Under the Bridge: Pizza Chronicles
We made a journey to Grimaldi's Pizzeria (the Zagat Guide's "best pizza in New York") in Brooklyn Heights this weekend, continuing our extended tour of some of the East Coast's most storied pizza places.
It is charmingly located pretty much directly under the Brooklyn Bridge, and while from the outside it looks like a charmless by-the-slice sort of place, inside it was bustling with activity (this was Saturday lunch) and made cozy by the requisite pizzeria red-checked table coverings, and lots and lots of pictures of Frank Sinatra on the walls.
I'll say up front this wasn't my favorite thin-crust pizza ever - I think that honor still has to go to the magical first slice of Santarpio's pizza I had last spring. Where Grimaldi's blows away the competition on crispness of crust and freshness of ingredients, it lacked, for me, a certain intensity of flavor. Maybe they just don't overdo it on the salt, and I'm betraying my palate's lack of sophistication; who knows. However, this is not to say I wouldn't happily consume a Grimaldi's pie every week for the rest of my life if it were in my neighborhood. Here's what sets it apart:
- They only use fresh mozzarella, which we read they make there.
- Their brick oven is coal-fired, which is apparently unusual these days because some cities don't allow new ones to be built. (Grimaldi's founder Patsy Grimaldi describes the superiority of the coal oven-fired pizza in this article if you're interested.)
- The dough and all the ingredients are super fresh. I could certainly taste that difference. It was like a little farmer's market on my pizza slice.
You can only get whole pizzas (also calzones) here, no slices, so if you go be prepared to eat. We handily consumed a large cheese pie between the two of us. "Let's get the large and have leftovers," we said when we ordered it. Ha!