I am a huge fan of restaurateur & television personality Donatella Arpaia. I am also a big fan of anything that involves pizza or Italian food nonetheless. So when you combine two things that I have a big fondness for, naturally you will find a big smile on my face as I know I will be in for something good. This was the experience I had last night as I took my friend to Donatella’s latest venture, Prova Pizzabar, located inside the iconic Grand Central Station.
Donatella is a culinary icon here in Manhattan and beyond, with legendary locations she has brought to life like Anthos, Kefi and Donatella, just to name a few. She is also a force to be reckoned with on the small screen, appearing on Food Network shows like Chopped and being a judge on Iron Chef America, as well as spicing up morning television with her cooking segments on The Today Show. Prova Pizzabar, with its tagline “Pizza Enlightened”, truly showcases her talents in authentic Italian cooking with its out of this world pizza selections as well as yummy starters and finishers that will leave you feeling full and happy.
The location itself is moderate in size, maybe 30 to 40 seats in its corner location downstairs in Grand Central, with pizza style seating in the front and a great bar for the after work crowd. The visual execution is simple but sometimes simple works in these scenarios, as the look speaks for itself and the food is just a wonderful bonus that adds onto the overall experience.
Here is what I recommend that you try the next time you are at Prova Pizzabar. The starters portion of the menu has two items that you MUST get, I insist on it- the Caprese Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella with cherry tomatoes and micro-basil with a balsamic glaze, and Donatella’s world famous Meatballs, which won New York City Wine & Food Festival’s “Meatball Madness” recently!
The Caprese dish was perfect, as the Buffalo Mozzarella has such an amazing outer firmness with a soft center that makes the cheese that much more tastier. This is a classic dish that pairs incredibly well with the cherry tomatoes and glaze, and is the perfect starter for what is to come. Her meatballs are simply the bomb. You can try them either regular or spicy, and I was up for the heat so I tried them as the latter and was amazed at the flavor that was developed in this ball of deliciousness. I can definitely see why this one at the NYCWFF for real.
This is a Pizzabar, so naturally the selection for pizza was plentiful and diverse with its fresh and delicious toppings. The four that we fell in love with that you definitely should try are the Diavola (Tomato Sauce, Imported Hot Soppressata, Mozzarella, Basil), Rustica (Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Sweet Sausage, Roasted Peppers), Tartufata (Truffle Cream, Porcini Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Imported Speck) and their Polpette (Neapolitan Ragu, Donatella’s Famous Meatballs, Mozzarella, Basil). The combination of the fresh meats on each (minus the Tartufata) with the rich flavor profiles of everything from the roasted peppers, Porcini Mushrooms and more made for an incredible bite after bite that really showcases just what an incredible chef and idea maker Donatella truly is. These are some of the best pizza slices I have ever had in Manhattan, both for my website and in my 30 years of life here.
There is always room left for something sweet, and their Chocolate Lava Cake is the perfect way to finish such an amazing meal. Decadent and rich in flavor, this cake will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters to ensure you had an overall fabulous time at Pizza Provabar. 10 out of 10 in my book, and I would easily go back time and time again for her cooking.
For more information on Prova Pizzabar, check out their official site.