Adoro Lei

I was invited here for a press event pizza party by a friend of mine who works in the food business.

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I’m always on the hunt for good pizza, so I was psyched to try this place. But this joint is more than just pizza. They have great cocktails, a really nice menu, and a good beer selection as well.

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That’s the pizza oven up top, and just underneath, you can see this dude rolling out the pizza dough with a wine bottle. That’s some old school type shit!

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Let me guide you through this awesome meal. First, we had the “Burrata Divine,” which is a nice tasty blob of burrata cheese on top of eggplant with some grape tomatoes and arugula, drizzled with a truffle honey.

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This was some good shit. The burrata was soft and flavorful, and the truffle honey was a nice touch of sweet against the peppery arugula.

Next up was “Chianti Kale,” a kale, spinach and shitake mushroom salad with shaved ricotta and fried salsify, tossed in a Chianti-sesame dressing. I’m usually quick to mock kale, but this was actually an awesome salad. It had depth to it from the sesame and Chianti dressing.

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We also had the “Sous-Vide Beets.” The beets were warm and plated at the base of the dish, with arugula, frisee, candied walnuts, goat cheese and blackberries on top. This was tossed with a walnut dressing.

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This was earthy, sweet, hearty and savory all at once. Now that I know beets are this good when cooked sous vide, I’ll definitely be throwing them in my homemade machine at the old Johnny Prime Food Research Lab.

We snacked on some grilled shishito peppers with shaved almonds while waiting for the next courses to arrive. These were lightly salted. Very nice, with a mild heat to them.

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My favorite items of the night were these “Adoro Sliders,” which were essentially braised veal and pork meatballs with a tomato sauce and sheep’s milk ricotta on a slider bun.

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The bun was soft and strong, as you would expect from any good burger. The meat was tender and juicy, just like a really good meatball. This was the perfect Italian burger. I loved it. They’re a bit pricey at three for $14, but well worth the money in terms of taste.

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Another star dish was the “Lovers’ Purses.” These were pasta dumplings filled with cheese, and served with pear, brown butter sage sauce, roasted walnuts, arugula and parmesan shavings.

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They were dense and cooked al dente, but they weren’t heavy.

The last of the pre-pizza items was the “Espresso Tuna.”

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Cooked to a perfect rare / medium rare, this tuna had an espresso dry rub and was served on top of spinach and fingerling potatoes, and topped with toasted pistachio nuts and roasted red peppers. The pomegranate Thai basil reduction sauce was what really set this dish apart. The acidity was perfectly balanced against the sweet components, and despite the distinctively Asian ingredients, it really tasted like a natural Italian dish. Nicely done.

Okay so here comes the pizza. I will start with the least favorite – which is by no means “not good” – and work my way to the best. This first pie is the traditional tomato sauce and cheese style, called “Casanova” at this joint.

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The flavors were good, just not as robust as some of the other items from the night. This pie was a bit limp in the center, where the sauce and cheese were heaviest, so any lack of stiffness in the crust will cause some concern.

Next up was the “Veronica” pizza. This had burrata, kale, grape tomatoes, pecorino and basil.

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Not a bad pie, but also just not as memorable as a good traditional or a really unique specialty pie. The crust was nice and crisp, and the toppings weren’t too heavy or overpowering of one another.

The big winner was the “Pietro.” This is essentially an arugula and prosciutto style dry pie, topped with marinated cherry tomatoes, basil, pecorino, shaved parmesan and truffle oil.

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The use of truffle oil was delicate and skilled here. It wasn’t overpowering. The cheeses were perfect with the prosciutto, and despite this being bold on flavor, it never overwhelmed my palate. I’d come back for this any day. Look at us going bonkers with the photos and ooey gooey slices!

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We also got to try some dessert. First was this nutella pizza, which was sweet dough on top and bottom, sandwiching a nice layer of nutella and topped with powdered sugar.

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Be careful not to breathe in when taking a bite. That powdered sugar can be a coughing fit in the making!

There was also a really nice fried dough item called nutella fingers, which consisted of logs of fried dough served with nutella, blackberries and whipped cream. Simple and delicious. This was my favorite of the two desserts. The dough was crisp on the outside but pillow-soft on the inside, and nice and warm the whole way through.

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All the while during the meal we were having a beer tasting. We tried six different brews. My favorite ended up being an Ommegang, with the Bluepoint Toasted right behind.

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Get down here for some food. You will definitely go home happy!

ADORO LEI
287 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10013

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