At long last, we meet you Marta!
Marta is an Italian restaurant in the lobby of the Martha Washington hotel in Gramercy/Flatiron. It opened a little over half a year ago, and it was nearly impossible to get a reservation. Marta was the talk of the town. I read a review in Time Out New York that brought tears to my eyes and saliva to my mouth; I want to know what pizza crust shattering like fine blown glass tasted like!! I follow them on Instagram and all their photos are mouth-wateringly enticing. We tried getting a table on a walk-in once in January and were told it would be a three hour wait. Was the hype worth it? Turns out...YES!
Reservations are a little easier to come by now. We popped in for lunch today and were greeted with a sexy/dark/minimalist aesthetic and massive cherry tree branches in vases sprouting to the ceiling. The wait between ordering and pizza reception was a little longer than I anticipated for such thin crust pizzas, and I was almost hangry with eagerness to eat my 'za. Finally, my beautiful patate alla carbonara pizza arrived, and Alex got his macellaio. Patate alla carbonara, my friends, is a white pizza with small cubes of potato, guanciale (pig cheek - tastes like bacon), coddled egg, black pepper, and salty pecorino cheese dusted atop. Macellaio has sopressata in a style similar to pepperoni, sausage, guanciale, and grana padano cheese - definitely for the meat lovers. I marveled at how thin the crust was: sturdy enough to hold the toppings without drooping when you held a slice up, but seemingly brittle once you bite down. It was an incredible pizza, a little messy, a lot of pork fat saltiness balanced with the mildness of egg and potato, and had me wanting more and more. I even changed my phone background to a picture of patate alla carbonara, no joke.
We also tried out a new dessert on the menu: lemon olive oil cake with rhubarb bits and vanilla ice cream. The cake was very moist and lemony, and though we were expecting a little bit of olive oil flavor, it turns out olive oil is mostly there to give the cake density and moistness. The edges of the cake were crunchy. The vanilla ice cream was BOMB, but my favorite thing was the beautiful colors of yellow cake, white ice cream, red rhubarb, and green mint leave contrasting against the gorgeous blue of the hand-painted plates.
I'm in heaven right now, my stomach remembering the fond memory of the lunch we just had today. Trying to plan another time when I can return, to try every pizza on the menu, perhaps even more than once.