In early 2016, Chef Matthew Kenney opened New York City’s first all vegan pizzeria serving personal pizzas, small plates, and nut-based cheeses. Some of you might remember Chef Kenney as the opening chef of Pure Food & Wine (which is now permanently closed), and he currently has several plant-based restaurants and one coming soon to Bahrain.
Before leaving NYC, we visited 00 + Co for a late lunch. There was a little bit of mix up as I had placed a 2:30pm reservation through OpenTable, but they didn’t open until 3pm. No big deal, and we hung out in the neighborhood until it was time. Hope they’ve updated OpenTable to reflect their new hours since then.
00 + Co feels very Los Angeles, and I say that someone who hasn’t been to LA in a few years. The heart of the restaurant is the wood burning brick oven tucked away in the back, but your eye immediately goes to the wall of vegan wines. The interior feels open and relaxed with light wood communal tables, but the outdoor seating is the way to go if you’re dining here in a good weather. I’m hesitant to call this place upscale because it feels laid back, but I have a feeling that upscale is how many will interpret it.
The name 00 + Co, which initially comes across as random to some folks, comes from the type of flour they use for their pizza dough. The menu does a nice job at explaining this: “00 flour is ideal for pizza dough for three reasons: one, it’s finely ground; two, it holds up to the high heat of our wood burning brick oven; and three, it has a lower gluten content than most flours.”
If you haven’t figured it out by now, this isn’t your greasy 3am pizza after a night of drinking. Come here for plant-based pizzas that that are easy on the eyes, palate, and stomach. They’ll leave you satisfied, and you’ll feel good about what you ate. I would have liked to try the cheese plate and some dishes from the “Not Pizza” section of the menu too, but two personal pizzas was plenty for two people.
The farro-fennel sausage, tomato, cashew mozzarella pizza ($18) doesn’t have any vegan faux meat sausage. However, the farro offers a meaty texture and all the right seasonings to justify having the word “sausage” in the description. Simple, classic flavors that work well for a pizza and go nicely with a medium-bodied red.
The almond cream pizza ($16) with sliced potatoes, shiitake anchovies, oregano, and baby kale looked like a salad on top of a pizza. Subtle sweetness from the almond cream, added flavor from the purple potatoes, and savory, chewy shiitake pieces. Even John, who does not like mushrooms, enjoyed the shiitake anchovies. I’ve had some really bad low gluten and gluten free crusts in the past, but this is one of the good ones.
Both pizzas were enjoyable, but I wasn’t blown away. Maybe all the hype surrounding this restaurant is to blame. Next time I visit NYC, you can expect to see a followup post on some of their other dishes. For now, I’ll leave you with this: 00 + Co is tasty enough, and a welcome addition to the NYC food scene. Of course, there are other vegan pizza options in the city, but this is the first sit down pizzeria where you can make an occasion of it.