A LUST FOR THE CRUST
unassuming little café viva, with its jumble of nondescript tables set up across from the pizza oven, has been on broadway for nearly as long as i can remember. the menu calls attention to the "natural" and "kosher" pizza, blessed by rabbi yaakov spivak, so a sign says. these are not words that normally entice me. but the napoletana slice with whole-wheat crust ($2.50) does entice me, every single time.
the secret of café viva's pizza is in the crusts. all of them-whether spelt, corn crust, whole wheat or good old flour-are thin but sturdy enough to
hold a variety of toppings-from green-tea herbed miso-tofu to soy sausage or plain old mozzarella-without drooping (horrors). slices are dusty with cornmeal on the bottom and have a nice thin layer of topping that doesn't ooze off if turned upside down (more horrors). wanting to sample the unusual corn crust pizza, i tried the azteca ($3.55), which comes laden with mozzarella, red onion, red pepper and corn kernels. yet, this slice was too fussy for me and didn't taste remotely mexican. i snagged some of my daughter's napoletana, instead, loving the simplicity of tomato, cheese and mild whispers of garlic and oregano on the rustic whole wheat.
(near 97th street)
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