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New Pizza, Carroll Gardens

We tried the new spot, South Brooklyn Pizza, last night. It was their first few hours of operation, so the kinks were still being ironed out. I think the coal oven was running hot, so the pies got a bit crispy. They were only serving a cheese pie, but had a full bar. I'm not an expert, but this was a tasty pie. Thin, chewy crust, but a bit too much char. That said, the wooden plank it arrived on, was empty when we left. The owner said toppings will start to be offered today. I hope this place gels, as the 'hood could use another casual, tasty alternative to over-priced slices and Lucali's. Oh, the sauce was fresh and sweet and delicious.

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    1. Coal oven - really? I didn't know there were any old coal oven spots in that part of the 'hood, and new ones aren't allowed.

      1. hmm. i'll have to try this out. i wonder if they deliver (having a get together at my apt tomorrow for the Office season finale). if anyone has a phone #, please post it!

        1. Is this the red building next to PJ Hanley's? It's technically part of and owned by PJ Hanleys, no?

          2 Replies
            1. re: sunshine272

              I didnt realize this was open. I went to PJ's for food and drinks on the 13th and they told me it wasnt open yet.

          1. I tried it over this past weekend. Jim the pizzaiolo (owner?) said the coal oven was already there in a dilapidated state and was restored to operating condition. As the post above indicates, he is serving only one pizza. It is a personal-sized oblong shaped pizza ($12 by the way) served on a wooden plank. He is using fresh mozzarella and a bit of asiago, fontina and parmagiano for a little extra bite. Fresh basil as well. He said he is not using yeast, but rather some of the previous days dough as a starter and he expects that in a couple weeks as it "matures" it will result in an even better texture and flavor. He also seems reluctant to offer toppings as he feels it will make the pizza too soggy. As it was the pizza was superb. Perhaps not quite as good as Lucali. It will likely improve as they get a better handle of the dough and the oven temperature. But unlike Lucali there is (for the moment) no wait. I like a nice char on the pizza, which this has. But I suppose you could ask for a bit less char if that is your preference. One of the pizzas at our table had less char on the edges but was well cooked and crispy on the bottom. It is definitely a nice addition to the neighborhood.

            1. I was there on sunday, still no toppings. $12 is a bit outrageous in my opinion, especially when my pizza was burnt not charred!!!!! Although was was edible was good, so I'll give them a few months to get their act together and then try again.

              1. Went here tonight because Lucali's is closed for Memorial Day weekend. The room is nicely decorated, with exposed brick, candles and an old-fashioned small wooden bar. We sat at a rustic wooden bench near the entrance. Sadly, the music was awful -- mostly 90s techno and what seemed like an endless remix of Disco Inferno (really!). Service was pleasant and prompt. They also offer a full bar with brooklyn lager, peroni and one other beer on tap.

                The only current food offering is a plain personal pizza. It's a thin crust, with an irregular oval shape, somewhere around 12 x 6 inches, cut into about 8 squarish pieces and served on a wooden cutting board. The crust was good: thin, chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside. Ours were a bit charred along one edge, but not burnt. It also had a nice drizzle of olive oil.

                The cheese, however, was pretty boring and bland, without much flavor, and the sauce was under-seasoned and blah. Fresh basil sprinkled on top helps a bit, but not enough to make this a really interesting pie.

                Although this place is called South Brooklyn pizza, I don't think it's really "Brooklyn" pizza, the way Lucali's or Totonno's is -- it's got more in common with Franny's style, but without the high quality ingredients.

                Overall it was a pretty decent pizza -- better than your average corner slice, but nowhere near as good as Lucali's -- and a little overpriced. At $12/pizza, it was a little steep for the quality of ingredients they were using. I might go back, but probably not on a night when Lucali's is open.

