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First Look: Plate in New Albany

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New Albany has earned a reputation as town lacking in local places to eat out. So it’s no surprise that the newest addition to its food scene—the Italian-inspired and pizza-focused Plate, opened in May at the corner of High and Main streets—has created quite the buzz in this suburban outskirt. And from my first impressions, there’s good reason.

The atmosphere is casual—this is an approachable spot you could bring the kids (there is a small $4.99 kids menu). The exposed wood rafter ceiling is eye-catching and supports the otherwise simple decor—dark walls, white wood dividers and an out-of-place carousel horse that looks like it’s watching over the dining room. The back wall is covered in mounted plates, which seemed an odd decor choice until our server explained they are all awards won by chef Alfonso Contrisciani (a certified master chef whose last job was at the New Albany Country Club), including for his pizza.

So, of course, we had to sample a few of the seven specialty pies coming out of Plate’s Neapolitan-style oven. Full admission: I judge most pizza primarily by the crust. It’s why you’ll typically see me bite into pizza crust-end first. And Contrisciani’s crust didn’t disappoint, delivering on all the elements that make Neapolitan-style pizzas wonderful—thin, crispy on the outside and chewy inside. I loved the sweet and slightly spicy California Garden with roasted garlic and goat cheese sauce, sundried tomatoes, broccoli and peppers. Meat lovers will enjoy Mamma Mary’s Meatball, topped with large slices of garlic meatballs (called beef dumplings on the menu), a tangy San Marzano tomato sauce and mozzarella.