Rarely do I post I’m-traveling-somewhere-and-want-restaurant-recommendations on social media. Although it might yield results I wouldn’t otherwise be privy to... on the few occasions I’ve put out the call, I’ve gotten so many referrals that it caused me food agenda planning panic attacks. I wanted to go everywhere and eat everything! Fear of culinarily missing out strategy failed for two reasons. 1) Fitting in six restaurants a day is exhausting and leaves no time for spontaneity or (gasp) activities that don’t involve eating and 2) I no longer have the gastric stamina or the desire to consume that much fucking food. Hence, new strategy: Quality > quantity.
So for my March New Orleans trip, I privately reached out to one chef friend and my sous chef and asked for only a couple of well-curated recommendations on where to eat. Their recs, overlapping with my own research, were great: Cochon. Pesce. Willie Mae’s Scotch House. But the best meal I ate in NOLA was at Pizza Delicious. Why? Because everything about this place is magical and delicious.
While Pizza D has earned numerous accolades (restaurant of the year in NOLA 2014 and multiple entries on best pizza in America lists) they haven’t let it go to their heads. They keep their product and brand simple and streamlined. Not a ton of menu items, but what they do dish out is spot on done well. The joint is located in a converted warehouse building on a quiet street in Bywater. Not a ton of street traffic, and it’s a bit off the beaten path. The space is well-designed, bright and clean. It’s like a face-lifted version of your favorite corner slice shop on NYC, but not ornate or pretentious. You can eat pizza standing up at a rail, or a table in the dining room, or grab it to go. The people that work there are funny, unique and kind.
In short, this place is everything I love about an outstanding, one-of-a-kind restaurant.
I met the chef and owner, Michael, when he came to my restaurant, Honey Butter Fried Chicken, over the summer. He couldn’t stop gushing about HBFC and my pizza loving business partner, Josh, had been enthusiastically following Pizza D’s progress since its inception. Thus, much restaurant industry chat ensued. The conversation ended with us placing our soon-to-be former-and-moving-to-New Orleans employee Nick in Michael’s employ and with us pledging to visit NOLA soon for a slice.
Upon my visit, a slice turned into the whole menu. Which isn’t much of a surprise when a chef visits another chef’s restaurant. Lucky for me, I had friend dining companion reinforcements to help pick up my slack. Cue the delicious:
Garlicky knots of pizza dough and marinara. Hands down the best ceasar salad I’ve ever had. A pretty kale and farro salad with crunchy radish and roasted veggies. Handmade orecchiette with hearty greens and housemade sausage. Bucatini with peas, housemade gaunciale, aged cheese and lots of (my beloved) black pepper. The most flawless thin crust margherita pizza, bubbling with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce, torn basil warming on the surface and scenting the air as the pie was placed before me like a shiny offering of pizza heaven. Sigh. Perfect pizza, pasta and salad. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Until it did -- and I was invited to tour the kitchen and help make some pizza. Despite being dressed in the most not kitchen clothes (read: skirt, open-toed shoes, tank top) I donned an apron and got to work. I’m not sure Michael would hire me, as my pizza crafting skills were a bit slow and uneven. But boy was my afternoon at Pizza D ever fun. And delightfully delicious.
If you were only able to choose one restaurant in NOLA to eat at, I would pick Pizza Delicious. Quality > quantity.