                1. Well I have anxiously been awaiting the opening of this pizza place for months now, ever since I first got a peek in the room last December, while having some drinks at PJ Hanley's. The room is adorable - I love the exposed brick - and it has a very cozy atmosphere due to the dim lighting. The brick oven adds extra charm. I finally got in there to actually taste the pizza over the weekend.

                  It was worth the wait. The service was good, the dough was nice & crisp (just slightly charred on the edges) and the blend of cheeses was very flavorful. All in all, it hit the spot. In my opinion, pizza is best when its kept simple, I was not at all bothered by the lack of toppings.

                  The best part about South Brooklyn Pizza is, of course, its proximity to PJ Hanleys...right next door. This will be a spot I'll be frequenting regularly this summer, and I believe it is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jmac9000

                    word of advice: check your bill. the new owners at handleys have developed a bad habit of raising the prices when charging you, but have negelcted to change the menu prices. the waitress was apologetic, the owner could care less. i for one, will never go back, nor the pizza joint nxt door. will walk futher down court street to that other coal oven joint.

                    1. re: jmac9000

                      Went here last night and I thought it was great. Our pizza was nicely charred (as it should be from a coal oven) and stayed crisp on the wood boards from start to finish. We loved the pizza and the chocolate chip cookies. The service was great and it had a nice neighborhood feel. While I love Lucali and will still go, this adds some variety to the pizza places in the neighborhood and I'm glad to see them doing well. I'll be back soon!

                      A couple of cons is that its really dark and music is slightly techno which seems funny -- not that distracting, but just not my style.

                    2. I went to So. Bklyn pizza on Sunday night and loved it! I guess it's true that the sauce could be a bit more dynamic, but really this is a well balanced pizza - ingredients taste very fresh. Margharita pizza is my favorite and I love well-charred crust so I thought it was perfect. I think it gets in line just after DiFara and Franny's. I also kind of love that they only do one kind of pizza, plus cookies. And Bklyn Summer Ale on tap - they'll definitely see me over there again.

                      1. I thought it was fine, but had a lot of wrinkles to work out. Sorry, but no toppings is not "cool", it's lame and lazy. Our group had 4 pizzas and all of the crusts were pretty different. The space could use some work too. I wish you could order pizza from the patio next door.

                        All in all, if I still lived near there I'd go once in a while, but not worth a trek.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: MRich

                          Lame in what way? Because that's what every other pizza place does? They're trying to do something different. Or they're just focusing on what they want to do and trying to perfect it. Short sighted of you to write that off as "lazy" in my opinion. Whatever's motivating them to do it this way, "lazy" I'm sure has nothing to do with it.

                          1. re: angelalala

                            "Toppings" is what every other pizza place does? So "no toppings" is somehow original? That to me is lame. The whole thing has the feel of a place that's trying to make the lack of choice their "thing". Something to get notice from media, blogs, etc.

                            As far as trying to perfect what they do, they have a long way to go on that front. They might aim somewhere close to consistent before going for perfect. And they might have considered working a little more on their product before bringing it to market and opening their restaurant. That to me seems lazy.

                            Look, they seem to have spent a lot of time and energy preserving that oven and I appreciate and admire that. They seem to have been looking for a way to utilize it for a long time (back to when Hanley's used to serve pizzas that were quite good). I really love the effort. But don't open a restaurant when you're halfway to making a great product. Pay some attention to the dining room, the atmosphere, the music, the menu. To ignore all of that and still open when your pizzas aren't really there yet to me is lame and lazy.

                            I don't want to rant against the place. I enjoyed it, I'm rooting for them, and I'll be back. But I wish they hadn't opened with a work in progress.

                            And angelalala I certainly don't mean to discount your opinion or positive experience. I just have a different take.

                            1. re: MRich

                              No worries... different opinion is all you're right. I'm definitely still excited about what they're doing, but I know pizza is a very personal taste kind of thing. Reading CH has taught me to never recommend something unconditionally. :)

                        2. they need some new music, asap. every time i walk by it sounds like they're bumping a cheesy dance mixtape made by some lip pouting, gang sign throwin, full bottle of hair gel rocking, tanning bed frequenting guido from staten island.

