There’s pretty much nothing better than pizza for brunch. I just came back from Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest festival and deemed that breakfast tacos are a close second, but pizza is the best.
The New York Bitches have heard a lot of hype about the Roman-style pizzas at Marta, Danny Meyer’s latest venture in the Martha Washington hotel. We first visited Marta together for dinner and loved it, so we were thrilled when Chelsea Hotels invited us to come review the restaurant’s brunch menu.
I was unapologetically the third wheel with my friend Andrea and her boyfriend Mark. The hip eatery was packed, but we were seated pretty quickly especially since we arrived about 15 minutes late.
The restaurant has an airy, almost Mediterranean feel due to the beautiful blue tiling and marble bar area. The main centerpiece is the giant wood-fired pizza oven churning out dozens of thin-crusted flat breads.
We were all admittedly a little fuzzy from the night before so large glasses of water, coffee, and mimosas for the group were in order. The mimosas were clearly fresh squeezed and served in a hearty portion, which we appreciated.
Our game plan was to order a smattering of dishes to share amongst the table. With so many delicious options, it was challenging to narrow it down.
I’ve been on an avocado toast kick so this choice was a no brainer. Marta serves its version with crushed avo, red chili flakes, and quality olive oil atop crunchy whole grain toast. Marta served a generous portion of avocado and the chili flakes gave the perfect amount of zip.
For a healthy touch, Andrea ordered the yogurt bowl, which is filled with flaxseed granola, cashews, and blueberry marmellata. This hearty dish could have been a main course by itself, but it still tasted light and fresh. I could have gone for more blueberries though; it was a touch granola heavy.
Next came the polpettine di coniglio, rabbit meatballs with black olives and scoops of ricotta cheese. Olives are my kryptonite so Andrea and Mark graciously accommodated my distaste and we put them on the side. This starter was easy to share and had great flavor. The creamy ricotta elevated this dish and prevented the meat from becoming too dry.
Now onto the pizza. Marta offers a variety of red and white sauce pies so we ordered one of each. Andrea and I are both mushroom fiends so the funghi pizza from the Pizze Bianche side of the menu was a must-try. The pizza had a plentiful variety of mushrooms so we definitely appeased our mushroom craving. The red onion was a nice touch to add more bold flavors to our slices.
We also tried the Macellaio pizza topped with pork sausage, guanciale, sporessata, mozzarella, and grana padano. I surprised myself and liked this pizza more than the funghi; the meat was flavorful and the high quality cheese was delectably creamy.
For both pizzas, we loved the extremely thin and crispy crust, characteristics of Roman-style pizza. We chowed down on the pies, but didn’t feel too weighed down by carb overload. However, we kicked ourselves when we realized that we forgot to order a fried egg to top the pizzas. I’m a big fan of runny eggs to accompany my slices.
What’s brunch without a little dessert? At this point we were quite full, but managed to squeeze a few bites of the ice cream panino. This little piece of heaven contained smoked mascarpone gelato sandwiched between two salted chocolate cookies and crusted in pistachios. It was a unique take on the classic ice cream sandwich and the ideal balance of saltiness and sweet.
The Bitches say: Five Champagne flutes. The fabulous pizza is worth the hype and potential wait. Fresh ingredients, friendly service, and a trendy ambiance.
Marta serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.