For as trendy as fast casual food is (Fuku comes to mind), virtuous vegetarian fare is just as in vogue (Avant Garden), and in many cases, you’ll actually find them deliciously intertwined, like at Superiority Burger. Such is the case with the recently opened OO+Co, a plant-based pizza concept from celebrity raw food chef, Matthew Kenney, an author, speaker & culinary academy founder, overseeing centers in California, Florida, Thailand and Maine. (You might remember him from Pure Food & Wine before he mysteriously disappeared from the New York food scene, that is until now.)
And while opening a pizzeria in NYC may seem akin to bringing coals to Newcastle, the East Village eatery has little in common with the average corner slice shop. Sure, like many of the city’s hot new pie destinations, it boasts a rustic wood-burning oven, and is certainly not the only establishment to focus on OO flour, which is finely ground, has a low gluten content, and easily stands up to the highest of heat. But in keeping with Kenney’s commitedly plant-based lifestyle, the menu verges sharply from there, eschewing milk mozzarella for a version made with cashews, as well as smoked almond ricotta and sunflower parmesan. They’re melted over other, unusual pizza toppings, all of them vegan (the one pseudo meat product is farro fennel sausage). Otherwise, you can order your pies topped with romesco, cured olives and pickled chilies, baby kale, potatoes and shitakes, truffled celeriac, maitakes and parsley pesto, or oyster mushrooms, green harissa, lemon and walnut cream.
Other, non wood-fired items are also sourced straight from the garden; instead of Italian staples like porchetta and meatballs, you’ll find Rancho Gordo Corona Beans tossed with sherry vinaigrette, Market Radishes strewn with breadcrumbs and accompanied by a nori-infused bagna cauda, butternut squash-swiped Crostini, teamed with the aforementioned ‘ricotta,’ and Sweet Potato Cavatelli Cacio e Pepe, paired with organic wines, and followed by vegan ice cream.
NYC may be the center of the pizza-eating world, but Matthew Kenney’s all-veggie, health-focused pie shop is definitely operating outside of the box. While we’re carnivores and dairy lovers through and through, we have to admit the pizzas and the plates at OO+Co look, well, pretty damn good.