Restaurant Review: Ovest Pizzoteca


I can't keep quiet about Ovest any longer. This is not about publicity, it's a public service. The industrial-rustic pizzeria has grown by word of mouth since it opened earlier this year, filled with the buzz of an artsy Chelsea gallery crowd (the bold eyewear gives them away). Other boho fans park their bikes by the open air communal table, gathering for happy hour (Monday-Friday until 8pm), when there's a spread of free Italian food. Yes, free! Buy a cocktail or glass of wine, such as the strawberry-scented rosé from Cerasuolo ($9) or an organic, dark and plummy merlot from Corte d'Aibo ($11) and load up your plate. Such generosity is a Northern Italian tradition. We had sweet, juicy triangles of watermelon, thin crust pesto pizza, pesto pasta, mini grilled panini filled with salami, tomato and arugula (the best) and a healthy farro salad dotted with tomatoes and mozzarella. Before I knew about this beneficence, I arrived for dinner one night at 8pm, just as the buffet was being taken away. I was still happy to pay for a chewy, nicely blistered pizza with spicy salami, mozzarella di bufala and basil ($10/$19) fired in the wide-mouthed, wood-burning oven. Michele Iuliano, whom you may know from Luzzo's in the East Village, is the expert pizzaiolo here. His pie with prosciutto, arugula and shaved Parmigiano ($11/$20) was also heaven. We supplemented the pizza with lush eggplant parmigiana ($10) and fried artichokes ($10) that were better than I've had in Italy. As much as I relished it all, I've made sure to get there a lot earlier on my subsequent visits. Who can resist free?

513 W. 27th St.,

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