If I had to choose a last meal, thin crust pizza and hot chicken wings would be at the top of the list. Though I’m figuratively and literally a big fan of many delectable edibles, there’s just something about that pairing that always sounds like a good idea. Ideally, I prefer to go simple with plain wings in Buffalo sauce and a crispy cheese pie. But there are times when the moment calls for something a little more developed, complex and creative. Recently opened Noble Pie Parlor in midtown is a mash-up of old-school East Coast pizzeria sensibilities with more than a few West Coast gourmet twists.
The restaurant is tucked into a corner of a renovated building shared with several other businesses. If you didn’t know it’s there, you might walk on by. My friends and I met up on a cold evening for hot food, starting with a pound of ’Burg-style wings ($11.99). The chicken was moist, and though the skin started out crispy, the thick Pittsburgh-inspired sauce softened it up a bit. Topped with plenty of fresh garlic and scallion, these are not your average wings. The sauce is the real story here, coating the meat with a bit of zesty tang in complement to the spicy heat. It’s deliciously unlike any other I’ve tasted.
A plate of fried polenta with housemade meatballs and marinara ($9.99) soon followed, packing even more punch than the wings. Actually, perhaps a little too much. Though the cornmeal sticks were a good balance of crisp exterior with creamy interior, and the meatballs were of good size and texture, the seasoning was a bit like listening to a band where every player is trying to outplay the others. Fresh tomato, garlic, basil, oregano and aged pecorino cheese were amply represented, yet the astringent presence of rosemary pushed the combination a bit over the edge. I like rosemary, but it was just one note too many for this song.
The options for custom pizzas include a standard thin crust, plus a gluten-free alternate, five housemade sauces, seven cheeses and a vegan substitute. There are seven protein options, including almonds and housemade sausage, as well as 24 veggie options, including peas and carrots, both a first for me on a pizza menu.
Wishing to sample house creativity, we went with two 14” specialty pies ($20.99 each). The S/C/L had tons of savor, topped with sausage, caramelized onions, leeks, sauteed mushrooms and chèvre (goat cheese), but the thin crust was made a bit soggy by a preponderance of moisture from the toppings. But any fan of East Coast pie can attest, this is typical when you try to load a thin crust with too much moisture. Still, it was a delicious pie we all enjoyed.
For something different, we tried the White-Boy with garlic and olive oil bianco sauce, rotisserie chicken, sweet basil, asparagus, red onion and sun-dried tomato. This pie was nice and crispy, the chicken tasty and moist, and the rest of the ingredients did their part to make this a fragrant and flavorful treat. The scent of the leftovers I heated for lunch the next day colored a few coworkers green with envy.