Bonci Pizza Review New Orleans LA
Gabriele Bonci. He’s from Rome. Has a popular pizza place there. Set his sights on the US market, and curiously, the place he chose to debut his concept was Chicago, arguably a population that has very strong opinions about their pizza. He opened one, then another. Added New Orleans. Next up, I think I heard is Miami.
His concept is a “reinvention” of the pizza. He’s focused on local ingredients and at any one time during the day has 12-15 different pizzas in the showcase.
You point, they point back as a way of inquiring how large of a slice you want of these rectangular pies in the display. Give a nod, they nod, they weigh it (his pies are sold by the pound), pay (strictly a non-cash operation, btw), they finish your selection in the oven for a few, reslice into bite-size morsels, call your name.
You fetch. You eat.
The crust is “thick” by American standards, but light and airy, resembling focaccia. The tomato sauce is pure, and the cheese is ample. I tried two different kinds (pictured) a meatball, and onion and provolone. The latter was the better of the two. There weren’t a whole lot of meat selections when I was in the New Orleans store. I was opening for some spicy salami, or perhaps prosciutto, and the like.
But meatball was it, and the topping was actually bits of meatball as if they had chopped a ball into pieces or actually made them mini-ball size. The flavor was fine, but I’m of the school that cooks meatballs directly in the sauce, leaving a soft, crumbly texture. Bonci appears to be from the meatball school of cooking separately, baked in the oven until the outside is crispy/crunchy. Not my thing.
Onion/provolone was boldly flavorful. Though I missed a helping of processed pork products as we American pie eaters are used to expecting, it was quite good.
Another downside (for me)? Kinda spendy. As pictured, $14 worth of pizza.
BTW, don’t be surprised to see fruit as a topping. Beyond pineapple. Which doesn’t belong on pizza in any case. Nor does chicken.
I spend a lot of time in Chicago and had always meant to get into his first U.S. outlet, but it’s an inconvenient location for me. So it was just a coincidence that my introduction to Bonci (bon-chee) happened in New Orleans.
I didn’t find it exceptional enough to merit a return, especially because I have so many favorites in Chicago. But you should try it. Especially as traveling to Italy seems to be out of the picture for the time being.
Oh yeah, if $110 + for a pizza doesn’t seem unreasonable to you, they ship.