I finally made my way to Carroll Gardens to eat at the pizzeria of the moment, Lucali's. I'm embarrassed that it took this long. I'm officially chagrined, too, now that I've seen the place and eaten Mark Iacono's pizza and calzone. Mark and his brother (Mark makes the pies, his brother takes them in and out of the oven) make what is essentially a Di Farastyle pie in a wood-burning, gas-assisted oven.
That means the cheeses that go on the pie include mozzarella di bufala, a low-moisture full-cream mozzarella, and freshly grated grana padana. That cheese combination produces a spectacular, simultaneously tangy and creamy topping for a pizza.
Toppings include (among others) sausage from the neighborhood's fantastic Esposito's Pork Store (on nearby Court Street) and fresh portobello mushrooms that Mark slices to order. Lucali's crust is just about 100 percent crisp, which means those of us who'd like a little tenderness in our pizza crust interior will have to look elsewhere. Interestingly, Mark's calzone crust was in fact much more tender.
Crisp-tenderness issues aside, eating at Lucali's is a deeply pleasurable experience. It's a totally real, unpretentious, and heartfelt pizzeria. Plus, it's the only pizzeria I know outside Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix that gives off such a singular warm, lovely, and inviting glow.
"Don't be a stranger," Mark called out to me as I was leaving.
Address: 575 Henry Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (near Carroll, map)