Everyone’s been talking about Marta, so when I finally managed to get a reservation there at a decent time I jumped on it. The restaurant is located in the grand, white-tiled lobby of the Martha Washington Hotel, a brightly-lit, soaring space with stark white tiles and ceilings so high they make you forget you’re in the New York City.
When we sat down at our table, the first thing I noticed were the plates. I know it sounds crazy but days later I am still obsessed with them. They’re painted with swirly blue designs and remind me that plates don’t always have to be boring ol’ white. (Something that even I tend to forget.)
Aside from the pretty plates, my other favorite thing about Marta was *duh* the pizzas. They’re cooked in one of two columnar, black-tiled, wood-burning pizza ovens. For me, the magic is in the crust. It’s super thin and so satisfyingly crispy. It isn’t soggy in the center, nor does it get weighed down by its generous toppings. In other words, it’s perfect.
After studying the menu we had a hard time deciding which two pies to split. Did we want mushrooms or sausage, squid-ink or tomato sauce? We finally decided on the Amatriciana, a fun take on the popular Roman, tomato-based sauce with pecorino, guanciale, onion, and chili, and the Rapini, pictured above. The Amatriciana was delicious in its meat-infused tomato-y-ness, but the Rapini won me over. It had an interesting base of sharp, aged provolone and creamy ricotta cheeses, and was topped with charred, bitter broccoli rabe, roasted garlic, and pickled, red chili peppers that added a wonderfully tart-yet-spicy flavor to the party.
Overall, the restaurant’s vibe was uplifting and the service very friendly. My only regret was that we didn’t request a seat at the counter overlooking the kitchen and pizza ovens. I won’t make that mistake next time though!