Fabbrica, the name of Alberto Baudo’s new restaurant, bar and café on the Williamsburg waterfront, means ‘factory’ in Italian. That was the idea, said Baudo, who explained that “the area used to be factories and is changing rapidly, but I wanted to pay homage. The shelving [which houses the wine] separates two souls in one body [the café and restaurant, which share a larger space].” As he noted, “it’s industrial and artisanal.”
Baudo, a journalist-turned-restaurateur who is also the mind behind Manhattan eateries Acqua and Quartino, is big on quality ingredients made by quality people. That is why he hand-picked Simone Bonelli (executive chef), Matteo Boglione (second chef), and Edie Aramon (pizza chef) to bring “novelty Italian cuisine” to the north Brooklyn waterfront.
“What was missing was a place where you could have a nice up of [LavAzza] coffee,” he said. “I wanted to bring the European sensibility in coffee, different from American trends.”
In addition to 200-year traditions in coffee, Fabbrica Café features freshly baked French croissants, panini, macarons, and sandwiches with meat sliced in a 1920s slicer; the restaurant has signature dishes featuring house-made mozzarella, pasta, ravioli, and bread, in dishes such as a savory Parmigiano Reggiano Crème Brulee ($14), Vitello Tonnato 2.0 ($26), a combination of veal and sushi-grade tuna, and specialty pizzas; the full bar stocked with wine and more.
Start your meal off with some freshly-baked bread, served with extra virgin olive oil in wedges that are at once salty, light, fluffy and crisp. Then move on to that dessert-as-appetizer, that crème brulee, which is a surprising and perfect pairing of lightly sweet and creamy custard topped with a savory sprinkling of 24-month-aged parmigiano cheese.
Select one of Fabbrica’s gourmet pizzas – the menu of which is still evolving – which range in price from $20 to $26. For ours, the bread was baked and topped right in front of us in the open-air kitchen. The crust was sliced in half, filled with a layer of delicious soft-ripened robiola cheese that resembles ricotta in texture, and then topped with plenty of fresh arugula and thinly sliced prosciutto, and drizzled with truffle oil. Eaten all together, everything is soft and light, with a slight creamy tang. It is also very filling and well-worth the price as it could easily fill two bellies.
There are lunch and dinner menus, and other gourmet pizza toppings include things like sea urchin, wild mushrooms and cauliflower.
No Italian repast is complete without Tiramisu ($10), which at Fabbrica consists of a liquor-free concoction of firm, not-too-cakey finger cookies layered between cream topped with French Valrhona cocoa powder.
When you are done with your meal, feel free to relax over a cup of espresso with your laptop or a friend at a seat under the giant mural painted by a local Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist who goes by the moniker Vigilism. And grab a bag of fluffy croissants and an assortment of soft cookies on your way out.
“The thing that makes us different is we’re one stop for lovers of Italian cuisine,” said Baudo. Between the food, the atmosphere, the service and the plans to start cooking classes on topics such as how to make “the perfect pasta,” we’d say that there is plenty about Fabbrica that stands out.
FABBRICA RESTAURANT & BAR
40 North 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
Open daily, 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.