Amalle, who is one of my best pizza informants, sent me an article about the best “under the radar” Brooklyn pizzerias, many of which are unknown outside the neighborhood. I found myself in New York with a free afternoon when S.O. offered up their car for a pizza adventure. And so I busted out the list. According to the article, “Their locations may prevent them from making the best-of lists, but they all serve pizza that’s worth the bus or car ride.” Well, we will just have to see about that. Because of time constraints, and because Brooklyn is so goddamn big, we(Star, S.O., me) only hit two of the ten places: Ramagi Brick Oven Pizza and A&V Pizza.
When we approached the outside of Ramagi, my fancy pizza radar went up and I immediately grew suspicious. A sleek looking building stood out from everything else on the block, including the Domino’s directly across the street. When we went in, my hackles were raised even further. They had thought-out lighting design, exposed brick walls, and a modern color scheme. Hmmm. Even worse, there were wine bottles arranged on the wall and pizzas with lobster on the menu. I was concerned. This seemed to be a fancy pizzeria, and I have nothing but well-documented negative feelings on that subject.
But—they served slices. $2 slices. Delicious looking slices. Soda in a can from a cooler. Paper napkins and no table service. Katy Perry on the radio. Was this place fancy or not? With nary a mention of truffle oil to be seen, I was willing to proceed forward despite my hesitation.
Place: Ramagi Brick Oven Pizza
Location: Prospect Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn
Pepsi: in a can. thank you.
Price: $2 plain slice/$3.50 white slice
Setting: The guys working here were really sweet. As mentioned above, the place was fairly fancy looking for a pizzeria.
The Pizza: The white slice was nothing special, which I found very confusing. The ingredients separate from each other were really good. The ricotta was certainly not the crap squeezed from a tube used at so many places. Spinach, olive oil, mozzarella, I could taste that all of them were quality ingredients. But somehow it didn’t come together as a slice. It looked delicious, but its parts were better than their sum.
As for the plain slice, it was pretty good. Especially at $2, which might be among the cheapest slices I’ve ever gotten in NY (save the $1 slice places, which are in their own separate category). Again, you could tell that the separate ingredients were good quality, the slice was thin but not crispy, and the sauce was light. All traits I like in a slice. At the price, it was a good goddamn bang for my buck. I’d definitely go back.
Notable: There was a lovely arrangement of toppings brought out to our table along with our slice. This included sweet chili sauce, which I wasn’t really sure about. But you know I’m always up for a weird new pizza trick. Turns out the sweet sauce was a pretty nice complement to both slices. Also notable, Star pretended like she had never been there before when IN ACTUALITY she had been there before but concealed that fact, “because i didn’t want to ruin your virgin experience.”
Weird Menu Items: Baked ziti pie, which looked tempting. But I knew I had a few slices ahead of me that afternoon, so I opted for a medium order of carbs rather than an extra large. Also, the “Taste of the Islands” pizza sounds delightful: jerk chicken, pineapple, jalapenos, and “spicy sauce.”
Place: A&V Pizza
Location: East Flatbush, Brooklyn
Pepsi: yup. cans for $1.
Price: $2.25 plain slice/$2.75 grandma slice
Setting: Tiny little pizza place in a block of Carribean bakeries and clothing stores. Your standard counter with three little tables on the side. Italian language soccer playing on the tv. It was a little on the dingy side. Also, I have absolutely no idea why I didn’t take any photos while I was here. Here’s one I found online.
(this man was not there when i was. but he does look nice.)
The Pizza: Dear lord. S.O. and I split a plain slice and a grandma slice. I can’t remember how the counterguy described the grandma slice, but it was pretty much a sauce heavy Sicilian slice with a very very thin crust. It was terrible. I didn’t even finish my half slice, handing it over to S.O.
S.O. liked it, saying “It tastes like Spaghetti-O’s. But it doesn’t taste like a slice of pizza.” It was overcooked; the cheese was plastick-y. The sauce made me think how air freshner purports to be a particular scent, say lemon, but smells very little like lemon, and actually just smells like horrible chemicals. That’s what this sauce was like-I sort of knew what they were going for but it in no way shape or form resembled a marinara sauce or a red pizza sauce.
As for the plain, well, it was below average. Again, shitty cheese, meh sauce, no seasonings whatsoever. BUT. The crust was amazing. S.O. was not as sold on the crust but I really, really was. It was clearly made in house, not frozen, and tasted like a delicious salty hoagie roll. It wasn’t enough to balance out everything else wrong with it, or for me to ever even think about getting another slice there, but it was really, really fucking good.
Notable: The most notable thing about A&V Pizza, quite honestly, was the flirty Italian gentleman working behind the counter. (not the one pictured above.) He winked in the most charming way possible while chatting me up. Usually I would find flirty, winky men minorly irritating at best. But not this guy. Mr. A&V, I’m single and I respect your profession like a motherfucker. Hit me up.
Weird Menu Items: Chicken caesar salad pizza. Which is not that weird in and of itself, but it looked to be topped, post-baking, with fresh romaine lettuce. I asked my charming Italian friend at the counter about the pie and he explained “It’s a diet pie. You know, sometimes the ladies like a diet pie, when they’re trying to lose weight.” Dear readers, I never, ever want a diet pizza. Nor do I think that a plate of dough smothered with caesar salad dressing would be considered diet food for anyone, but that man could have told me anything and I would’ve giggled and agreed. If he had told me pizza blogging was a worthless endeavor, I would’ve immediately deleted my blog and awaited further instructions from him on how to spend my time.