There are a few foods that pretty much everyone associates with Brooklyn, and for good reason.
There are bagels — the unapologetically huge, chewy, boiled-then-baked behemoths that characterize the best of the borough, and hot dogs — born, after all, in the seaside resort of Coney Island, where an annual contest immortalizes those who can down them by the dozens.
And, then, there’s pizza, at its best crisp of crust, cheesy — but not too cheesy — with a mix of mozzarella and parmesan, the glistening cap on a bed of rich red sauce spiked with basil.
That good old-fashioned pie is still made across the borough in pizzerias where the pizzaioli stretch the dough casually but competently as staffers sit on molded plastic benches at Formica tables and build cardboard pizza boxes for delivery.
You know that kind of pizzeria. And, you have your favorites.
So do we.
We’re always stopping into corner pizzerias to see how their slices are — and how they compare to the ideal Brooklyn slice, which — for many of us — may be the very first slice we ever bit into, discovering a world of flavor previously unknown to us.
Here are a few pizza places we enjoy returning to when we’re in the neighborhood.
Rocco’s, 7818 Fifth Avenue, is a Bay Ridge classic, where diners can enjoy everything from a regular slice to a variety of rolls. The eatery’s homemade marinara is renowned; so, too, is the annual pizza-eating contest Rocco’s sponsors at the Fifth Avenue Festival.
Krispy Pizza, 7112 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights, offers up a vast selection of pies, from Grandma, with a sweet, dense tomato sauce, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella, to spinach and artichoke, whose mozzarella-bathed, thin-crusted slice featured lots of cooked spinach, wedges of artichoke and the distinct and delightful flavor of garlic.
In Sheepshead Bay, V & S, 1723 Emmons Avenue, has been serving up classic pies and a few specialty pies to students at nearby Bay Academy and knowing residents for years. The neighborhood vibe is part of the appeal at this cozy joint — on my most recent visit, the pizza was brought to our table and the bill was settled at the end when I walked up to the register.
Lo Duca, 14 Newkirk Plaza in Victorian Flatbush, has been a family favorite for years. The crust here is thin, but not too thin, and chewy. There’s a nice ratio of sauce to cheese, and it does such a brisk business that there’s usually a fresh slice waiting to be devoured.
Pino’s La Forchetta Pizza, 141 Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, is another classic pizzeria, where return customers swear by the Sicilian slices. But, the slices from the round pie are none too shabby — my standard order whenever I’m around.
With hundreds of pizza places, plus fancier, table-service pizza restaurants, Brooklyn is truly a pizza-lover’s paradise. These eateries are just five reasons why.