The recession seems to have instigated lots of restaurants both new and established to serve less expensive fare, namely pizza and sandwiches. Having covered many of the new sandwich spots, I’m now turning my attention to the proliferation of pizza joints. I’m generally a fan of pizza, from the humble New York slice to the thin and crispy crust with fancy toppings.
Tonda serves Neopolitan pizza, baked in a custom-built wood burning oven that reaches 1000 degrees and circulates the pie on a sort of lazy-susan contraption, so that once it makes a full rotation, the pizza is done. The crust is pillowy and a bit doughier than I would have thought. The options for toppings were enticing, and we settled on the mozzarella, spicy sausage and fresh tomato pie. Our first complaint when the pizza arrived was that it’s not cut into slices. Why would you want to leave that task to the diner? It’s frustrating and annoying. Also, we weren’t thrilled with the sausage. It was tough and too spicy and we ended up picking it off and building a pile of it on the side. We did enjoy the tomato and mozzarella, which tasted extremely fresh and authentic.
As for the rest of the menu, we only tried the cauliflower salad and the homemade breadsticks with prosciutto and goat cheese. The salad was crunchy and bright with acid and generally a nice addition. The breadsticks were a bit chewy and didn’t make a ton of sense with the prosciutto and goat cheese, but we ate them anyway. Bottom line: If you’re looking for new Italian to try in the East Village and you want to see a cool wood-burning oven, go to Tonda. It won’t change your life, but it’s pleasant.