Restaurant Roundup: Grimaldi's Pizzeria

As I mentioned in Keste Pizza & Vino, Lauren and I already had our next stop on the pizza tour lined up and done, and this time with a special guest. The location was Grimaldi's and the guest was none other than my fab sister Kimberly. It was a date night for 3 on that chilly Monday eve, and our hope was that it would be one of the only situations in which there would be absolutely no wait for a table - something that becomes a serious issue at the famed Brooklyn hotspot, though I wouldn't know because we were right - apparently the perfect time to go with no wait whatsoever is directly after work on a cold Monday night. The tiny pizzeria in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass...and that it was) is a blink-and-you-miss-it locale, except for the fact that you probably wouldn't be in DUMBO unless you're after a mean piece o'pie. And when I say it's Down Under the Manhattan Bridge's literally Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass. Luckily for Lauren and me, Kimmi has become somewhat of a Brooklyn tour guide slash connisseur since starting Brooklyn Law in September. Otherwise, we probably would have been walking in circles. If you're going to make the trek, bring a map. And you might say, "Rachel, don't you live in Jersey City and therefore wouldn't it make more sense to visit the Hoboken location?" And I'd reply with, "Yes, it certainly would make more sense. But my need to try the original and authentic coupled with a Brooklyn date night with my sis led me straight to the source." Anyhoo, you probably want to hear about some deelish pizza, so I'll ramble no further.
We started off the night, as any ladies night should, with a carafe of wine. House red wine, to be clear. I'm not sure what house red means, but I will say that for $16 it afforded us about 3 glasses each. And don't you just love the checkered tablecloth? I mean, really, does it get more authentic than that?
Since there are no slices, we ordered a large pie, half regular, half peppers and onions. Though for me personally, the peppers were a little overpowering, it was still quite a fantastic slice of pizza.
For me, the real winner in this situation was the cheese. It really made the entire pie sing...and by sing, I mean come together in one saucy, cheesy, gooey delicious bundle. The thin crust makes this pizza very close to my heart as a good, thin crust is the perfect vehicle for shoveling lots of sauce and cheese into my proverbial piehole (pun not intended!). Unlike the filling, thick crust of Keste (which, by the by, I was recently told is not in fact a quality of authentic Neapolitan pizza..something I need to look into further), the paper thin Grimaldi's crust allowed for more slices and so Lauren, Kim and I decided it only necessary to order another small, plain pie. For research, of course. For an even deeper look at Grimaldi's, Kim and I snuck some photos in the back where the magic was going down.

Toward the end of the evening, it came to the part of dinner where we inevitably articulate the ups and downs of the meal. The part where we ask ourselves, how does it measure up? As a stand alone pie and in comparison to both Otto and Keste? And the truth is...all three pizzas were so very different that I don't even feel it fair to compare. For a basic, thin crusted pizza, Grimaldi's was pretty outstanding. (I will mention here that Shaun has been participating in the 'satellite pizza tour' as I bring him home take-out orders, and he thinks Grimaldi's comes in strong at numero uno). It was nothing fancy - just straight up, good pizza. Would I go back? In a Brooklyn minute.

So what do you think? Have you been to Grimaldi's? Or any other pizza joint that measures up, so to speak?

Psst...if you missed any other pizza reviews, check out Keste Pizza & Vino and An Otto-matic Favorite...

Restaurant Roundup: Keste Pizza & Vino

It's a double dose of the restaurant roundup this week as I've just been dining out a lot over the last couple of weeks. Last week, Lauren and I visited Keste Pizza & Vino, a tiny Village pizzeria dishing up traditional Neapolitan pizza. If you recall, Lauren and I had our very first date at Otto Enoteca, where outstanding pizza, creamy cheese, truffle honey and marinated cherries reigned supreme. Since we had such a fun time and went on to speak of Otto and pizza for weeks following that fateful night, we decided it only fitting that our next dinner outing should involve cheesy, crusty goodness. And so began a veritable borough-wide pizza tour, fueled by our mutual love for pizza coupled with a virtually endless supply of pizza joints across the city. But Keste is no ordinary pizza joint. With a laundry list of options that cook in mere minutes in their signature brick oven, Keste prides itself on its thick-crusted, authentic Neapolitan pizza. Let's get down to the details...

We started the meal with a salad...the only healthy item that would be consumed all evening. Fresh slices of parmigiano reggiano topped off these fresh, salty greens.

Moving onto the main attraction, L and I picked two pizzas to sample (for research purposes of course). The first was the special of the night; a signature crusted (read: thick, salty and perfectly cooked in a brick oven that took up half the restaurant) pizza starring buffalo mozzerella, stracciatella cheese (a creamy mozzerella), fresh basil, grape tomatoes and prosciutto di parma (a thinly sliced, cured ham featured only on my side of the pizza, as L is meat-free). There really just aren't words for this one. I had never knowingly had stracciatella cheese and I've decided that it needs to be explored (and more importantly, consumed) further. The grape tomatoes and prosciutto gave it the salty, tanginess that really made the whole dish sing. The second photo below was also featured in my January Favorites (as we actually visited Keste during the last week of January).

In addition to the pizza special, we also ordered a funghi pizza; mushroom, fresh basil, tomatoes, and mozzerella. Again, the crust was absolute perfection.

 This time, we got to sample the true test of Italian cooking - "the sauce" (and if you grew up with an Italian mother, you already know that this is the almighty barometer of all things food). Since the special did not have sauce, the funghi pizza was the only test. The result? It passed my test with flying colors. Unlike the extreme heat behind Mario Batali's marinara pizza, this sauce was sweet...the only way to do "the sauce" in my opinion.

Lauren enjoying the funghi pizza

...and me chowing down on the salty crust

The bottom line? A fantastic pizza joint that I will certainly be revisiting, not only for more of the standard fare, but apparently we seriously missed out on the Nutella pizza and that's just not really acceptable in my book. What can I say? There was less than zero amount of stomach space left. After all, by the end, our plates looked like this:

Though I am typically not, I repeat not, a fan of thick-crusted pizza, the Keste kind worked for me. Though it was thick, it was crispy on the outside and had just the right hint of salt. Delish.

What I really want to know from you is, where is your favorite pizza joint? Is it in New York? New Jersey? Standard delivery? Gourmet? Send some recommendations and tips in the comments!

Psst...L & I already moved onto pizza joint #3, and this time with another guest joining the table. This time we're moving to the outer boroughs for a slice of the famous Grimaldi's. The question it the best pizza in New York? In the universe? You'll have to check back to find out.