Pioneering chef Wylie Dufresne has prepared a lot of really good food over the years, and for me, this includes an extraordinary birthday banquet in the past at his much-missed temple of molecular gastronomy on Clinton Street, wd-50; loads of fun meals at his experimental East Village location, Alder, which went through multiple menu iterations before closing in 2015; and dozens of his donuts at Du’s in Williamsburg, which worryingly remains on a pandemic “hiatus”.
However, as of today, Dufresne is up to something completely different and, as it turns out, extremely delicious: making pizza with his friend Gadi Peleg from the great Breads bakery, and selling pre-ordered cakes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening night from the latter’s Union Square flagship store. The operation is called Stretch Pizza, it’s the first time in about five years that Dufrense has professionally cooked something tasty, and based on some stellar preview cakes I ate last night, we can only hope it sticks around for a while.
“During the first months of the pandemic,” Peleg said, “we were in the neighborhood all the time, and Wylie started bringing me pizzas that he had made at home. We talked about collaborating on something and brainstormed croissant-like ideas, but Wylie He said he had been going through the pizza rabbit hole for a whole year and wanted to move on. ” And so, with the help of Breads’ “dough master” Darwin Castillo, Stretch Pizza was born.
Stretch Pizza’s 12-inch pies are what Dufresne and Peleg call “New York style,” with toppings that have a real presence, lots of cheese, and a crust that is not too crunchy, not too doughy, not too moist in the middle. , just some classic New York pleats. “We’re both from the city,” Peleg said, “so we don’t really consider any other guys.”
There are four varieties to start with. The Everything Cake is fantastic, with some cream cheese, some great aged mozzarella, and a generous sprinkle of everything – bagel spices (garlic, poppy, sesame, salt) and little chives of chives covering the top. Dufresne plans to use the Union Square Greenmarket as the main source for fresh specialties, and right now that means ramps, which he grills and lays on a cake, along with a lively Romesco sauce and two types of cheese, called Sketches of Spain. .
The Classic New York pizza stars Dufresne’s homemade tomato sauce and more of that aged mozzarella, all charred and chewy. Your fourth option for now is Couch Potato, which combines fingerlings with sour cream, rosemary, chives, and cheese. As a delicious bonus, the duo are also offering a fantastic Calzone, possibly the hit of the entire operation, a large, doughy breakfast-style package filled with soft scrambled eggs, melted muenster and American cheese, and chives for a bite.
As someone who is still learning and practicing the actual physical art of making a cake, Dufrense came up with the name “Stretch” as a tribute to all the pizza makers who make it look so easy, even meditative when stretched. mass. “I have nothing but respect for those guys,” he said. “This is difficult to do.”
Stretch Pizza will serve their cakes at Union Square Breads Bakery, 18 East 16th Street, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Book through Tock, with new open slots added frequently.