Thursday, May 15, 2008
BROOKLYN'S BEST PIZZA
Okay, maybe not all of Brooklyn. But, a few of my friends started talking about the best slices in the neighborhood, meaning Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. I've got to say, despite my neighborhood's Italian heritage, it's really hard to find a great slice in Carroll Gardens. The neighborhood is dotted with pizzeria's, so here are my Top 5.
5) SAL'S PIZZA STORE This place is a Carroll Gardens institution. It sits right at the corner of Court and Degraw streets and at night it has one of the coolest neon signs you've ever seen. You'll get a cheesy, greasy slice here, but opt for the fresh mozzarella pie and you'll be in for a treat. They go light on the sauce and cheese and the crust comes out crispier than their regular pizza's.
4) HOUSE OF PIZZA I'd like this place more, if it was open a little later. The shop on Union Street between Hicks and Columbia is really only open for lunch and closes by 5 or 6pm. House of Pizza is located in the middle of a one block business district that was once the heart of Carroll Gardens. When I moved here more than a decade ago, it had it's own butcher shop, bakery, pizza place and an old style Italian restaurant, Ferdinandos Focacceria. The butcher shop and bakery have since closed. This is a classic slice of Brooklyn pizza. Nice sweet tomato flavor and a yummy crust.
3) WORLD PIE I haven't been here in a while and its name has changed a few times, but the pizza remains solid. Your basic Brooklyn pie, but the crust really makes this one. The court street haunt is notorious for slow delivery. I remember a few years ago, I had walked by and saw the guy inside tossing the pizza while a few customers were waiting. When I got home, I decided to call to order a pie for delivery. The phone rang....and rang....and rang. So, a few minutes later, I tried again. Same thing. I was puzzled.The place was clearly open! Next time, I called, put the phone down on my desk and proceeded to walk the six blocks to the restaurant to see what was going on. When I walked in, get this, the phone in the shop was still ringing. The pizza man asked me what I'd like and I told him, I'd like him to answer the phone.
2) LUCALI This used to be an old time soda fountain. In fact, before it closed five or six years ago, it was voted to have the best egg cream in Brooklyn. They don't serve fountain drinks anymore and the new owner, Mark Iacono has taken over and gutted the place.
It's been turned into quite the family and date destination. It's a tiny space with some of the best pizza in the city. Thin crust, brick oven style. There's always a line outside and you'll wait a good 30-minutes to an hour to get a seat. They don't deliver and take-out isn't speedy, either. The pies, though here are delicious and this would have been my number one pick had the next place not come along.
1) MARCO POLO TAKE OUT The legendary mobbed up high-end Italian restaurant is spreading its wings and in a good way. Right next door to the original on Court Street, the owner of Marco Polo opened a take-out joint. Very clean, very simple and the best pie in Carroll Gardens and I would say probably one of the best brick oven pizzas' in town. The place has only been open for a few months, but I'll never forget the first time I ordered a plain cheese pie there. I called in advance to pick it up. When I arrived, 20-minutes later, they hadn't put my pie in the oven yet. This is a good thing. I realized it takes just 12 minutes to cook the pizza in that super hot brick oven. The pie was perfect. Not too much cheese, a nice sweet sauce, fresh basil and a golden brown top with a crispy crust. Best pizza in the neighborhood. Hands down.