I’m a big fan of Chef Michael White‘s food. He has a way of turning the simple ingredients of Italian cuisine into something very special and worthwhile. His newest New Jersey restaurant is an outpost of his Nicoletta Pizzeria. The menu itself is typical of a classic pizzeria (pizzas, chicken wings, salads), but the flavors are far from typical.
We’ve visited on two occasions, once the week of its opening and again about two weeks ago. And I’m looking forward to returning very soon. The two pizzas we tried were the Calabrese (thick cut pepperoni, fennel sausage, red onions, pomodoro, mozzarella) and the Parmigiana (fried eggplant, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, marinated tomatoes, pomodoro, basil). Both pizzas were excellent. The Calabrese is a mash up of two classic pizzeria staples, pepperoni and sausage pizzas. We’re used to the plain, ole thinly sliced pepperoni. But the thick cut pepperoni on Chef White’s pizza is a real treat. As the slices of pepperoni cook they become little cups that collect the delicious pepperoni oil. The red onions are a real nice touch because of the sweetness they have.
I also really enjoyed the Parmigiana Pizza. In essence it is eggplant parm on a pizza. What’s not to love about that combination? It’s a vegetarian pizza, which makes it perfect for Friday Lenten dinners. I’ve had eggplant parm pizzas in the past. Sometimes the eggplant can be a little greasy, not so with this one.
In addition to the pizzas, the appetizers and salads are also really delicious. We’ve tried the brick oven baked Neapolitan meatballs in pomodoro sauce topped with bread crumbs and spicy honey & Calabrian chili glazed chicken wings with blue cheese dressing. The meatballs are reminiscent of the meatballs I that could be found in my family’s Sunday sauce pot when I was a kid. There’s something special about the tag team of sweet and spicy. The spicy chicken wings showcased that team nicely.
We also tried two of the salads on the menu. The Nicoletta Salad is made up of mixed greens, shaved fennel, carrot, cucumber, radish tossed with Nicoletta’s own signature vinaigrette and served with a piece of pizza bianca. This salad is perfect to enjoy with the meatiness of the Calabrese Pizza. It’s a light salad. The vegetables are fresh and crisp. And the vinaigrette is a classic combo of vinegar and olive oil. The Wedge Salad is a take on the classic. Chef White takes a wedge of iceberg lettuce and tops it with a roasted garlic dressing, crispy pepperoni, ricotta salata, and parmesan. The wedge salad is definitely a bit heavier and richer than the Nicoletta. The crispy pepperoni is a highlight. As is the delicious and creamy roasted garlic dressing.
We ended our both of our dinners with a sweet treat. The dessert menu has only one item, Fior di Latte Softserve Gelato, but with many options for toppings. And after a rich and delicious dinner, gelato/ice cream is the perfect way to go. The B’ville Sundae is the signature softserve at the Bernardsville Nicoletta. It is the Fior di Latte Softserve Gelato topped with amarena cherries, chocolate pearls, and pistachio toffee. But you can have a sundae with a plethora of other delicious toppings including: dark chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, amarena cherries, chocolate pearls, blueberry limoncello, pistachio toffee, polenta streusel, rosemary caramel popcorn. I tried the polenta streusel and the rosemary caramel popcorn. They were both excellent. I especially enjoyed the polenta streusel.
If you find yourself out in Morris County and are looking for a quick and delicious pizza dinner than you definitely have to pay Chef Michael White’s Nicoletta. And in case you’re looking for something a little more upscale, check out his Osteria Morini, which is located right next door. The pastas there are outrageously delectable.
Pax et bonum,
Anthony “Tony Mangia” Scillia
Tagged: Bernardsville, celebrity chef, Chef Bianco, Chef Michael White, Executive Chef, gelato, meatballs, Michael White, Morris County, New Jersey, Nicoletta Pizzeria, NJ, Osteria Morini, pizza, pizzeria, restaurant, salad