As a New Yorker, I am picky and personal about my pizza. I like a thin crust, fresh tomato sauce that’s not too sweet and whenever possible, fresh basil on the mozzarella.
So it was with some reticence (and mild horror) that I found myself picking up a slice of pizza in downtown Manhattan recently that was slathered with truffles, foie gras and caviar. Oh and lots of gold.
And the biggest travesty: the price. I was about to eat the most expensive pizza on the planet — costing $2,000. That works out to $250 a slice or about $50 a bite.
The ultimate upper-crust is featured in the new season of CNBC’s “Secret Lives of the Super Rich.” It’s the creation of chef Braulio Bunay and his downtown Manhattan restaurant, called Industry Kitchen.
Bunay wanted to create a super-special delicacy to honor the restaurant’s proximity to Wall Street — the heart of capitalism and fortune seekers.
Not content with the usual tomato-and-cheese recipe, Bunay set out to reinvent the very idea — and cost — of pizza. The secret to the super pie is the unusual ingredients, which are flown in fresh from around the world. To give them enough travel time, the pie has to be ordered two days in advance.
The 12-inch crust starts with a special black dough made from Indian squid ink and special flour imported from Italy. It’s then sprinkled with gold flakes from Ecuador (don’t worry, there will be more gold later).
After it’s fired in the oven briefly, the crust is then coated with a special white Stilton cheese from England. He then adds what I call the plutocrat’s pepperoni — thick slices of foie gras flown in from France. He then adds $300 worth of black truffles, also just off the plane from France. Then comes the caviar — exotic Ossetra fresh from the Caspian Sea.
To top it all off, he layers on strips of edible gold strips made in Germany, giving the entire pie a golden sheen. For a splash of color, he adds some rose petals.
“It’s unique,” Bunay told me. “It’s all about the ingredients.”
But like any pizza, it should be all about the taste. And with so many super-rich ingredients, I was prepared to take a polite bite, say it’s “interesting” and leave the $2,000 pizza for other diners with more money than sense.
But I couldn’t. After taking the first bite, I took another. And then another. Two slices and $500 later, I could no longer deny it. The $2,000 pizza is damn good.
The tangy brine from the cheese and ocean-freshness of the caviar perfectly balanced the heaviness of the foie gras and crust.
It was comforting and decadent and earthy and blingy all at the same time. It wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had, because it wasn’t a pizza at all. But it was one of the best bites of anything I’ve ever tasted.
Before taking my final bites, there was only one thing to do. I took Bunay’s glass shaker full of gold flakes, held it over my slice and made it rain gold on his cheesy creation.
Because when you’re eating a $2,000 pizza, there is no such thing as too much.