Speedy Romeo

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NYC and pizza. It’s either an over saturated market, or, just fulfilling demand. And, NYC is known, aside from Italy, of course, from doing it best (sorry, Chicago, keep your deep-dish, we’re focusing on NYC for now). So, it was time for me to check out Speedy Romeo on the Lower East Side, to see what they were turning out. 

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The LES location just opened this week, as their second. The first location is in Brooklyn, and named after the co-owner’s family’s prize race horse (he’s got a picture hung up on the wall and everything, and, yes, he’s very adorable). All the pizza is made in a hardwood fired Italian pizza oven. But before all that, had to start with a beverage. I had their Hot Trot (sparkling rose, aperol, smoked jalapeño rhubarb, lemon juice, soda, fresh basil). Now, aside from this pink beauty looking lovely, the taste was awesome. Upon first sips, it is a bit on the sweet side, but then you get the heat from the jalapeño, balancing it out for a nice sweet and spicy combination. 

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As an appetizer, I had the Grilled Octopus (Almond Romesco, Crispy Potato, Celery). Now, if you’re a regular here to SOF, you well know that I L-O-V-E grilled octopus. And, yeah, I’ve had some pretty awful dishes before. But, luckily for these guys, they absolutely pass the test here. This was so delicious. The octopus was perfectly done, nice and tender, but still maintaining that slight char on the outside, lending a smokiness. Potatoes, on point. Crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. But, let’s talk about this almond romesco real quick. Dear Speedy Romeo, Can you please bottle this up and send a vat of it to me so that I can pour it over everything? Thanks. The pepper and almond sauce is so savory and flavorful, with a really great texture, pairing wonderfully with the octopus, the potatoes, my fork…yeah. 

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For my entree, I ordered The Marinara (Tomato Sauce, Anchovy, Basil, Oregano, Sea Salt) and added Olives. Ok, so, I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a personal pizza or meant to share, but, I personally ordered it, so, it was all mine. However, I only got through a few slices, and boxed the rest up, which, only lasted until I got back home (it’s science, your stomach needs about an hour to make a new space available for left-over pizza). The pizza is thin, and a bit delicate, so, it could totally be the type you fork-and-knife. However, I went in and ate with my hands (I’m a beast). The ingredients and flavors are really fresh, I enjoyed the sweet and tanginess of the tomato sauce, and the added saltiness from the anchovy and added olives. The crust is really nice as well, with just enough chew from the delicately flavored dough, with just the right about of char along the dough’s baked air bubbles. 

The Shorts:
Name: Speedy Romeo
Location: 63 Clinton Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. The service was excellent, and the food was super tasty. And, their brunch menu will be rolling out, including a smoked salmon pizza, that has my name all over it. 
Would I recommend it? Yes. It’s the perfect spot for a really low-key meal with great flavors and enough options for everyone. 

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Starlite

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This past weekend, I was in San Diego. I was there once before, also for a weekend, so, it was great to be able to hit up some spots that I wasn’t able to before. First stop was at Starlite in Midtown. This restaurant and bar prides itself in its architecture and aesthetic, as well it should, because all the details are pretty stunning. Which, you’ll see as soon as you walk through their hexagonal front doors.

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To start, I had their Starlite Mule (Rain Vodka, ginger beer, lime, Angostura bitters). Now, aside from this drink just looking large and in charge, the contents were just as great. Not too strong, not too weak, and tastes delicious. I mean, I’m not sure what else you could ask for. Well, maybe to keep the cool mug. Oh wait, you can totally purchase that there too. Damn, they’ve thought of everything. 

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As an appetizer for the table, we got Broccoli and Cheddar Fritters (with honey mustard sauce). Definitely order these. The fritters are golden brown and crisp on the outside, and filled with chopped broccoli and cheddar. You get those nostalgic flavors of cheddar covered broccoli you ate as a kid (because slathering cheese over food is a sure fire way to get a kid to eat their veggies), mixed with the light, bready texture and rich flavor of the batter. Dip those bad boys (or girls) in the honey mustard sauce, take a bite, fall in love. Repeat. 

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Then as a main I ordered the Grilled Octopus (marinated garbanzo beans, arugula, smoked paprika aioli and lemon). Well, octopus is one of my favorite things, so, I had to order it and put theirs to the test. Luckily, they passed. The octopus was cooked perfectly, totally tender and lightly crisp from the slight char on the outside. The aioli was a nice component for a bit of dipping, adding a nice smokiness and creaminess to each bite.

The Shorts:
Name: Starlite
Location: 3175 India Street, San Diego
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. After dinner, we went up to their rooftop, which, was just delightful. I’d recommend heading up there at some point.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Whether you’re just in the mood for a good cocktail, or snacks, or, the whole shebang, they’ve got you covered.