Zagat Editor Kelly Dobkin recently stopped by a new spot on the Lower East Side that's serving up authentic Neopolitan-style pizza using a 2,000-year-old oven.
Here's what Via Tribunali founder and owner Michael McConnell had to say about it:
McConnell on the pizza: We do a true Neopolitan-style pizza here. Outside of Naples, this is the most authentic replication you'll find in America. In order to make truly Neopolitan pizza, you have to start with the right oven. The oven is a 2,000-year-old design, built with volcanic stone by Neopolitan brick masons. One of my favorite pizzas on the menu is the D.O.C. - it's a Margherita pizza with Buffalo mozzarella cheese that we import weekly from Naples. Our sauce is purely just the tomatoes which are also important from Naples. They're sweet, tomato is a fruit, they taste like a fruit - they're amazing. One of things that is consistent is all the Via Tribunalis is this sconces - these are a common style of metalwork you'd see on the streets of Naples which is where I found them.
McConnell on Caffé Vita: Caffé Vita was started in 1995 in Seattle, Washington. We definitely were a pioneer in the farm-direct movement, starting in 1997 bringing containers from Sumatra, Indonesia to Seattle. The roaster that's in the shop is from the 1900s. It's a small-shop roaster made by a company called Gothot and we'll be roasting daily in the shop with that. The espresso machine we use is a vintage '70s espresso machine that makes beautiful coffee.
McConnell on the move to New York: I think the move to New York just made sense for us: It's a big market, known for pizza. If you were to go to Naples, this is the pizza you would find there. It's a duplication exactly of what you'd find there, in some cases better.