I have eaten pizza in Italy, but never in Naples, where the standards for authentic pizza were set in the late 1800s. Last night, Esposito made the dough by hand -- using Caputo flour from Italy and adding only tap water, a little yeast and salt -- crushed the whole peeled southern Italian tomatoes by hand and topped that with house-made mozzarella made by one of the oven tenders. There are lots of toppings available, including arugula and prosciutto, but pies come in only one size -- 12 inches.
The pie spends about 90 seconds in the wood-fired oven, one of two assembled by Italian craftsmen with material sent from Italy, including volcanic soil and rock. What emerges is a thin-crust pizza that is deliciously chewy but topped with a minimum of tart tomato, gooey cheese, some olive oil and fresh basil. If you hold it at the wide end, it just droops. So there's no use asking for it well-done as you do with an American pizza in hopes of getting a stiff, crunchy crust.
After free samples of the pie and house made buffalo-milk and cow-milk mozzarella, I ordered an A Mano salad with imported marinated Italian artichokes ($7.99) and a marinara pie -- just tart tomato sauce and slivers of garlic over that soft, charred, chewy dough ($9.99). Oddly satisfying in view of my love of bigger, brawnier pizzas.