337 E 10th St
(between Avenue B & Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009
I had a slice of Gnocco’s pizza a few months ago when we needed just a snack before drinks at Evelyn, a new “mixology” bar a street over. I was ravenous so wolfed down my slice and thought it was one of the best slices I’d had, comparable to my absolute favorite Luzzo’s. A week or so later, I practically dragged L.C. over, along with B.A., E.C., D.T., and A.P., because I wanted to share my delight in finding a new go-to pizza place in our part of town. This second time around, no less ravenous than last time but far more in the mood to formally critique my food, I found Gnocco just a tad disappointing. We shared some pizzas and pastas and left feeling pretty good, but not Luzzo-tastic.
Pictured above is the Al Salame Piccante ($14.95) with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, and spicy hot salame. We shared two pizzas as a group and this was one I suggested because it was the one I had tried before. The mozzarella was melted but still slightly springy. It was not too salty, which was fine, because the salame provided the perfect meaty savoriness to the pizza. The edges of the salame were crisp and burnt – delicious. Tomato sauce tasted fresh and was liberally applied. Crust was… good. Crust may have been the only sub-par item compared to Luzzo’s. It was floppy the way I like it but it was not chewy enough. It didn’t have the springy texture that Luzzo’s crust always has.
Pictured here is another pizza we ordered to share, the Bufalina ($19.45). It was a long oval shaped pie with fresh buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Simplicity. Expensive simplicity. Sure, it was good, as you can’t really go wrong with those ingredients. The flavors were very subtle and aromatic. It was the kind of pizza where you would want to hold each bite in your mouth just a tad bit longer so your taste buds could comprehend the flavors. Crust was a little chewier than the other pizza, probably because it didn’t need to soak up any sauce.
For our individual dishes, LAW had another pizza: the Porcini ($18.45) with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, porcini mushrooms, and smoked scamorza. This one was less saucy than the first pizza, which was nice. Gnocco’s tomato sauce is pretty flavorful so any more of it would’ve masked the shroomy flavor. Smoked scamorza is a smoked mozzarella cheese. I could only really taste the smokiness in the aftertaste. Again, decent pie. A little expensive for its size.
I had the Orecchiette Con Salsiccia E Broccoli ($16.45), which was orecchiette pasta with spicy Italian sausage and broccoli rabe. This is one of my favorite pastas to order at restaurants because it’s one I never make at home. Unfortunately, this time this pasta really dampened my night. The pasta was hard at its center and mushy on the outside layer. It tasted like noodles coming out of a stew. It actually really tasted like something my grandma always makes for me when I was sick at home, called 猫耳朵 (or “Cat Ear” because of the way the noodles are shaped). Grandma’s cat ear stew is great for sick days because it is mild, soft, and warm. When I’m healthy and paying $17 bucks for it, it just tastes bland, soggy, and lukewarm.
A.P. ordered the Calzone Nutella ($14.95), which was a gigantic pizza dough shell filled with hazelnut chocolate spread and ricotta cheese. I didn’t get around to trying this even though A.P. finished only half of it. I think she said it was good. It was just way too large for one person. Definitely meant to be shared. I also would’ve probably preferred a nutella pizza instead of a calzone because I tend to like more bread to filling ratio, similar to how I like most of my sandwiches (in cases where the filling is extra awesome, a 1:1 ratio is adequate).