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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Next Magazine Review - Co.

230 Ninth Ave (@ 24th St)

By Peter Sherwood

The vibe is undeniable at Co. (pronounced “Company”), the 56-seater already abuzz with a hip, hungry crowd all too eager to try any number of the pizzas emerging hot! hot! hot! from the EarthStone gas oven. The newest spot from Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey is just as incendiary from what we could tell. But it’s hardly traditional. When the menu asserts, “Our pies are not always round,” there’s already an implication that extends beyond circumference.

We sat at the bar, anticipation having gotten the best of us, unwilling to wait for a table for two. After hovering around the wine list, I finally landed on the suitable Chenin Blanc ($12/glass, $44/bottle) from Long Island. My cohort cut to the chase and ordered a Palm Beer ($8), a lighter lager. To temper our taste buds we chose the rich, softened Italian Taleggio ($5) cow’s milk cheese from the à la carte selections, which we followed with a single Toast ($4) featuring a generous slathering of delicious chicken liver. Other options included roasted eggplant and pinto bean. A Butter Leaf Salad ($7) worked with wonderful roasted butternut squash for a beautiful taste, and lemon and olive oil for a silken dressing.

Though everything we’d already tried wasn’t a mere preamble, we were ready for our pies! The basic Margherita ($13) was very good, with a chewy crust, topped by fresh tomato, a thin layer of buffalo mozzarella and a summery burst of basil. The Flambé ($16) however, had a lot of cheese, including more mozzarella and Parmesan. It also featured an excellent crust, upon which danced broad, sweet slices of caramelized onions and lardons (that’s bacon, bub) in a creamy béchamel sauce. Boscaiola ($17) was a major thumbs up. Here the tomato and mozzarella trucked with pork sausage, mushroom, onion and chili, which had a definite bite.

Our dessert was a few tingly orbs of Blood Orange Sherbet ($3.50) with flecks of vanilla bean. It was a little tart, not unlike St. Joseph’s baby aspirin, and resembled Russian dressing; both are meant as entirely good things. Yes! We were certainly in good company here.

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