner of the table for his return. Nice.
The Marta menu is separated between starters, red sauce pizzas, white sauce pizzas, grilled entrees, and sides. I asked the waitress what the most popular pizzas were and she mentioned the Salsiccia, Patate alla Carbonara, and Funghi. She also threw in for good measure that the “most Instagramable” pizza was the Capricciosa, which has mozzarella, artichokes, prosciutto, olives, and egg. My dad and I decided to split a red pizza and a white pizza, so we got the Salsiccia and Funghi. The former comes with mozzarella, pork sausage, and crimini mushrooms, while the latter has fontina, hen of the woods (a type of mushroom), red onion, and thyme.
These really are cracker-like crusts with each bite being a resounding crunch. My dad and I are both huge fans of thin crust pizza because it lets us get and taste more of the delicious toppings rather than just bread. It’s always hard to decide which pizza is best when you’re choosing between a red and white, so I’m not going to play favorites here. I can say though that the Funghi was especially interesting because the hen of the woods mushrooms, which I had never had before, as opposed to your typical crimini mushrooms that come on pizza. Really, all you need to know though is that both were absolutely delicious.
Our waitress asked us if we would be having any dessert, and as my dad and I were pondering, she nudged us along saying, “It is Thanksgiving.” That’s all the push we needed! We got the ice cream panino, which is a salted chocolate cookie with smoked mascarpone gelato and pistachio…essentially an ice cream sandwich. The cookie was hard and crunchy like biscotti while the gelato was extra creamy. Fanciest “ice cream sandwich” I’ve ever had!
I would love to come back here one day to try some of their bigger entrees like the grilled lamb chops, or an appetizer like the rabbit meatballs with black olives and ricotta. And maybe even their Tartufata pizza, which has bechamel, ricotta, fontina, and white truffles for the low low price of $60. Hey, a girl can dream.
Salsiccia, Funghi, ice cream panino
29 E 29th St
New York, NY 10016