Ok guys, it’s time. I’m finally ready to talk about our visit to Double Zero in NYC. It’s been almost 2 weeks since we spent a beautiful New York City friday evening in the graces of Matthew Kenney’s new NYC plant based haven. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already assumed that we clearly enjoyed it, based not only on the drool-worthy photos but also from my guest-hosting on @doublezeronyc’s Instagram account. Based on your level of commitment to @chloescountertop, you may or may not know everything already. However, I owe it to team Matthew Kenney to get my thoughts out, onto the page (or screen, I suppose) and share it with the world.
Before we begin, a short introduction of restaurant owner, Matthew Kenney. If you aren’t a plant-based eater or into the holistic scene, then you might not recognise this name. If you are, I assume the opposite. Going off of the slogan ‘Crafting the Future of Food’, this Californian native has created a plant-based empire which focuses on the following areas: education, media, products, services and hospitality. His plant based journey began with 7 non-vegan restaurants, when he was introduced to yoga and holistic living. When he began his own personal transition, he saw the opportunity to blend his traditional culinary background with the beautiful offerings of plants. And so he did. Armed with 8 plant-based restaurants currently and various online and in person education programs around raw & vegan food- he is truly an innovator in the plant-based industry.
Needless to say, I was very excited to check out his new New York City pizza establishment.
Let’s start from the beginning.
When I notified my friends on Facebook that I was heading to New Jersey and New York for a few weeks, I was very quickly inundated with various recommendations of where to go, where to eat and most important, what to take photos of. Of these various suggestions came the mention of a new pizza spot that I must admit, I didn’t know about. My friend, Nailia Minnebaeva, was really the culprit, when she mentioned that her friend worked there and that my visit was a must. The rest, you might say, is history.
However, for story-telling purposes, I must carry on. What came next, was a series of emails and conversations with Marina, the marketing manager. Now, here comes a bold statement: in my career, so far, I have done quite a number of Restaurant Reviews around the world. To date, not one surpasses the service and level of welcoming and connection that Double Zero offered. In fact, they reached far beyond the level of what you expect in this industry. From the beginning of our communication, to the moment we stepped foot out of the restaurant that beautiful friday evening- we (my husband Faris, and I) were treated with so much love and appreciation.
I must say that even if the food wasn’t that great- they won 5 gold stars on customer service alone. So, when you take that- and add delicious food- you most certainly have a restaurant winner in my books.
Now, to the food.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I was warmly greeted by Anton (who would soon become our good friend of the night- check out the video at the bottom of this post for more Anton time). He offered the opportunity to grab a table anywhere in the restaurant (of course, I grabbed the table near the window- hello natural light) and grabbed me sparkling water (upon request). When I mentioned that Faris was running late, he quickly offered me wine of my choice and gave me some space to settle in and explore the menu. When we realised that Faris was clearly running late, Anton told me the specials and we chatted about how much he reminded me of my friend, Zack. We laughed.
To begin, I took the liberty (with Anton’s support and guidance) of ordering the (semolina) Gnocchi (a brand new special which wasn’t yet on the menu.) At this point, Faris finally arrived (what I learned later was that he sneakily popped into the bank en route), and we began to really soak in the evening. One thing I must mention, which added to how special this was, was that the restaurant was all for us. You see, they opened it early, just for us (another star).
As per Marina’s suggestions, following each dishes arrival (and Anton’s embellished and detailed description of each course), I moved my artistic party outside to grab delicious photos with the last bits of the days’ light and on the picturesque black tables. Luckily, my dining partner was very well acquainted with the idea of seeing the food and then having it disappear for photos right when he was going in for the first bite. Sorry, my love. I also must add, I very much enjoyed the pedestrians who passed by telling me to “eat the pizza before it gets cold”. Not everyone is as understanding as my lovely husband.
Shall we discuss the gnocchi?
Aka Gnocchi Alla Romana. Confit Tomato. Sunflower Pesto. Almond Ricotta. That almond ricotta. My question for you is, have you ever had confit tomatoes? As with many of the ingredients at Double Zero, so much time and attention has gone into each and every element and it really shows up in not only the presentation but of course, the taste. This seasonal dish was an absolute delight.
