Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl this year. I’ve waited patiently – oh so patiently – for Delancey to open up. I even waited a few weeks for them to work the kinks out and for the initial craze to subside because I had such ridiculously absurd aspirations for this place that I wanted to give it every opportunity to shine.
And I am not at all exaggerating when I say that when we did finally go to this new Ballard hot-spot, I was about as excited as a kid coming down the stairs on Christmas morning.
Delancey is a wood-fire pizza restaurant opened by Brandon Pettit his wife and Molly Wizenberg. I think the restaurant was so anticipated by Seattleites everywhere because we all feel like we sort of know Molly and Brandon – he twittered the restaurant-opening process, and she writes the wonderfully poetic Orangette food blog. Hers is the kind of food writing that makes you want to grab a cup of coffee and start a virtual conversation about food. Plus Molly is a red(ish) head, so she gets extra points for that.
We went with another couple, and between the four of us I was able to taste almost everything on the menu (which, let’s face is, is the real reason to go out with other people). I had the Billy’s Greens salad – lovely mixed greens with radishes, crumbled grana, and a light vinaigrette. SM had the Billy’s Tomatoes salad with fresh sweet corn, shallots, olive oil and vinegar. Apparently Billy is the farmer who supplies many of Delancey’s ingredients. Billy is the man. It’s amazing how produce actually has flavor when it doesn’t come out of a plastic bag. The tomatoes were the deepest, richest red you’ve ever seen and despite my aversion to raw tomatoes, I instantly wanted to eat them. (Before you go crazy, I know, I know. It’s absurd. I have tried really really hard to like raw tomatoes, it’s just not going to happen.)
And then the pizzas started arriving. They bring them out as they are finished, and I WIN – my pizza comes out first. This is a pretty mean trick for SM and our friends – they are left sitting at the table staring at my gorgeous pizza. However, it’s an even meaner trick on me because it came straight from the oven to the table, and the cheese and sauce are actually molten hot. So we had to just sit there. All of us. Staring at this gorgeous pizza, waiting to dig in.
I burned the crap out of my mouth.
I suppose it’s the price you pay for getting your pizza first. I think it served as sufficient warning to the rest of the table. You can tell I was so anxious to take a bite that I couldn’t even wait the 2 seconds it takes to snap a picture. Sorry, you’ll have to use your imagination to envision the full pie.
I selected the Padron pizza, with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, padron chilies and shaved grana cheese. The padrons were roasted and deliciously hot, delivering a punch about mid-chew. But the heat subsided quickly and you were left with that wonderfully familiar tomato and mozzarella combo and a deliciously light, chewy crust. The shaved grana cheese was nutty and a wonderful balance to the heat of the chilies.
I also stole bites of the pepperoni, the Brooklyn (fresh and aged mozzarella with red sauce and basil), and a white pizza with olive oil, mozzarella and thyme. Each was uniquely different, and all had the wonderful crust that I’m sure Brandon and Molly have been working on for months. And probably dreaming about for years.
For dessert we sampled the peaches in wine – a wonderfully simple dessert of some beautiful peach slices soaked in fruity white wine. They came in a lovely little bell jar, and the waitress was kind enough in passing to suggest drinking the left over wine. Good thing – I was eyeing it but holding back after my earlier lack of table etiquette. But after her permission – I slurped it right down.
There are lots of great pizza places in Seattle, even right in Ballard. I think the thing that makes Delancey different is the ingredients. While others are building flavor by mixing together all sorts of crazy toppings, Delancey is using really simple ingredients to bring huge flavor. For me, it works. The salad is a great example – it’s easy to forget what lettuce and radishes actually taste like. Particularly with the over-processing and over-sugaring of many foods, our taste buds are out of practice. But each of the dishes on the Delancey menu highlight one, beautifully whole, rich ingredient. And then you remember why simple food done right is oh so good.
1415 NW 70th Street, Seattle (Ballard)
Open: Wednesday – Sunday, 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM (or until they run out of dough)
Reservations available for parties of 6 or more