Basil Pizzeria in Crown Heights - Review
Last night my fiance took me to Basil. Full disclosure: as a Baal Teshuva, I have some pretty high standards for restaurants. The ambiance was good, but a bit too crowded. However, the nice hostess put us at the most secluded table in the place - amazing! The only complaint was that it is very cold in the resto. The decor is excellent and the place is very clean.
The food was fantastic. The waitress was honest and asked if we wanted to have our pizza delivered first since it would be done way before the pasta (we said yes). We had the "margarita", which had pesto on it. It was fabulous except for the parmesan cheese (granted I'm holding the cheese to non-kosher standards).
We had the seashells pasta (peas, mushrooms, tomatoes). They make all of their own pasta. It was remarkably well balanced, and the peas were the freshest I've had in years. The only problem was that it was served lukewarm.
For dessert we had the lavender dusted funnel cake with basil ice cream. The funnel cake was amazing, but could have used more lavandar. The basil ice cream was clearly high quality, very creamy without having an overpowering flavor. They give you a very small portion of the ice cream, but it was very satiating.
The major drawback of the meal was not getting bread. It seemed like it would have rounded out the experience alot.
Overall, I give them major credit for creativity and pushing the limits of the relatively homogenous kosher dining scene. The food was fantastic, and I think with time they will round out the minor flaws. I will definitly be going back, even though it is an hour away!
Have I mentioned lately how much I like this place? It has for a while now been on my list of places to eat if I have some reason to be in that part of Brooklyn. But after a recent lunch of a superb kabocha squash soup with wonderful bread, I think that I really do have to notch it up into the destination restaurant category.
I had the opportunity to eat there last night, and felt compelled to weigh in. I had read the article in the NY Times but was anxious to try the food rather than address its relevance as sociological experiment. On walking in, saw a packed Thurs night house, and thought- oh joy, where else can I eat in this neighborhood? I may have mumbled this aloud, as a well-dressed gentleman by the bar (who I realized later was the owner) assured us we'd get seated soon and its worth the wait. Not 5 minutes later, we were ushered to a table in what seemed to be their annex, a second quieter dining area. Lost some of the rush of being in the main room and watching the wood-burning pizza oven at work, but a bit more refined and relaxed dining experience. Again, less than 5 minutes to be seated, attentive, helpful wait staff, affordable and decent wine menu, and on to the food. Salmon carpaccio was fantastic- clean, fresh, unexpected flavor combos. Then came pizza from that wood-burning oven- asparagus, ricotta, golden beets and jalapeno on a thin, crackling, flavorful crust. Was perhaps not as hot as it could've been, perhaps due to transit from the other room, but still fantastic. And finally, saffron risotto with parmesan, wild mushrooms, peas and white asparagus. Wow. Creamy, smoky, earthy fabulousness. Things went so well that had to try their desert, particularly due to the fact that they're made in-house by their pastry chef. Yes- a kosher restaurant with a pastry chef. Pumpkin panna cotta and a creme brulee trio followed soon after to close things out. Overall, aside from being totally worth the hike to Crown Hts, one of the best kosher restaurant experiences in awhile and look forward to exploring the rest of the innovative menu.
I finally got out of NJ, and headed to Basil last night arriving around 6.20pm. We were a party of 7 and did not have to wait at all, and it looked about half full. I am not a dairy person, and the only cheese I eat has to be melted and Mozzarella, although truth be told if it's good pizza and they have mixed other stuff in and I can accommodate it.
Wait staff was attentive, and brought out two bowls of fresh crispy bread with a little container of olive oil. Was recommended the Basil fries as an appetizer, which had I noticed the comment about Parmesan, would have skipped, but it was delicious. Fries were crispy, and the Parmesan was flavorful and not overpowering, and the garlic truffle mayo was prefect for dipping. My wife had the caesar salad, and you could definitely taste the anchovies in the dressing. Most places seem to dismiss that aspect of the dressing. The tuna tartare looked very good as did the eggplant parmesan salad.
Now to the pizza - I had the peper and red onion with anchovies. Nice big pieces of anchovy, real salty, thin crust, outstanding. Wife had the parmesan & white asparagus and the smoked paprika gave the whole pizza a smokiness that that I have never had on a pizza, and it was great. The other pizzas looked really good.
I was toying with having a second pizza, but decided to go for the funnel cake with the basil ice cream. I was apprehensive about the ice cream, but it really works. The funnel cake is really a glorified donut, but having seen them done at fairs, I figured I have to try it. Was a good end to the meal. Wife had the sorbet.
Wait staff was great, helpful and attentive.
I also bought two croissants, plain and chocolate, which I have just finished for breakfast with a cup of coffee. Was advised to warm up in microwave for a few seconds, both delicious, and I think I am good until Shabbat dinner tonight.
I'm glad I dont live nearby, otherwise I would scrap making my own pizza, and would be there often.
I've been there twice - once for lunch and once for dinner. They had the same menu. Both the risotto and gnocchi were fabulous. I can't say enough about the delicious salmon carpaccio - it was perfectly prepared with the nuts, beets, and sea salt providing the perfect counterbalance of flavors. Over all highly highly recommended. Delicious. I wish my local dairy restaurants were half as good.