Pizza Beach may have opened on the Lower East Side back in October, but now that its spring, it finally feels like the right — read; non ironic — time to visit the laidback, Orchard Street spot, from the team behind the East Pole and Brinkley’s.
Instead of being your average, unadorned slice shop, the 2,500-square-feet space is outfitted with cerulean blue-painted French doors, flung out onto a newly opened al fresco area; photographs of seascapes hung from whitewashed and artfully worn exposed brick walls; and leafy ferns and twinkly lights draped from the wooden rafters. And while it would seem like a haven for sliders and fish tacos, the menu (designed by ‘inoteca vet, Eric Kleinman) is essentially SoCal meets Southern Italy, featuring Kabocha Squash Caponata, Eggplant Caviar with market crudite and housemade focaccia, Fennel and Asparagus Salad dressed with mint and garlic-lemon vinaigrette, and Chicken Cacciatore Skewers, stacked with cremini mushrooms and San Marzano tomatoes, and brushed with rosemary and chili flakes.
Then there are the Neapolitan-style pizzas, which, while not precisely a paragon of form, get bonus points for campy, quirky toppings, well befitting the fun in the sun theme. Enlivened with jalapenos, the Pineapple and Speck pie puts a thoughtful spin on the Hawaiian, and mozzarella need not apply in a sauceless, spicy round of grassfed Lamb Merguez, shishito peppers and fresh cilantro, pebbled with Oaxaca cheese. The Mushroom and Stracciatella is unexpectedly elegant, boasting white truffle oil, roasted leeks and clouds of mascarpone, although you can easily imagine the over the top Bacon Egg and Cheese (pancetta, béchamel, fontina, carbonara) being readily devoured by ravenous crowds of surfers, after an early morning session spent hanging ten.
And while imbibers may have been less enthusiastic about tumblers of “Beach Juice” (rum, citrus, vanilla, nutmeg), Watermelon Martinis or bottles of Montauk Summer Ale in the dead of winter, they set the stage perfectly for a Cal-Italian spring and summer, spent in NYC.
167 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002