Friday, March 19, 2010

A Mano Neapolitan Trattoria

We have acquired some new fans over at A Mano in New Jersey. As a courtesy to them, below Best Philadelphia Pizza Blog will present some information about who they are. If you have tried A Mano and would like to share you experiences please do so below.

A Mano, the Ridgewood Neapolitan trattoria and one of only three U.S. restaurants to receive prestigious certifications from both the Verace Pizza Napoletana and Associazone Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, the recognized authorities of Naples, Italy on traditional Neapolitan Pizza, has added Shrimp, Tilapia, Veal and Chicken entrees to their menu, along with several new appetizer, pasta, pizza and Panini options. “We are a Neapolitan restaurant and with that comes hundreds of years of traditions and classic preparations, which we bring to our patrons,” said Fred Mortati, co-owner of A Mano. “A Mano functions as both a learning center with celebrated Neapolitan chefs visiting year-round bringing with them new specialties and age old traditions. We are a culinary mecca for people who care about the craft of authentic Neapolitan pizza making and authentic Italian food preparation. Our new entrees showcase the high regard Neapolitans have for the best ingredients, bringing them together in simple preparations that allow flavors to shine through. This is simple, delicious food that brings together comfort and delight.”

Shrimp Scampi ($17.99), jumbo shrimp sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, white wine, lemon and garlic, is served over linguine. Tilapia Cartoccio ($19.99) with potatoes, onions, tomato and olives, baked in a foil poach in A Mano’s wood-burning ovens, is finished with extra virgin olive oil. Osso Buco ($24.99), braised in A Mano’s wood burning ovens in a rich onion and mushroom sauce, is served over homemade pappardelle with sautéed squash, carrot and peppers as an accompaniment. Chicken Pizzaiola ($17.99) is boneless chicken breast breaded and oven baked with tomatoes, basil, oregano, sautéed onions and finished with extra virgin olive oil.

The restaurant’s selection of 25 different pizzas, all of which are available with traditional, whole wheat and gluten-free doughs, speak to classic combinations of hand-squeezed San Marzano tomatoes, homemade Mozzarella, flavorful cured meats, delicately sautéed vegetables and a host of flavorful cow and sheep’s milk cheeses. “During his March 6th visit, master pizza chef Antonino Esposito sautéed fresh chopped spinach in butter and incorporated this into pizza dough. The result is a beautifully colored and delicately flavored Spinacci pie ($15.99), complemented when topped with our house made Mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes, sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. This will be offered as a special and available on occasion,” explained Mr. Mortati.

“There’s a beauty to our pizza, which is not always understood by the American palate: classic Neapolitan pizza is considered a slow food. It is eaten with a knife and fork. It’s not food on the go, folded in half and eaten while walking down the street. Our Caputo flour, the world’s best pizza flour which we import in bulk from Italy to make our dough with, has a special flavor all its own and we don’t want to lose that by overcooking it. So our pies (starting at $8.99), like true Neapolitan pizzas, are cooked for under 2 minutes in 1,000 degree ovens, emerging slightly charred around the edges and soft in the middle, so the flour and yeast in them can be savored.”

A Mano also imports a special Caputo pasta flour for use in the preparation of its homemade lasagna sheets, and now papparedelle (wide ribbon) and taggliatelle (thin ribbon) pastas ($12.99). “These pastas are made exactly the way they are in Naples, so the true flavors of flour and eggs are enjoyed when paired with any of our homemade sauces: tomato basil, Bolognese, pesto, alfredo and truffle cream,” added Mr. Mortati.

New appetizer, salad and Panini offerings marry traditional, how-your-grandmother-made-it preparations with new twists, such as elegant grilled artichoke hearts or tender, flash-fried calamari over salad greens ($10.99-$11.99)along with homemade meatball, sausage or Bresaola (cured beef)-filled Panini ($8.99).

About A Mano

A Mano, meaning “by hand,” is focused on presenting the ultimate combination of authentic ingredients, technique, and methods to create an unmatched Neapolitan experience.

A Mano is one of only three U.S. pizza restaurants to receive prestigious certifications from both the Verace Pizza Napoletana and Associazone Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, the recognized authorities of Naples, Italy on traditional Neapolitan Pizza. The exacting standards are what stand A Mano apart from the rest, from the expertise of the pizzaiolo (the specially-trained pizza chef) to the use of ingredients imported from Naples (from all natural Caputo flour to the San Marzano tomatoes, grown in the foothills of Mt Vesuvio). Add-in fresh mozzarella, made on-site, by hand along with outrageous homemade gelato and desserts, and the true concept of artisan foods are revealed.

Down to the tiles and equipment, from floor to ceiling the restaurant’s makeup is imported from Italy. Its twin domed ovens with round chimneys, hand-built on site by Neapolitan Artisans using stones and volcanic soil imported from Naples, are the centerpiece of the restaurant, stretching to the ceiling of the two-story dining room. The architecture of these wood-fired ovens allows them to reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees, creating beautifully blistering, bubbling pizza in less than two minutes. A Mano has gone to great lengths to ensure the quality and authenticity of the craft of traditional Neapolitan foods, with results that speak mouthwatering volumes in every bite. The restaurant is open Monday to Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m. A Mano is located at 24 Franklin Avenue (at the corner of Chestnut Street), Ridgewood, NJ 07450. For more information, please call 201-493-2000 or visit