Delivery with Class
Delivery File #4: Campania (9824 Fourth Avenue)
Pizza is sacred in Bay Ridge. You could talk about favorite slices, pies, round versus square, sweet sauce and not-so-sweet sauce, with almost anyone you bump into as if you were discussing religion. As part of this delivery series I felt that I had to at least order one pizza in order to remain relevant. Even thought the dining room of Campania Coal Fired Pizza is very fine, we’re still partial to unboxing a delicious pie at home.
We love what a coal-fired oven can do, even while acknowledging the environmental implications it has among our more judgmental family and friends. Campania’s coal oven is what makes its food so special. Coal ovens can burn as hot as 900 degrees, versus an electric pizza-oven that might top out at a little more than 600. I’ve always wondered why my homemade pizzas never came out right; it was my paltry 500 degree max! When you are burning that hot, the pizzas cook in just a couple minutes and come out hot, crisp and covered with crunchy charred bubbles of perfection. That oven can also fire-roast peppers or bake scorching hot sandwiches instantly.
Campania can usually test the patience of a growling stomach with delivery times closer to an hour than a more acceptable half. Knowing this, we pulled the trigger on this order while we were sitting in our car with two sleeping kids in back. We ordered simply: a 16-inch margherita pizza and a 14-inch polpette sandwich (meatball). Our other favorite is the pricier Lombarda; you would be well served if you gave it a try, too. Pro-tip: the menu is populated with specialty pies—the Margherita is one—which are listed by default at 12-inches. You’ll want to upgrade your pie like we did to a 16-inch if you’re only getting one, and if you’re sticking with a 12-inch, do yourself a favor and get a second pie. The 12-inch margherita is $12; and the upgrade to 16-inch adds $6. Our total bill was a significant (but not second-mortgage worthy) $35. Shocking everyone in our household, including our 1-year-old, the food came in an insanely short 25 minutes. The pizza and sandwich arrived exceptionally hot in cardboard boxes with napkins and flatware—and an included salad with Italian vinaigrette.
The margherita pizza was exceptional. It has a crisp, thin crust with just the right amount of char and chewiness and lightly sauced with fresh mozzarella and strips of basil. The departure from the restaurant’s ovens was close enough to maintain this delicate perfection; this is no small feat and must be commended. The polpette was delicious—too hot to eat for several minutes—but I found it to be a little light on tomato sauce. This is a minimal downside because the meatballs were moist and deftly seasoned on a terrific Italian roll. The salad, even though it’s a free side, was just the right size, with fresh greens and a vinaigrette that was better than expected. We left only about a third of the sandwich uneaten and decimated the pizza (no crusts left behind!). It’s just that good.