334 Bowery St (Bond/Great Jones), Noho / East Village

About two weeks ago I profiled Basil Brick Oven Pizza in Astoria, one of the nominees for Time Out NY’s Best New Pizzeria Award, and while it didn’t win, I was convinced it should have. Instead of just sulking in the anti-Queens paranoia I was feeling, I decided to take matters (pizza) into my own hands and check out the award winner, Forcella on the Bowery. Forcella offers traditional Neapolitan pizza from a huge tiled round oven. The dough is slightly chewier than Basil’s and equally as delicious. Along with foodie friends Kim & Jared, we tried one with potatoes, pancetta, barrata (amazing homemade cheese) and rosemary, another with caramelized fennel, smoked mozzarella and sausage, and a third with arugula, mozzarella, lemon slices and pecorino. They were all delicious, and I actually really enjoyed the lemon slices. While Forcella has 20 pizza varieties to Basil’s 40, it does offer a fuller menu and a nicer, more spacious atmosphere, at least until Basil’s renovations are complete. But what really must have put Forcella into the winner’s circle is its signature **fried pizza**. Now don’t think deep fried Texas State Fair pizza, this pizza is flash fried which yields a rougher texture, quite similar to how I imagine a savory zeppole would taste. Since the dough is the star here, we tried the Montanara ($10), a simple Margherita preparation. The flash frying really took this pizza to another level, which I would recommend trying, it’s something special. I guess the ancient adage is correct: everything is better fried.