                          1. Does this place do takeaway? Would like to try this but don't think I can handle the guido pump music?

                            1. I've decided I don't like this place.

                              Hope I haven't offended anyone.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MRich

                                Wow, I went there a few weeks ago, and while I remember the music as being pretty bad, I don't remember it as being too loud. The ambiance at South Brooklyn Pizza isn't great anyway; I found the the place is way too dark and gloomy. But I did really like the pizza on the night that I went. It's too bad if they have gone overboard with the music volume.


                              2. You all have to be kidding. South Brooklyn Pizza is the *worst* pizza going. It's the exact same pie they've been serving at the bar at PJ Hanley's for years, except now that they're using the coal oven they burn it to cinders. Lucali's is so much better, in the Grimaldi's/DiFaro's NYC tradition. That said, my money for best pizza in South Brooklyn is Luna Rossa down on Court just south of ninth. The atmosphere is awful, the appetizers not worth the time, but the pizza is almost exactly what you would get in Naples, which makes sense, since the guys who own it are from Fuori Grotta, a suburb of Naples. Don't waste your money on eating in--get it to go (and maybe bring it into Bar Vendetta next door and eat out in the garden--excellent cheap beer...).

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: johnnym

                                  Walked in the other night for the first time and turned around on my heels. Why?
                                  1) the lack of take-away service
                                  2) my inability to face sitting thru "Fame" by David Bowie and similar top-volume hits
                                  while awaiting pizza of indeterminate quality

                                  In my experience of living on the same block for the last 7 years, the PJ Hanleys people have steadfastly maintained the following credo:
                                  1) rudeness/arrogance
                                  2) stupidity
                                  3) sloppiness
                                  5) possible criminality
                                  4) a restless, almost desperate striving to cash in somehow by reinventing themselves, always doomed to failure because of the preceding attributes.

                                  1. re: johnnym

                                    Agree with you on Luna Rossa's pizza; it's pretty damn good, and it reminds me of pies I had while in Italy. The guys who run it are really nice to boot.

                                    I'll pass on South Brooklyn Pizza until they do take out.

                                    1. re: missmodular

                                      Tried Luna Rossa's Margherita pie over the weekend. Fresh ingredients, decent quality. Not spectacular by any means, but I'll go again. I think it's a wood-fired brick oven. My pie could have used another minute or so in there, and the sauce was a little limp, but I ate the whole 12" pie. They ARE nice in there, maybe Italian (from Italy)? This place is way down on Court St. a block or 2 before the BQE.

                                  2. I was a bit disappointed as well. Not terrible, but not worth $12. A bit to charred for my taste. The crust was more than 80% black. maybe they just need to fix the oven. Not sure if I will try it again.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: brooklyn76

                                      Mr. Particular - I disagree. We went over the weekend and had a very nice time. The antipasto we had was great, not overly saturated in dressing and very refreshing. Bruschetta was nice and fresh, though it’s pretty difficult to screw this up. Our pizza had anchovies, was very flavorful and made very well. Crust was nice and firm with just hits of char and not burnt at all. My only complaints were that the pizza was rather gooey, which I assume was from the olive oil or cheese. Their pies were smaller then we thought. We split one but either of us could have easily finished a whole pie off, so the next time we go we'll order our own and they could’ve been a little more generous with the anchovies. Service was very respectable as well. We thought that if they were a little further up Court that their business would increase markedly, nonetheless we will definitely make the trip again.

