Neapolitan Express is the definition of a classy food truck. The cream colored exterior is clean and shiny, with a bold black logo and minimal design. Inside, fresh pizza dough is being made, tossed, and baked into an authentic Italian pie with all-natural, organic ingredients. As if that isn't enough to make this the hottest food truck on the block, this slick van is also completely powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) and omits 70% less greenhouse gasses than any other full-time food trucks in New York.
"It's neapolitan pizza, but in an express format," owner Max Crespo told me of his new savvy truck."Neapolitan pizza should usually be eaten sitting down with a fork and a knife, but not now. It's not your grandfather's pizza or your father's pizzeria, it's the same quality made 150 years ago and its just brought to you in a different format."
Crespo's goal to bring Italy to the streets of New York is definitely off to a good start. All of the ingredients used to make Neapolitan Express' pizza are imported from Italy, with the exception of locally grown basil. The crust is made from 100% Caputo flour with only 11-12% gluten (the smallest percentage possible) and everything from their tomatoes to their coca cola is all-natural.
The menu consists of a margherita pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil; the bufala with tomatoes, mozzarella, bufala, basil, and extra virgin olive oil; the marinara with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil; and a pizza cioccolato -- basically a nutella pizza (aka heaven). They also serve assorted pastries from 6 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
I was having trouble deciding what to get, so I asked Crespo for his favorite item on the menu. He responded quickly without hesitation. "I believe a regular margherita is how you should test the quality of the products that you are dealing with. It's the original -- it's authentic. If you have a high quality margherita, it means you are using really high quality products," he said.
With that response, I couldn't help but to test his theory and see if Neapolitan Express' margherita lived up to such high standards. So I ordered my pizza and literally two minutes later, a fresh pie was sitting in a box in front of me waiting to be eaten.
The crust was crisp, yet light and airy at the same time. Spread on top was the perfect amount of fresh, zesty tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and sparsely spread basil leaves. Tiny puddles of olive oil found their place on the surface's divots. When it came to taste, the flavors agreed with each other very well. However, what made this margherita pizza different from the majority was the light sprinkle of parmesan cheese that was added on top. It gave the pizza a perfectly cheesy flavor, even for those bites without mozzarella.
Tip: if you aren't hungry enough for a full personal pizza, the size of one slice is the perfect snack to hold you over before eating the rest for dinner.
If Crespo's theory is true, then this margherita is quite the positive representation for the rest Neapolitan Express' pizzas. It was light, yet filling and extremely flavorful. And even though I am not one to care, it did feel nice (and guilt free) to know I was ingesting an all-natural meal for a change. Definitely a good choice over my regular Bravo Pizza.
Neapolitan Express is new to the streets and is still getting their final schedule sorted out. They plan on working at the following locations, but specific dates and times have yet to be determined.
Union Square (Union Square West)
Midtown (53rd and Park Ave)
Meatpacking (13th St. and 9th ave)
Williamsburg (Grand and Bedford)
Soho (Spring and Broadway)