We had business in Mid-City last week so we decided to visit Echo’s Pizza, the new outfit from the brain trust behind 1000 Figs and Leo’s Breads. There’s been a steady drumbeat in New Orleans food world claiming that this upstart outfit is making the best pizza in town.
Walking in, the rehab on what was once an old po boy shop is flat-gorgeous. A hand-painted tile mosaic with alligators and peacocks is featured amid acres of blond hardwood and large windows allowing sunlight to pour into the restaurant.
If you’re trying to get lucky, Echo’s would be a great place to impress your date.
The pizza menu is concise. There are a handful of pies (Margherita, Mushroom, Burrata et al) but it’s the common hog that (always) draws us in. We love white pie, and the description reads like a dream with braised greens, fermented chiles, garlic, cream and pork sausage.We’ve heard that Echo’s pizzas run towards the small size so we’re pleasantly surprised to have a full pizza with six decent-sized pieces brought out after a 15 minute wait.
Echo’s pizzaiola mans a giant, wood-fired pizza oven from the Earthstone company out of California. A small fire is blazing away in the back of the big beast, and we imagine he stokes the fire considerably when the room fills up for evening service.
We were praying for a smokey, blistered crust with tons of charred-out bubbles and black pockmarks scattered across the dough. Prayers that were sadly not answered. The crust was lively with a pleasant chew and toppings were carefully strewn across the pie. What was missing was acid and salt.
That could be remedied at home. The amiable waitress was happy to package our pie for takeaway and soon enough we were back home in the 9th Ward.Later that evening we cranked up a big cast-iron skillet, got it blazing hot then slid the pizza onto the pan. After a few minutes we zested a lemon over the toppings, and scattered perhaps a dozen grains of salt on the pie. Heaven.
When we’re discussing a new restaurant in New Orleans we always end our conversations with one quick question “Would you go back?” After all that’s the only thing that matters. Are you willing to return and spend more money with the restaurateurs?
And we would go back to Echo’s. Maybe take a date, buy a bottle of wine, beg for a lemon and ask after a salt shaker. Make that two bottles of wine and we’ll be hollering “I ain’t had so much fun since the hogs ate my little sister”
3200 Banks St
New Orleans, LA