Razza is without a doubt downtown Jersey City’s best new pizza restaurant. It’s not perfect, but it gets an overwhelming number of things right. One of the restaurant’s most controversial moves is that they charge $4 for bread and butter. (What kind of restaurant does this?!) Well, there’s a reason.
Razza’s entire mission is based upon transparency and simplicity. This is beyond organic vs. non-organic. It’s about combining flawless ingredients and creating the most balanced dish possible. If you don’t believe me, there’s a 4-minute video where chef Dan Richer explains how he makes the restaurant’s bread and butter. It’s great, you should definitely watch it. As for myself, what bothered me is that you only get about 4 thick-cut slices of bread with a healthy smear of butter. For two people, that’s fine. For a table of 3 or more, you’re going to run out of bread and at least the times I went — it doesn’t look like you’ll get extra bread. (It’s the least they could do if you pay $4 for it). As for the taste, the butter has a very creamy almost cheese-like flavor, which I personally loved. I recommend it, but for $3 more I’d opt for the Ricotta Crostini, which is a little more filling and just as delicious (plus, it has ricotta).
On to the service. The four times I’ve been service has been solid. From the front desk to the wait staff, everyone has been exceptionally helpful and friendly. The wait staff truly goes above and beyond and they seem genuinely nice. The space itself is a little on the small side, which leads me to my biggest gripe. Tables are placed way to close to one another. I understand restaurants need to maximize their space, but when my neighbor’s conversation is coming in loud and clear, then we have a problem. The tight space also means that the wait staff is constantly standing in the back of the restaurant looking down on everyone. I wouldn’t mind that so much (it actually makes it easier to get their attention), but if you’re seated in one of the back tables, it makes it feel like they’re hovering above you throughout your entire dinner.
As for the pizzas, they’re great. I’ve had the La Rossa, Margherita, Bianco, Panna (pictured above), and the Baby Bella. La Rossa has been my favorite by far closely followed by the Baby Bella and the Panna. One thing about the pizzas — they’re a bit on the small side. The majority of the pizza is puffy crust, which leaves you with little room for the actual cheese/sauce/ingredients, so you might want to try two pizzas for a table for two. (Remember, here you’re paying for quality, not quantity.)
On occasion, Razza serves up a gnocchi special (which I’ve yet to try). It’s the only pasta entree you’ll find at the restaurant, since the menu consists solely of pizzas (excluding the appetizers). Their wine list is also small, but features a nice price range of wines from $34 for the cheapest bottle to $87 for the priciest.
The first time I ate at Razza, I had the tiramisu for dessert, which was light and downright delicious. Unfortunately, it’s never been back (although a waitress told me they might bring it back to the menu). In the meantime, I recommend the panna cotta which has a nice layer of caramel. I was disappointed to find out they had no espresso or tea options, but those are just very minor gripes for an otherwise stellar restaurant.
Razza | 275 Grove Street (corner of Montgomery) | www.razzanj.com