Before rolling out Crown Heights’ first Neapolitan-style pizzeria, indie filmmaker Ron Brown (A Perfect Fit, Consent) paid his dues in Naples, apprenticing with the Stefano Ferrara family—an illustrious clan that has been building wood-burning pizza ovens for more than a century.
The scene: Striking architectural detailing includes wood and steel frames hanging from a soaring ceiling, weathered-paint-swabbed brick and windows overlooking a garden. Tousled Brooklynites and families fill the space, gathering at tables in white-wainscotted nooks or sipping Negronis at the Carrera marble bar, in view of a white-tiled, wood-burning oven gleaming in the open kitchen.
’Za style: New Brooklyn. Like its Prospect Heights predecessor Franny’s, Brown mixes traditional techniques (char-spotted crusts made with Caputo 00 flour) and local ingredients (fior di latte). Distinctive from the other Neapolitan-inspired versions around town, the wood-fired crust here is a little flatter, and almost pitalike, with a pocket of air at the edges.
What to order: The standout is a white pie blanketed in melted fior di latte and salty pecorino romano, with vinegary marinated artichokes, pungent garlic and fatty nubs of smoked pancetta ($17). The Margherita ($11) might have too much drizzled olive oil, but the unimpeachable ingredients-—a sweet, bright sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes, ultracreamy fior di latte and a charred thin crust—pick up the slack. • 718-483-8834
The West Village—flush with pie greats like the iconic John’s of Bleecker Street, slice fave Joe’s and Neapolitan high-flyer Kesté Pizza & Vino—has long topped the list of New York’s pizza strongholds. But lately central Brooklyn, an area once barren of pedigreed pizza, has challenged the Manhattan ’hood’s dominance, with ambitious joints popping up like rapid fire at the nexus of Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Clinton Hill. First came Barboncino, bringing Neapolitan-style pies to Franklin Avenue last October. Two more dough-twirling spots soon followed, springing up within a three-block radius of Barboncino: PeteZaaz debuted its offbeat toppings (fried chicken with curried yellow squash, General Tso’s tofu with broccoli) last December, and Rosco’s started turning out classic New York–inspired slices in July. Then in January, just a short bike ride away from this trifecta, Speedy Romeo cranked up its wood-fired oven, drawing pizza nerds hot on the scent of smoke-perfumed crusts. Do as they have: Add this burgeoning ’za hub to your pizza hit list.
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