There’s no question: New Yorkers have rigid ideas about what is authentic to the Big Apple. But that doesn’t mean we’re not open to other ideas, especially when it comes to flavors. Just own it, which is exactly what Neapolitan pizzeria Kesté does.
The name of the pizzeria translates to “This is it,” which definitely smacks of a New York attitude. The pizzaiolo, though, is pure Italian: His name is Roberto Caporuscio, and when he’s not making ultra-traditional pies, such as his signature Kesté (tomato, imported buffalo mozzarella, proscioutto di Parma, arugula, extra virgin olive oil, $19), he’s coming up with brilliant “speciales,” such as the pistachio and salsiccia ($21). An alluring assemblage of toppings that confront palate with earthy delights, the combination includes a nut-forward pistachio pesto; crumbly, salty sausage; a mix of oozy homemade mozzarella balanced by a tart Pecorino Romano; the herbal kick of basil; and an appropriate drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The signature dough is stretchy, chewy, laced with a smoky char.
Opened in 2009 in the West Village, Kesté is the official location of the APN, the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli, an organization from the “old country” dedicated to preserving the art of pizza-making. So while some of Caporuscio’s flavor combos may seem novel to the average New Yorker, those in-the-know understand that each pie has a history dating back centuries.