Revisit: Keste Pizzeria in the West Village

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The beehive oven squats at the end of Keste, its guts filled with volcano stone from Sorrento, looking more like an Olmec head or maybe R2-D2 than an oven.

I'm pleased to announce that the pizzas at Keste have gotten much better since I reviled them for sloppy baking several months ago, and attributed it to inexperience with their own oven. Wood ovens are like people; it takes a while to get to know them. At the time, I promised to return after the oven had been broken in.

Sarah DiGregorio wasn't particularly impressed, either.

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The margherita ($12) I ate there yesterday was a masterpiece, sporting a pristine floe of white cheese, pleasantly plain tomato sauce, a perfect strew of basil leaves, and, most important, a crust worthy of Naples places like Da Michele, stipled with char, thin and wobbly in the middle under the admittedly damp ingredients, the crust around the periphery bulbous and tender without being doughy or underdone.

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The margherita pie at Keste is now an enduring thing of beauty.


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