When Tonda opened in late-March, they claimed that they would have New York’s “best fire-baked pizza.” True to their word, their menu highlights, including the thin-crust pizzas, paninis, foccaccia, flatbreads, and calzones, are all baked on a rotating stone pivot in an 8-foot-wide wood-burning oven (which maintains 1,000-degree temps). Located near the corner of 4th Street and Avenue B, Tonda has taken over the large space previously inhabited by the now-shuttered restaurant, The E.U. The rustic layout of Tonda makes it an inviting space with tables for different-sized parties, a small lounge area, and a large bar located adjacent to the wood-burning oven. To take advantage of the warmer months ahead, they also have tables set-up on their front-patio (i.e. sidewalk with an awning) with enough room to seat 26.
We first checked out Tonda in March and the authentic Neapolitan pies did not disappoint. The margherita pizza and the prosciutto di parma and arugula pizza were both delicious and both featured an excellent tomato sauce base. They were so good in fact that we went back to sample some more of the goods this past weekend. Unfortunately, we did find a few things lacking this time around. The arugula and parmesan salad which was stellar last time, was over-salted and oily and the white pies that we tried (one featuring sausage and broccoli di rape and the other featuring fresh cherry tomatoes) were both a little dry. Having tried these different styles, I would definitely recommend going with one of the traditional tomato-sauce-based pizzas. Overall, the place is worth checking out even if there are high and low notes on the menu because, in a neighborhood of some pretty stiff pizza competition (Artichoke and Luzzo’s to name a few), Tonda is offering something unique. The thin-crust of their pies is authentic and outstanding.
Their head-chef Michele Sceral was flown in from Naples to supervise the creation of the menu “in the tradition and high standard he garnered at the Napolitan Pizzaiolo Association” as their press release claims. Michele Sceral has 15 years of experience and the Tonda website explains that he uses “mostly locally-sourced nutritious ingredients and flours.” … and “special water will also be used to make the crusts for all menu items.” I’m not sure what kind of “special water” this is but that crust sure is tasty.
Owner Bob Giraldi collaborated on the Tonda concept, menu, and hospitality staffing with restaurateurs Luigi Comandatore and Dario Milanin, with whom he is partners in the popular Bread Tribeca restaurant located downtown.
Tonda also has a wine list offering primarily Italian whites, reds, and rosés. Delivery in the immediate neighborhood (lucky me!) is also available. You can check out the menu here.
In a creative marketing decision, Tonda has also launched their own blog on which they are posting information about their owners, their menu updates, and are seemingly trying to create some general buzz for the new eatery.
235 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10009