I’d like to talk about Flour & Stone without addressing its claim to be serving “Brooklyn-style” pizza. I’d avoid addressing this pesky brand of self-hating city worship altogether if I could, but particularly when it comes to food. After all, if I roll my eyes whenever I see a Chicago-pizza place in another city (why are they always in airports?), I have to roll my eyes the other way, too. Besides, I lived in Brooklyn for a while, and I know the pizza there is the same floppy stuff served in Queens and Manhattan. So I chalk Brooklyn pizza up to a myth, just like Chicago cheesecake.
Well, actually, there is no anyway. I said I’d like to avoid talking about this, but without this claim, Flour & Stone leaves me very little to mention. There is no service to speak of—the place is counter service. There are no appetizers to rate—just two salads, both of them ample and serviceable. There is no dessert—“not yet,” a cashier told me when she saw how disheartened I was. (Maybe it should serve cheesecake.)
That leaves only the Brooklyn-style pizza. The crust of these pies is sturdy and chewy with blistered edges. Slices aren’t effortlessly foldable like New York–style pies, which is always, I think, a good thing. But the reasons for its sturdiness are of some concern. The fire of the oven crisps the bottom nicely—that’s good. But the top of these pizzas are light on the sauce, which renders the slices a little dry, a little brittle (which is unusual for both Brooklyn and Chicago). The exception is the Florentine, which has chunks of tomatoes and spinach that generously lend their juices to the mix. But the classic with pepperoni? A garlicky white pie with mushrooms? What these otherwise flavorful and satisfying pies could use is a little Chicago slickness.