New Pizzeria in Tribeca: American Flatbread
American Flatbread is a small but ambitious chain of pizza parlors that originated in
New Hampshire Vermont. The chain recently opened a massive new pizza parlor at the corner of Hudson and Canal. As you wait for your pies, you can watch convoluted lines of cars entering the tunnel as they go back to Jersey. "What a beautiful view!" The waiter exclaimed, as the two of us stared out the window in near-disbelief, wondering at the chain's choice of location.
The room is L-shaped and certainly holds over 100 diners. There's a bar at one end, then a pair of wood-burning beehive ovens, which form the centerpiece of the décor. One is currently operating; the other appears to be still under construction.
Booths fan out from the ovens, then go around a corner into an alcove. There are lots of windows. At night, the room is dimly lit, mainly by street lights. The wine list seems sophisticated for a pizza parlor, and not all that badly priced. (Glass of decent Austrian Zweigelt: $9). The by-the-bottle list offers mainly New York, California, French, and Italian wines. The draft beer list features brews from New England.
The service is enthusiastic. "I feel like I'm in a Shakey's," my guest observed, noting the rather corporate-seeming trappings of the place.
The concept is Yankee/Hippie: locally sourced ingredients, including New England cheeses, free-range pork, organic onions, yeast-risen bread with wheat germ restored. An even clearer picture may be formed by reading the names of the pies: Medicine Wheel, Punctuated Equilibrium, TriBeCa Community Revolution Bread, Dancing Heart Bread.
Three salads are offered. We chose the winter vegetable number, which had beets, shaved fennel, "roasted local squash," spiced pecans, and lettuce. The spiced pecans were a species of candy, the dressing on the sweet side, the beets relatively profuse, but the "roasted local squash" almost nonexistent. About 95% of the mass of the salad was lettuce of the infant variety. Not bad for $8.50, since it was shareable.