Eating pizza in an art gallery just north of Times Square seems downright sacrilegious, but PizzArte on West 55th Street manages to pull it off delightfully. On our visit, Paola Romano’s bubbling explorations of lunar-like textures hung on the walls of the upstairs dining room, but exhibits rotate in the pizzeria that co-owners Bruno Cilio and Dario Cipollaro de l’Ero claim is New York’s only restaurant gallery. Whether that’s true or not, the juxtaposition of Romano’s gray scale works and PizzArte’s vibrant Italian cuisine is a success.
In the kitchen, executive chef Antonio Pisaniello and his staff churn out some of the best pizzas the city has to offer, from basic Neapolitan with globs of Buffala mozzarella to earthy tartufata with black truffle, mushrooms, and speck. Each pie is a textbook example of the form, and there are 19 different varieties (some available gluten-free) to choose from.
Beyond pizza, the six-hour simmered ragu of pork and beef with San Marzano tomatoes over twisted fusilli is cooked perfectly al dente and the gnocchi with butternut squash sauce, sage, and Parmesan is sweet and light. The must-try dish, though, is agnello cacio e uova, a deconstructed lamb stew consisting of lamb chops, a cooked egg, pecorino sauce, artichokes, and fritatta. Another favorite is Pisaniello’s Chilean sea bass, plated simply with white wine and a light, sweet tomato sauce. So while the exhibits are nice, the real art is happening on the plate. 69 W. 55th St., 212-247-3936