Nizza, 630 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10036
While reading Celiac Chick’s post on her trip to Italy, I learned about socca, the gluten-free chickpea flour bread popular in Italy and Nice, France that can be topped like a pizza. I also learned that I could get it here in NYC, at Nizza.
The timing couldn’t have been better. I had a dinner-date with my friend Erin, who is also a celiac, and I was tasked with picking the restaurant. Reservations for two at 6:15 on a Wednesday were no problem and easily confirmed with opentable.com. Nizza has a warm, cozy ambience, is darkly lit, and mostly arranged in tables of two; but instead of feeling romantic and calm, it is actually quite lively and at 6:30 was buzzing with conversation.
Since Erin was running late, I had a good long time to look at the menu. Nizza has a gluten-free menu that is certified by the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program. Awesome. I knew that I wanted the socca, because that is why I chose Nizza. But, Nizza had some intriguing pasta options made with Le Veneziane corn pasta. THis pasta has ben extolled by many GF-ers and non-GFers alike (just good the name and you’ll see). I have yet to try it. Next time.
When Erin arrived, we orered a half carafe of the house red, because its cheap and I just love drinking wine from a carafe. Reminds me of France. There is also a gluten free beer on the menu- Bard’s- my favorite. NIzza earns extra points for that. Erin went back and forth between the pasta and the socca, but ultimately, we both ordered the socca. Erin had the quattro formaggi and I had the artichoke, goat cheese, and olive socca It wasn’t on the menu, but the waiter said it was his favorite and I’m a sucker for goat cheese. They were beautiful. I forgot my camera, so I can’t show you, but they were beautiful. Erin put her socca in my face to smell and the four fragrant cheeses filled my nostrils. My socca wasn’t as fragrant, but it was quite delicious. The chickpea flour crust was softer than regular pizza crust, which made eating it with a fork a knife necessary. I would have preferred more goat cheese, because you can never have too much cheese, but otherwise it was perfect. The salty olive combined quite nicely with the sweet, rich goat cheese, and the texture of the artichoke kept each bite interesting. Mmmm. It was a satisfying meal with good company, good food, and good wine.
Oh, if you want to make you’re own socca, Mark Bittman has a recipe. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my to do list.