Dinner at Pizza Bar On 38Th
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Daniel Carson is the director in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo and responsible for the 10 restaurants they have there. However, I suspect his real passion and blood is in the pizza bar.
A 8 seat counter serves mainly pizza with a few starter dishes to ease you in. The pizzas are only served there and cannot be ordered elsewhere in the restaurant. He gets supported there by Yuichi and Paulo, both from the Philippines and have not been in Italy, but only got trained by Daniel in the MO Hotel in Tokyo.
He also is a scientist by heart, experimenting constantly with the dough to get the best possible result. The latest outcome of his experiments is that he produces 2 different doughs, one for a cheese based pizza and another one for the non cheese pizzas. The cheese based dough contains up to 25% rye while the non cheese one only up to 2%. For both of them he uses sparkling water, of course San Pellegrino! This distinction makes interesting tasting as one really tastes the difference. He also does not fall into the Roman (even though he comes from there) or Napolitanian category of his pizzas. He falls somewhere in between. The bottom is thin and crispy while the outer crust is thicker, fluffy and doughy.
He kindly prepared an Omakase tasting menu, kicking off with a grilled shikakumame (winged beans) from Okinawa, following up with his signature tomato salad with stracciatella cheese topping. A small course, pizza bread with mortadella and truffles provided a first highlight but the absolute standout was the Maitake pizza. Of course, we had to eat the benchmark Marinara to wrap up the savory dishes. This is comfort food at its best.
Fantastic place, great food, pushing pizza to its highest level.