Hell's Kitchen pizza in the oven. Photos by Brian Addison. Full gallery below.
While located in the center of City Place in Downtown, Milana’s New York Pizzeria is like a time warp across the East River to Brooklyn, where owner Adriel Fasci’s family immigrated to from Palermo, Italy. Everything inside Milana’s screams New York. The subway signs, the Yankees’ paraphernalia and mobster movie photos--and especially the pizza. Pizza is very serious business to Fasci.
In fact, not being able to get a slice of pie up to his strict standards was the driving force behind him opening Milana’s. Equal proportions of handmade crust, cheese and sauce, all baked in a 700 degree wood-fire oven until it’s crispy enough to stand on its own or be folded in half for consumption. The cheese? Freshly grated mozzarella. The marinara has been simmering for six hours before it ever touches a crust. That’s pizza the New York way.
The pizza spectrum at Milana’s spans from the traditional margherita--a delicate blend of cheese, fresh basil and diced Northern California tomatoes--to the more adventurous Hells Kitchen, served with sunny-side up eggs on top. Want to test your own pie-ology skills? Milana’s offers over 30 toppings including chorizo, blue cheese and hot dogs.
Just don’t ask for a fork and a knife.
And what would a taste of New York be without a sub sandwich? Departing from the traditional, Milana’s puts a spin on an old deli classic: the pastrami. While you can opt for the mustard-paved road more often traveled when ordering this cured-beef sandwich, the house way of smothering it with the house marinara and jalapeños is equally mouthwatering. The concoction is so impressive, Fasci claims that he charges a fee to friends who asked to put the sandwich on the menu’s at their New York-style restaurants. Royalty or not, this sandwich will be the king of not making it to the fridge, as the mounds of beef stacked between a freshly baked roll and served with a ramequin of marinara are nearly impossible to turn down.
Not to be pigeon-holed into a place that just serves sandwiches and pizzas, Milana’s pasta game is strong, too. The skillet lasagna is a hearty portion of ricotta cheese layered on top of fresh strips of pasta and topped with two Mariano Rivera fastball-sized meatballs. The lasagna, while meant as a dish for one, is large enough to share between two, especially with so many other appetizing options on their New York skyline-topped menu.
The restaurant’s dedication to quality and their utilization of local Italian vendors for authentic flavors in all their food places them in the higher end of the scale for price, especially pizza ($14-20 for an 18” pie). But, it’s the artisan ingredients and the passion behind the process that makes these pizzas rival the lauded Michael’s Pizzeria just down the street. And they deliver (within a 3.5 mile radius).
For those looking to save some cash, they offer a buy one, get one half off deal on their pies every Wednesday.
Art takes time, so an element of patience is required, since the food at Milana’s is made from scratch daily. They suggest you place pizza orders 30 minutes before closing and to allow for a longer wait during peak business hours. There are countless pizza joints in the city but if you’re looking for a better slice of New York style pizza in the city, you can fuh-get about it.
Milana's New York Pizzeria is located at 165 E. 4th Street.