Earlier this week, bloggers scratched their heads over Totale Pizzeria, a mysterious St. Marks newcomer serving Neapolitan pies. We’ve now discovered that the improbably elegant digs are the handiwork of Eli Halali, who owns 2 Bros. a couple of doors down with his brother. Even more intriguing: Eli says the pizzaiolo who’s making his “gourmet artisan pizza” (he doesn’t want to jump on the bandwagon by calling it Neapolitan) is Gregory Ryzhkov, described as Anthony Maniegri’s “right-hand man” during Una Pizza Napoletana’s glorious run.
Unlike his boss, Ryzhkov is less hesitant about using the Neapolitan moniker. But he tells us, “This is not Naples, it’s New York. I’m not saying I’m bending the rules but I don’t want to be a Nazi about this.” To that end, he’s offering (in addition to two margheritas, a bianca, and a marinara) a white pizza with prosciutto and arugula, as well as a “Totale” with pecorino Romano, red onions, rosemary, and roasted pine nuts. The twelve-inch sourdough pies (no slices) at the 34-seat establishment are in the $10 to $12 range, and there are salad options (spinach or arugula) as well.
Totale Pizza, 36 St. Marks Pl.; 212-254-0180