>> DOUGH by Licastri | Eat the World NYC

01 February 2021

DOUGH by Licastri

USA 🇺🇸🍕

COVID-19 UPDATE: Though primarily a takeout joint, DOUGH by Licastri has an outdoor deck that remains open for warmer days.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

Staten Island pizza is commonly cited but rarely appreciated in full by New Yorkers from the other four boroughs. Though challenging without a vehicle, diners that make the drive (or subway/bus/train ride) are often rewarded with pies that are as billed: as good or better than your average pie from Brooklyn or points further afield.
Many Staten Island pizzerias serve whole pies rather than slices, and these come in a variety of perspectives: neighborhood pizzeria (Villa Monte, Nonna’s, Brother’s), old school (Denino’s Pizzeria Tavern, Joe & Pat’s, Lee’s Tavern), newer school (Pizzeria Giove, Campania), and close to the ferry (Pier 76, the now-defunct Paulie’s). A newer entry in that second-to-last category is Richmond Road’s Dough by Licastri, which opened in 2016.

Gourmet pizzas and creative toppings are more common in Brooklyn and Manhattan than Staten Island, but Dough by Licastri combines genuine creativity with a rock-solid grasp of pizza basics—their dough, as you might expect, is fantastic, their sauces are balanced, and the pies do not drown in toppings. The results are nothing short of inspiring.

The Hotter than July ($24, above) is a spicy meat-heavy red pie, topped with fennel sausage, hot soppressata, fresh mozzerella, pecorino, and grilled long hot peppers, and finished with fresh basil and jalapeno honey. The garbage pie is a common menu item at Staten Island pizzerias, in which (generally) three meats and a couple of of veggies are combined on the same pie. This is in the same spirit, but whereas garbage pies tend to be enjoyable but less than the sum of their parts, the Hotter than July ingredients cooperate in an ensemble effort, every bite a little different, and everything a little bit better than it would have been on its own. Which would already have been pretty fantastic.
Over on the white pie side of things, the Popeye and Olive Oyl ($22, above) takes a white spinach pie and adds red onion, substitutes smoked mozzerella and bechamel for the white component, and tops it with pickled teardrop peppers. This Peruvian ingredient is one you have likely not had on a pizza, but which you might find yourself asking for side orders of to add to future pies.

One such option for that is the Pistachio Pesto Pie ($22, below), which substitutes pistachios for basil and adds bechamel and sausage to the mix. It is rich and nutty and again genuinely makes sense when you eat it, which you will want to do again as soon as possible.
Besides pizza, Dough by Licastri has sandwiches, salads, and a handful of similarly-creative appetizers. During a recent lunch an impulsive order of mac & cheese eggrolls ($10.50, below) was far superior to other deep-fried mac-and-cheese products, served with sweet chili sauce and complicated by blue cheese and (inevitably) bacon.
The eggroll wrapper kept the mac and cheese moist and, just, wow. You might find yourself almost annoyed to have one more thing to order besides the amazing pies.
For the car-less, you could plan a lovely and extremely caloric daytrip of taking the ferry and then the train to south Staten Island, combining a visit to Dough by Licastri with a pie from the nearby Lee’s Tavern, or even a third stop at Pizzeria Giove. Beautiful High Rock Park and Historic Richmondtown are also within easy bus or bike distance if you need to walk off the pizza.
Though the restaurant itself is minuscule, outdoor dining is available on a surprisingly pleasant back deck fenced off from Richmond Road, and diners are encouraged to BYOB. You might see turkeys walking by on the sidewalk as you eat your pie. You might also find yourself wondering if this could be not just the best pie in Staten Island but one of the very best in the city.


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