I can't think of a single pizzeria in recent memory that's opened with more buzz than Delancey in the Ballard neighborhood of
Naturally, such fervent expectations are eventually met with the inevitable smack of reality, and oftentimes it can be sobering just how spectacularly those assumptions of greatness have misfired. Praise the pizza gods then that this was not the case with Delancey.
I first visited Delancey a few weeks after it had opened with my siblings and a friend, arriving at the restaurant fifteen minutes before it opened. A line had already started to form at the door, so we took our places dutifully and watched as the tail behind us lengthened with each passing minute. Soon enough, though, the doors open, the smell of baking cookies drifted out, and we were ushered inside to a four-top possessing the distinct advantage of being located next to the restaurant's large street-facing windows, allowing much natural light to fall beautifully on our food.
We began with a salad of sweet corn, basil, and cherry tomatoes tossed in a shallot vinaigrette, which was clean and crisp and very fresh. Delancey offers a nice selection of beers on tap, though one we had wanted to try, the Chucanut Helles, had been tapped out the night before, and they had not yet procured a replacement. We chalked it up to First Month Syndrome and went with the tasty Hales Red Menace instead.
It wasn't long after we placed our order that our pizzas arrived (oh how I love the abbreviated cooking times in a blazing hot wood-fired oven!), steaming and giving off the irresistible scent of freshly baked bread. The sauce looked bright, the cheese gooey and inviting. We quickly tore into our fare and were not disappointed.
We split two pizzas that visit. The first was the Brooklyn ($12), a cheese-lover's go-to pie with the house tomato sauce topped with both fresh and aged mozzarella (a combo I always find impeccable for pizza), along with basil and grated Grana, a hard cheese from Italy that's very close to Parmigiano-Reggiano, salty and sharp (essential qualities in a cheese, I say).
This really was a great pie.
This crust tastes of sourdough and the terrific smokiness of burning wood, and to leave the cornicione uneaten is unthinkable. It's too good to leave behind on your plate, and I doubt very much you'll have any other notion than to finish each slice in its entirety.
Our second pie was the Pepperoni ($13.50), which is the
Rounding out our first trip to Delancey was the Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookie with Grey Salt ($3.50). At first glance this dessert appears to be just your ordinary average chocolate chip cookie that someone had spilled large-grained salt on, a prospect some might find confusing in theory. However, having sampled the unparalleled sea salt-enhanced butterscotch budino at Mozza in LA, I knew just how powerfully the addition of good salt can transform a dessert from the decent to the decadent. So I dove right in. The cookie, still warm, is soft, chewy, and thick, the bittersweet chocolate chips melting on your fingertips. On its own, it's a fine version of a standard chocolate chip cookie, but that sea salt...too good.
About a month or so later I hit Delancey again with nearly the same crew as before.
Of course I ordered it straight away. The Sausage Pie ($15) begins with the base of the
Having inexplicably skipped it during my first visit, I also ordered the house Margherita ($12). It's a first-class Margherita, on par with the best I've eaten in
We also tried the Zoe's Coppa this trip, a sort of antipasti plate with deliciously salty capicola sliced so thin you could read through it and house-made pickled peppers that were alternately spicy and sour, sweet and potent. This dish lasted about ten seconds before our party removed every trace of its existence from this world. It's a great little dish, but at $8 a tad on the pricy side. Mitigate the cost, as we did, by splitting it among several diners (and fight dearly for those pickled peppers).
In just a few short months Delancey has raised the bar for pizza in
RECOMMENDED: Sausage Pizza, Grey Salt Cookie