                                      1. re: MShapiro

                                        At the risk of sounding like a shill (I've trumpeted them before), if you like Luna Rossa, you should try the pizza at Marco Polo to Go up court street next to Marco Polo Restaurant. Wood-fired oven and decent pizza for decent prices. similar to luna rossa (I think the luna rossa guys are related to the MP people, as I see one of the LR guys in MP a lot) but less of a dining experience, so better for takeout, kids, etc. also, more convenient location if you don't live in sofo ; )
                                        The service at MP to Go has always been very friendly, and as a bonus they give you a free liter bottle of soda with a large pie (the large pie is a better bargain than the small pie). Sitting in the back garden with a nice pie and a bottle of seltzer is a great way to spend the evening and, in fact, i think i will be doing it tonight.
                                        one caveat is that sometimes the pie is only decent, instead of very good. I think it has to do with how long the oven has been fired up--ie. if the oven isn't hot enough.
                                        But really, especially if you're looking for takeout or easy eat-in, it's a good choice, pizza-wise. The other stuff ain't so great, tho.

                                        1. re: missmasala

                                          Have wanted to try Marco Polo, but have been going consistently to Lucali or Sam's, when we can't deal with the wait at Lucali. How does Marco Polo stack up to those places?

                                          1. re: jdf

                                            can't really compare it to sam's, as i tried sam's once years ago and didn't like it (crust too thick and chewy, canned mushrooms) and never went back.

                                            would never say marco polo is as good as lucali's (though lucali's can be inconsistent, like MP and i don't like the way lucali's does their veg toppings) but it is v. good most of the time and quite cheap and the toppings are very good.

                                            just ate there tonight, 3 adults and 4 kids. we had one large soppresata and olive--the sop is thinly sliced and crisps up nicely and the olives are real ones, not the canned sliced ones, and one large mushroom and sausage--the sausage is good tho there could be more of it and the mushrooms are fresh and not too thinly sliced so there is some meat to them. with that we got a house salad, which was big enough for 3 adults to share, and then 2 free liters of soda (you can opt for seltzer) and free small cups of ice cream for each of the 4 kids. total bill before tip: $46
                                            plus, the waitress is very very nice and you can sit outside in the back (or in the front if there are only four of you)
                                            honestly, it's worth trying.

                                            1. re: missmasala

                                              I agree that Marco Polo is worth a try. I've had a few really good pies there and a couple that were so-so. They use a wood fired oven and have some good toppings. I particularly like the broccoli rabe and sausage, which is a white pie. Their red pies are not saucy enough for my liking, but are tasty. Does anyone remember The House of Pizza and Calzone before it was renovated and eventually sold? Now that was pizza from heaven. I look forward to trying S. Bklyn Pizza.

                                            2. re: jdf

                                              Pizzas at both are good.
                                              At Sam's, crust is a lot thicker and chewier; toppings more generous; cost of the pie a bit higher; the restaurant's decor a little darker and older (I hesitate to say rather more run down). But the cheese at Marco Polo's seems to be of a higher quality.
                                              Staff at both are very friendly.
                                              I've only been to Sam's once - most of the tables were full, but even so I was seated right away and there wasn't too much wait for the pie to come out.
                                              The times I have gone by Marco Polo's, it's been much less busy, so your wait there will probably be even shorter.

                                              missmasala, do the put fresh basil on the pies at Marco Polo's? - I don't remember. (I know they don't at Sam's.)

                                              1. re: racer x

                                                they put a leaf or two on the pies, but not the tumble of chiffonade that, say, difara's does.

                                          2. re: MShapiro

                                            You disagree... with what? I said I liked Luna Rossa, and would go again.

                                            1. re: Mr. Particular

                                              Our pie was made differently then yours, so maybe not a disagreement but just two different experiences...

                                        2. I can't really speak for the pizza, but I did enjoy the hot and fresh chocolate chip cookies I got on a whim (pretty much the only other thing on the menu). Must agree on being turned off by the loud techno music. Maybe they're going for a bar/night club vibe (dark and loud) but especially when there aren't too many people in the restaurant it is kind of off-putting. Anyway - good cookies!

                                          1. does anyone know if they are now doing take out or delivery? thanks.