Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Review by: Maggie Rosenberg & Trevor Hagstrom
Lucali doesn’t apologize for its success. Reservations, credit cards, and attitude aren’t accepted. Three hour waits aren’t unheard of. Service is a stand-offish at best and often gruff. These are the sacrifices foodies make for meals they consider worth planning a whole evening, maybe a whole trip, around.
Lucali isn’t just a fashionable new pick for best pizza. Some called it “the best” back in 2006 when it opened, Since then, it’s gained steam. What’s all the excitement about?
Like many of Brooklyn’s best pies, Lucali’s are built from hand-stretched dough pulled thin, a simple sauce with clear tomato flavor, and a complex cocktail of cheeses. The blend starts with slices of mozzarella and dollops of fresh buffalo mozz. It’s then finished with aromatic Parmesan after baking.
Lucali is one of few places where the pizzaiolo still makes pies with focus, one at a time, and then artistically finishes them with generous snips of garden basil and a glug of extra virgin olive oil. The process is reminiscent of the famous DiFara’s pizzas. However, unlike the iconic DiFara’s, Lucali’s pies are baked in a wood-fired oven that chars the crust gives them a more rustic Italian character.
Lucali is Brooklyn-born pizza, Mark Iacono grew up around Carroll Gardens. His pie is made with an acute knowledge and appreciation for what makes Brooklyn’s coal-oven pies great. He originally started the restaurant as a spontaneous plan to save his favorite candy store growing up. It feels like someone’s old house with a wood-burning pizza oven as the centerpiece. It’s decorated tastefully, with candles and jars of sauce.
One of Lucali’s charms is that you can bring your own drinks. Pizza this good is worthy of dusting off a nice bottle from the wine-cellar.
Lucali only serves two dishes: pizza and calzones, both customizable with a brief list of toppings. If you come in a large enough group, get one of each. They’re both worth tasting. If it’s just you and a friend, stick to the pizza. It’s the better choice, if only just. All of the toppings at Lucali are of top quality, but we usually abstain because pizza of this caliber should not be messed with. The little, bright red pepperoni slices are the best choice.
Lucali has a brother restaurant (the pizzaiolo is actually Mark’s brother) in the South Slope that’s almost as good and often has no wait. It’s called Giuseppina. We’ll still suffer the wait at Lucali. What’s the point of getting the second best pizza in Brooklyn?
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|