Take One: Although typically we’d like to give a spot a few tries before writing our review, budgets are tight (hi, Macrisis!) and we don’t ask for freebies (although we do, sometimes, accept them). ‘Take One’ will highlight the dishes that left our resident food writer, Kevin Vaughn, wanting seconds.
We came for a bowl of soup. To be more precise, we wanted a very special, over-sized bowl of pickled fish soup. Don’t let that description put you off. The pickled part is, my guess, a loose translation from Chinese. It’s just a hint of tangy. It’s piping hot. And it was completely derailed by a pepperoni pizza.
Down a nameless passageway that runs parallel to the train tracks in Belgrano’s tiny Barrio Chino are a handful of shops. Two Chinese restaurants and a bakery, a second hand clothing store, an old boys club (read: drunk abuelos) where minutas accompany petroleum-flavored wine and, if you venture just around the bend, Pony Pizza.
Pony Pizza is a specialty pizza shop that opened late last year. There is just a small window for mostly take-out orders of individual-sized pizzas and a handful of benches and kids height plastic tables to hunch over if you choose to eat outside. There will probably be a small wait, because all the pizzas are made to order: fragile sour dough that rises high around the crust and towers over a small valley of a few carefully chosen ingredients.
With so many pizza shops to choose from in Buenos Aires, why kneel over a plastic table for this one? For a slice of pepperoni that pools a delightful pork-charred oil in the center. For a savory deep red sauce that pulls out the right notes from the fermented dough. For a pesto sauce with just a nudge of spice.
The pizzas are straight forward. There are only four options. Five on a good day. We tried the PP-RONI. The pepperoni blackened around the edges and reproduced into the molten mozzarella cheese. Tiny flakes of parsley and garlic and a sprits of lemon gave it a welcome smack of acidity. The simple muzza hits the right balance of sauce to cheese with an earthy touch of basil and a light green pesto sauce.
Still to try is the roja, a take on local pizza canchera sans cheese but with a heaping sprinkle of black olives. The blanca offers the inverse, a sauce-less pie with blackened red onion spiced with dill. When stock is available, the fungi tosses on organic, seasonal mushrooms.
Pony Pizza offers a recluse from the usual pizza bricks that dominate the local scene with a homey, subtley flavored pizza ala Bandini. I’ll be back soon to get my mushroom fill.
Address: Echeverría 1677, Local 15, Barrio Chino
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 7 to 11pm
Price per person: $220-250 per pizza