Monday, October 19, 2009

Via Ponte

On Friday I hopped on a bus out of the city heading back home to Bucks County, PA, but just before I crossed that last river to keystone state heaven, I decided to stop off in Stockton, NJ to see what all the fuss was about over Via Ponte pizza. After grabbing a sixer of my favorite Costa Rican lager at Phillip's right next door, I walked into to Via Ponte.

Wow, what a cool oven! It looks like something Frank Gehry would design or something. You can tell by looking into the hearth that its burning a line of gas in the back, but according to Mark "Famdoc" Horowitz's excellent review of the place, it's also built to burn wood. Sweet! We ordered a Margherita with mozzarella di buffala, a tre formaggi, and a traditional calzone with mozz and ricotta.

Here's the Margherita. Again, low light is the bane of my existence. While we waited for our pizza, we talked up the pizza man on duty, an old guy named Enzo who's been making pizza for over fifty years. "I'm retired," he said. "You look like you're working to me," to which he replied, "This isn't work. This is fun." What a guy. He then walked away for a minute, which might have something to do with the uneven charring on the pizza. Regardless, it tasted fantastic.

The cheese was excellent and the sauce was light and sweet. The cornicione wasn't divinely puffy like the pies that come out of Motorino, but it was nonetheless delicious- a crisp counterpoint to the juicy sauce and cheese.

Just when I thought the pizza couldn't get any better, I tried the tre formaggi which is fresh mozzarella and Gorgonzola cheese, sprinkled with fresh Pecorino-Romano right after the pie is pulled from the oven:

Get out of town. This pizza is fantastic, and is definitely worth going to Via Ponte for. I can't stress that enough.

I didn't get to meet Via Ponte's official pizzaiolo Giuseppe Finazzo or his wife, restaurant manager Katherine Wytovich, but I'd love to speak with them about their pies. If you live in Bucks County, PA or Hunterdon County, NJ, and even if you don't, check this place out.

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