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« Recipe: Dump Cake | Main | Food trucks / carts across NYC »
Tuesday
Jan242012

Lunch at Forcella

*NOTE: This restaurant's location has closed.*

  • Restaurant  Forcella Bowery
  • Cuisine  Pizza, Italian
  • Location  334 Bowery (between Bond & 3rd St.), Manhattan 
  • Phone  212-466-3300
  • Directions  Hopstop
  • Atmosphere  casual elegance
  • Attire  casual
  • Ideal for  small to medium-sized groups, kid-friendly, foodies
  • Price  affordable

As much as I try to fight it, the truth is, I love anything fried.  So, you can imagine my excitement and fascination upon reading about the recent opening of Forcella Bowery, a pizzeria which specializes in, you guessed it, *fried* pies. 

On a recent sleepy and hungover Sunday, I rounded up two hungry girlfriends to accompany me to Forcella.  You know, the kind of Sunday where you need to wear sunglasses indoors because a) you're too tired to apply mascara, and b) everything is just too bright and it hurts to squint.  Needless to say, I had high hopes that some fried pizza would aid in my state of "hot mess."

I'm not sure what I had imagined the interior of Forcella to look like, but the actual space resembled nothing of your stereotypical pizzeria (red/white checkered tablecloths covered with crumbs - fake vased flowers - linoleum floor tiles).  Instead, think:  restored copper ceiling tiles + exposed brick walls/overhead piping, old and new school crystal chandeliers, bar and table/chair seating, and - the focal point - a tiled, massive wood-burning pizza oven.  

Picture it:  Sunday - 12:30pm - East Village/Lower East Side neighborhood.  Do you have a visual now?  There was not a soul in sight.  Not on the streets - not in the shops - not in Forcella.  The three of us girls must have had the entire restaurant to ourselves for a good 45-minutes/hour. 

After we were seated at our table of choice, we received menus and a much-needed round of waters.

With some guidance from our incredibly charming Italian waiter, we ordered the following items and split them 3-ways:

1pc Arancino, 1pc Crocchetta

Crocchetta (pictured on the left): smoked mozzarella cheese and perfectly-seasoned smashed potatoes were rolled in to the shape of a plump cigar and deep-fried. 

Arancino (pictured on the right)Arborio rice, cooked to a precise al-dente, was blended with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese before being hand-formed in to a tight, dill pickle-sized mound and deep-fried.  Of the two antipasti, this was my favorite.

Meatball (note:  I don't see this on the regular menu, so it may have been a special)

Seriously, have you ever seen anything sexier?  Come on!

This gorgeous, ample 'ball - although a tad overcooked - was delicious and unique, in that it contained pine nuts!  And, while the nuts created a bit of texture, we didn't find that they added anything/much in terms of flavor.  

Calzone

Smoked mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, plus salty soppressata (ham) were enveloped by pizza dough and folded in to the shape of an American football.  Baked with the perfect amount of charring from the wood-burning oven and finished with a smudge of tomato sauce, this calzone proved absolutely delightful. 

"Montanara" pizza

The "Montanara" pizza, pictured above, is what put Forcella on the map.  It's the reason that my friends and I made the long, hungover journey down south.  And, while I have no clue what the word "Montanara" means, all I was told (via blogs and websites) was that I had to order it.

Rolled-out pizza dough is flash fried, topped (our version consisted of handmade tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves), and then baked in the wood-burning oven.  This is definitely the type of pizza slice that you should eat with a knife/fork, as it's not as sturdy as a non-fried pie.  And trust me on this one, folks, I'm a traditionalist who prefers to eat pizza with my hands.  Just as god intended.  Not with a pair of damn utensils!  But the Montanara is a true exception.  Your fabulous white blouse will thank you for it.

There is something so deliciously taboo about pillowy soft, fried dough (donuts, sopapillas, beignets, poori) - especially when it's combined with savory ingredients.  Every bite of this pie was robust (tomato sauce and basil), salty (mozzarella), buttery, and warm.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed my meal at Forcella, until a very odd young family sat down in front of us.  I won't go in to detail, but I'll just say that I grudgingly wasn't able to finish the last 1/4 of my Montanara slice.  Aside from that episode, the three of us found the food to be reasonably priced and portioned, flavorful and, quite possibly, the cure for a brutal hangover.

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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