There's a new competitor in the artisanal pizza arms race, this time in restaurant heavy Hell's Kitchen, where Annabel recently opened on 9th Avenue. The new eatery turns out wood-fired pizzas, made in the cherry wood burning oven, as well as bold Italian entrees like pastas and braised meat dishes. They also boast a beer selection a nerd would be proud of and the requisite house cocktails for the liquor lovers.
Pizza toppings are funky and fun, though a simple tomato sauce and flor di latte version ($14) or vegan version without cheese ($9) are also available. Most notable of the pizza toppers are the different types of cheeses employed in lieu of mozzarella, like a pie with taleggio, caramelized onions and mushrooms ($15); another with goat cheese, asparagus and roasted lemon ($14); and one with ricotta, duck prosciutto and blueberry chutney ($17). Besides pizza, they're doing pasta dishes like cavatelli with a beef osso buco ragu ($18) and a whole orata ($23) (a type of sea bream also known as dorade) with a sautee of shallots, peas, cauliflower and green peppercorn.
The vibe in the restaurant channels that Brooklyn chic aesthetic, with tons of wood and exposed bulbs and metal fixtures. Large doors up front open to the street to capture a summer breeze or at least the whoosh of cabs barreling down 9th Avenue. The small bar might be an amiable place to sip a brew or two, like the Golden Monkey, a tripel by Victory Brewing Co or Red Wheelbarrow, an American Amber from Maine Beer Co.
809 9th Avenue, 212-245-2215; website