This delicious course was followed by the Flora Artisanal Cheese Plate. I must admit, this was the most underwhelming of all the dishes (to be fair, it was a tough and competitive crowd of food). Not to say that we didn’t enjoy it- the cheeses were quite spectacular and innovative. However, we felt as though the crispy mixed herb flatbread was quite difficult to pair with the cheeses. That being said, we absolutely loved the pairing of the pickled vegetables. Of all the cheeses, my favourite (which Faris guessed) was the Smoked Turmeric Gouda. So good. Faris really loved the White Truffle cheese (no surprises there). Overall, I would round-up the cheese plate saying that it was an 8/10 and very much imitated the fine-dining style of the restaurant. The added touch of wild flowers and blueberries was really delicate and beautiful. To add, I’m a total sucker for presenting food on black slate.
Moving on to the main event: pizza. As Rihanna and Calvin say, “this is what you came for”. Again, with the generous guidance of Anton, we decided on the popular White Pizza and the Farro-Fennel Sausage. After doing some pre-visit research on social media, I found that the farro-fennel sausage seemed to be a hot-topic of customers and that it was very inventive. We had to try it. After we chose it, Anton suggested the white pizza for some variation (the farro fennel pizza is a tomato base). Thank goodness he did.
The pizzas are served on rectangular aluminium pizza dishes- which I loved. Each pizza is served with a small ‘puddle’ of chilli flakes on the side. Great touch. And then, there was the dough. Wow. Well done, Matthew Kenney. The dough is so soft, perfectly golden, doughy (in all the right ways), filling, and well, perfect. Of course, the beautiful wood burning brick oven helps (aesthetically and gastronomically).
My favourite part? The nut cheese, of course. I love going to restaurants where things like local, sustainable and house made are emphasized. At Double Zero, all of the ingredients are made in-house and that includes all of the cheese and pizza toppings. Epic. The cashew mozzarella on the farro-fennel sausage was so perfectly creamy and rich. Paired with the tomato base really did just leave you feeling so comforted.
Which pizza won?
Our consensus is the ‘White Pizza’ (well done Anton). Though, to no fault of the farro-fennel. It was just that the white pizza really hit all the spots. The blend of roasted garlic and corn was genius as a pizza base and really, you can’t go wrong with garlic on pizza. Also, my favourite pizza is usually mushroom (funghi) so when you add maitake mushrooms- you’ve got a fan in me.
That being said, the farro-fennel sausage was just as delicious and is definitely a great option if you want something a little more “traditional” in terms of pizza flavours. Also, the farro is such an innovative interpretation of sausage and let’s say it- so much of the processed imitation vegan meat out there is just not great.
And then there was dessert.
Despite the fact that we had every intention of not devouring a dessert, again- Anton saved the day. Upon his delicious description of the Tiramisu, we couldn’t resist. And thank goodness we didn’t. Worth. Every. Bite. Watch my youtube vlog of our visit (see below) to find out more of my thoughts on the dessert (and our visit in general).
I must add, the restaurant creates a very ‘pizza & wine bar’ style of environment. Which we loved. When it comes to dining out together, I always feel much better when I take Faris to a plant-based establishment that doesn’t necessarily make him feel like he’s eating at a plant-based establishment. Do you know what I mean? So that he doesn’t feel like he has to go out after and get more food. That’s the thing about Double Zero- it it the perfect blend of fine dining, cozy, wine-bar-y and classy.
And that’s it folks! The restaurant story is complete. Are you making plans to go yet? I hope so. It is so worth it. Thank you again to Matthew Kenney and team Double Zero for having us!
For illustration purposes
Gnocchi Alla Romana: Confit tomatoes, sunflower pesto, almond ricotta
Flora Artisanal Cheese Plate: Served with mixed herb flatbread, smoked gouda, white truffle, mixed herb
White Pizza: Roasted summer corn, roasted garlic, macadamia ricotta, maitake mushroom, baby kale
Farro-Fennel Sausage: tomato, cashew mozzarella
Tiramisu: cacao, almond, espresso dust
ps. thank you to Anton for treating us with so much love and kindness. We miss you!
Want more? Check out my Restaurant Story Vlog of Double Zero
Would you like me to visit your restaurant? Email me at email@example.com to enquire (I travel often so I might be coming to your city soon).
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