I get just as excited about a schmancy new Neapolitan pizzeria opening as the next yuppie Brooklynite, but I also find myself disappointed more often than not. Despite the charred crust, secret-recipe sauces, and zucchini blossom toppings, these fancy-pants pies—which now frequently cross the $20 mark—often just leave me craving a slice. I mean a serious, old-school, $2.50 New York slice, served on a paper plate.
Now bridging the gap between Roberta’s and Ray’s: Williamsburg Pizza, which opened last month on S. 3rd and Union. The no-frills pizzeria is the brainchild of two neighborhood residents who just wanted a decent, late-night slice place, without having to trek over to Bedford Ave., and decided to move forward with the plan when the Chinese take-out joint in their building shut down, leaving the space up for grabs. Then they found Nino Coniglio, a pizza chef who trained under DiFara’s Domenico De Marco and formerly manned the ovens at Pizzeria Del Corso in Sheepshead Bay.
The resulting collaboration is exactly what I want every New York pizzeria to be: old-school New York-style, paper plate slices (big ones, priced fairly at $2.50 a regular slice), with new-school, foodie-friendly ingredients. In addition to the dough, Coniglio also makes his mozzarella fresh, on-site, and the high-quality ingredients—from pancetta and prosciutto to artichokes and arugula—are, for the most part, bought fresh and cooked on the pizza, not canned or pre-cooked.
There’s the basic margarita pie, but also more adventurous specials, like the bacon-and-pear Sicilian that came fresh out of the oven the day I walked in.
The bianco—topped with dollops of light, fluffy ricotta, is the classic “white slice” done to perfection.
Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, fresh mozz and mushrooms grace the Paesano.
Prosciutto and ample shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano top a crispy Parma pie.
There’s even a vegan pizza (tomato, garlic, caramelized onions, spinach, mushrooms and olives), plus garlic knots unlike any you’ve tasted: hot, crisp nuggets of freshly-made dough, topped with real garlic and real Parmesan.
It is so refreshing to see a high-quality, ingredient-focused new Brooklyn restaurant that is affordable, gimmick-free and tasty as all hell.