Thursday, April 4, 2013

Now Eating: Wild NYC

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 10.32.35 PMWild NYC
Above right picture courtesy of Daily Candy
Last week I went to the new restaurant in the West Village that I heard served gluten-free, dairy-free pizza on a vegan crust. I immediately called upon some friends to help me go test it out on Friday night. The restaurant Wild NYC was opened by Miki Agrawal, of Slice fame. Like Slice it supports local farms and promises ingredients harvested with respect to the primitive state. Even the beer and wine served is all from within the State of New York.

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Usually when it comes to gluten-free, dairy-free pizza I can get a pie at an establishment like Keste but only on the less busy Monday night that will be a marinara pie with no additional toppings. It gets the job done but doesn't give me much wiggle room for options. At Wild, I was thoroughly impressed with the wide selection of choices I had. Although the menu does not state it, Wild offers dairy-free mozerella and homemade dairy-free ricotta for the dairy-free or vegan customer. If you so choose, the Artichoke Fennel, Sweet Capicola and Roasted Vegetable are all options that you can get that don't have any faux cheese on them either. Service staff was knowledgable and friendly with my questions regarding dairy-free options.

I couldn't resist the idea of a homemade dairy-free ricotta and eagerly ordered the Truffled Ricotta with black pepper and olive oil for. I ended up ordering a share portion for $26 and was a little disappointed when the tray came down to the table, since I was expecting a bigger pizza. I honestly think that I probably could've ate both pies. Maybe if each pie was 25-30% bigger it would have been more satisfying for what I was expecting? My friends who ordered a pizza with real dairy on it felt the same way.

As for the taste, the crust was very thin crust and almost cracker-like in some areas - not for those who like a pillow-y pie. The crust made with wild yeast had a good flavor that did not necessarily scream gluten-free.  The middle of the pie was what was delicious though. My first bite I hit some mozerella that tasted a lot like Daiya cheese, the next bite was what won me for taste. The faux ricotta cheese paired with sharp black pepper and the rich mouth filling flavor of truffle was a winner.

I also ordered a Ginger lemonade which was delicious. If you are a ginger fan, you'll love this drink. Ginger that has been finely shaved with a microplane grater is dispersed throughout the tart but perfectly sweetened lemonade.
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I ended up splitting dessert and have to tell you that the dessert pizza for $12 is an absolute winner. It was by far my favorite thing that I tried. Fresh berries, ricotta on a warm crust dusted with icing sugar and mint leaves was delicious through and through. I would come back just to get this dessert because I almost felt like I was cheating eating dairy and gluten when logically I knew I wasn't. The pizza was about the same size as the dinner pizza, but since it was dessert, a larger pizza didn't seem necessary.

I also tried the flourless chocolate cake with berry compote which was rich and moist. My friend was disappointed that there was not chocolate lava, but the menu didn't promise lava cake. This dessert had a mild rice flour flavor that could be tasted over the chocolate. Definitely had a bit of a gluten-free taste. I enjoyed the cake as long as there was berry compote to dip it in, but it was nothing to write home about.

Overall, it was nice to go to a restaurant where I could feel normal again, pre eating intollerances. Having more than one option I can eat is pretty amazing. The quality of ingredients is high and everything tasted very fresh. However, the pizza portions are on the small side, your bill can add up quickly, even though at first glance prices seem reasonable, even without alcoholic drinks the total came up to about $33 per person for 1 pizza each, 1 beverage and shared dessert. A bit steep considering that our dining companions (the boys) ended up leaving hungry.

Wild NYC, 535 Hudson St, New York, New York. 212-929-2920

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