Last week marked the opening of Wazee Wood Fire Pizza, the sister restaurant to New York restaurateur Charlie Palmer's month-old District Meats. I'm happy to see that the eatery finally makes good use of the unruly, narrow space that previously haunted both Big Game and Il Fornaio.
Order at the rounded counter, ogle the hulking brick pizza oven, and choose to stay or go—slices are New York huge (perfect for folding) or you can get a whole pie. I tried three slices: pepperoni; the Western New Yorker with grilled chicken, blue cheese, and hot sauce (think Buffalo wings); and the bagel-with-lox-ish Norwegian (pictured) with smoked salmon, dill, cream cheese, and potato chips dusted with piment d'espelette.
I liked the pepperoni's characteristically greasy cheese, sweet sauce, and crispy-ringed meat. I was intrigued by the Norwegian's rich and smooth flavors (though I couldn't eat a slice by myself). And I loved the Western's sultry combination of spice and funk—this will become a lunchtime staple.
Next visit, I've already got my eye on the panzanella salad and the veal and ricotta meatball grinder.
Tip: If you eat in, nab whichever seat you can find at the hodgepodge of two-tops, small booths, and a community table. Wherever you sit, beware of the reclaimed tractor seat chairs—the stools are funky-cool but precariously tippy.
1631 Wazee St., 303-623-2105