given the extreme pickiness of one member of the family and our constant goal of trying, at least occasionally, to have satisfying meals that we are all happy with, pizza has become our easy food. no matter where we go, usually it is decent (it is hard to make really really inedible pizza). usually we all eat what is needed to constitute a proper meal. and usually, though not always, we leave happy. we had a bit higher bar to meet when my mom was in town to celebrate her 70th birthday (she and k. share the same birthday) and as my mum definitely prefers high quality dining i wasn’t quite sure where we could all go and not have a food meltdown.
jim lahey’s pizza restaurant co. in chelsea turned out to be a good solution. first, if you get there at an absurdly early time there is no wait. that is not true if you arrive after 7 p.m. when the place starts to get insanely packed. second, co. has an excellent selection of salads and starters that make the place feel a little more high end and interesting then the usual pizza spot.
on this visit we had the radicchio (pictured up top) with luscious lumps of ripe and creamy taleggio cheese. we also had the olive oil poached artichoke hearts wtih shaved parmesan, capers, arugula and lemon (pictured above). the cheese was a salty counterpoint to the more bland but rich artichoke hearts and the dressing provided a tartness that pulled the salad together. i also was in heaven with co.’s bread and butter which really wasn’t a surprise since jim lahey’s really known for his amazing sullivan street bakery and i keep wanting to try his famous no knead bread recipe.
and on to the pizza. much has been written about co.’s artisanal pizza, and there are lots of admirers and inevitably some detractors so i’m not covering new ground here. in my few visits to co., i think the pizza ranks in my top five right now, and the good looking, attractive space with a long communal table puts it in the franny’s category for enjoyable pizza places to eat overall.
at our waiter’s suggestion, i ended up getting a very uncharacteristically green one (at least for me) covered with stracciatella, crushed tomato, black pepper and a huge pile of arugula. this stringy cheese which i had never had was smooth and supple, and made for a great combination with the bitter greens on the crisp just charred crust. other pizzas that night included two more with lots of green — the popeye with tons of spinach, gruyére and buffalo mozzarella as well as the standard margarita. given its key location just north of 24th street where there aren’t too many choices quick and tasty food choices, co. is a good addition. and while we weren’t able to prevent additional food related meltdowns that weekend, at least for one night at co. there was lots of contentment. co. 230 9th avenue at 24th street, manhattan, new york, 212.243.1105.