It was a quick trip back to Italy for me, this week, as I indulged in classic Sicilian-style fare at the newly opened Via Roma Pizza Bar in Carroll Gardens.
The unassuming eatery not only offers up quintessentially authentic food, the atmosphere is one of relaxed chic, from the oversized vintage photos lining the walls to the light fixtures that appear as if they have been made from box graters and wine bottles.
We sampled just a few of the pizzeria’s specialties, all based on tried-and-true family recipes, says co-owner Joe Conigliaro, who recalled that his family “started a pizzeria in Sicily a long time ago,” and who himself owned Palermo Pizza in lower Manhattan for 25 years. Those cherished recipes are now recreated in Brooklyn as well as in the other eateries owned by the family in Manhattan and Orlando, Florida, with a fourth poised to open in Philadelphia.
While Via Roma has only been open since mid-October, it’s already gaining a good reputation, said Robby Conigliaro, Joe’s son, who said the response, so far, has been, “Positive, positive, positive.” That, he noted, likely has to do with the authentic recipes being recreated as well as the commitment to top-quality ingredients from fresh mozzarella to Italian peeled tomatoes.
“We use everything from my grandfather back in Italy,” Conigliaro added, “how he made the sauce and the dough, the rice balls. We wanted to make the food great and the atmosphere great.”
We started off, not with pizza, but with a plate of Via Roma’s Penne Absolute ($9), its version of Penne with Vodka. The sauce, which contains cream as well as spirits, is tomato-based, with just the right note of sweetness. It bathes al dente pasta that’s been sprinkled with parsley, for classic comfort food, Palermo-style.
We also tried Via Roma’s rice balls ($5-7) large orbs of perfectly cooked rice stuffed with chopped meat. One we tried plain; the other was dolled up with melted cheese and sauce on top. Both were supremely satisfying.
Then, we moved on to the pizza, digging in to slices of the original ($19, pie) which sang of the Mediterranean, between the brightly flavored tomato sauce, the melty mozzarella, the fresh basil and the lashings of extra virgin olive oil, all atop a crust that was tender and perfectly charred.
We also tried slices of the Salsiccia pie ($23), which was piled high with spicy pepperoni and Italian sausage over tomato sauce and mozzarella, a meat-lover’s delight, as filling as it was warming – a perfect ending to a delightful meal before we went back out into the cold November night.
VIA ROMA PIZZA BAR
445 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
929-337-9714 or 929-337-9711 (fax: 347-384-2009
Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Free delivery within a mile radius