The single best reason to go to Domenica in the renovated Roosevelt Hotel (123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA): the pizza! It’s as close as you’ll get to Naples without a plane ticket. The margherita is a study in balance and understatement, with luscious mozzerella balanced by sweet, bright tomato and enough fresh basil tucked under the cheese to provide a surprising burst of green, anise lift. Plus, the damn thing is properly cooked, even charred in spots: just as it should be.
My friendly waiter took me to the kitchen, where I saw the pizza oven (sorry, no photo). It’s a bright-red, rotating-deck behemoth, hot enough to cook a pizza in just a few minutes. If I worked closer to downtown, I’d probably eat Domenica’s pizza for lunch multiple times a week.
Oh, the porchetta panino is worth eating, too. If only the espresso was better (it tends to be stale). Why would a restaurant with such attention to decor and food details be so uninspired in the coffee department? Sources tell me that the beans are Italian imports: a bad choice, when you’re sitting in the largest coffee port in North America. Here’s a novel thought: locally roasted, impeccably fresh beans trump weeks-old imported stuff.