Images courtesy of Céline Bossart for Luxury Attaché

We sat down with Giulio Adriani, master pizzaiolo and owner of neighborhood newcomer SRO, NYC's one and only pizza speakeasy. Check out what he had to say:

LA: What inspired you to become a chef?
GA: My Neapolitan grandmother, "Nonna Maria" was the inspiration for me. She was an amazing cook and I was always staring at her when she was in the kitchen.

LA: Do you have a favorite pairing within your menu?
GA: I love white wines for the pizza margherita to contrast the acidity of the tomatoes... Something like a floral and fruity Falanghina.

LA:What sets your approach and style apart from similar chefs and destinations in NYC?
GA: Love. That is my secret ingredient for my pizza.

LA: Is there a favorite or specific ingredient that you like to incorporate in all your dishes?
GA: House-made mozzarella, Di Palo selection and Buonitalia specialty cheeses.

LA: Tell us about your signature pizza.
GA: Fried pizza was served in my home in Italy for decades, and my grandma was a master at making it. The Montanara is an authentic Neapolitan pie where the dough is flash-fried, toppings are added, and the pizza is finished off in a 1,000 F-degree wood-burning oven. Adding the oven finishing to this technique just removes a lot of grease and gives the opportunity to add and melt the mozzarella giving a extremely good final touch to something that was already delicious. The frying inflates the crust, giving it a pillowy texture, while adding an extra layer of rich flavor.

LA: What do you do to stay on top of the new cooking trends?
GA: I go to the farmer's market as often as possible and speak with suppliers to see what's good and available.

LA: How often do you come up with new pizza creations? Are you currently working on any right now?
GA: SRO is all about experimenting with toppings and getting immediate feedback from customers. The recipes I make are sometimes totally experimental, and sometimes simple revisions of old classics.

LA: What's your secret to the perfect crust?
GA: 36-hours of high hydration with "00" caputo flour

LA: What’s your favorite part of being a chef?
GA: I love creating pizzas at SRO. It's a secret place for special pizza lovers where it's possible for me to express my creativity and actually talk with every single customer... a hidden gem in the world of pizza where turnover and money are not the focus. The flavors, the customers and the atmosphere are the most important.

LA: Name your top Italian restaurants in the city (besides SRO, of course).
GA: Mercato for a original pasta, Emanuele is a great chef. As for pizza my best friends Roberto Caporuscio and Don Antonio do an amazing job.

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Luxury Attaché