Wife & I gave new spot Krescendo on Atlantic Ave a chance last night after being open for about a month now. We weren't incredibly hungry so we just ordered 2 pies. The pizza menu was pretty reasonable and in-line with places like Sottocasa and Enoteca on Court, $13-18 or so for a personal 6-slicer. The waiters bring out a little cup of 4 olives to each table, which is nice, but it seemed a little strange to only bring 4 olives, and, for a chef who seems to be so well known for her baking abilities, no bread.
We ordered the margherita which I always like to try as a barometer, as well as the clam pie. We both agreed that the crust was all around very good. The sauce on the margherita sauce was sweeter beyond any I've ever had before, and the mozzarella, while tasty and high quality, was so sparse that some slices only had one or two quarter-sized pieces. Regarding the clam pie, perhaps it was unfair that my expectations coming in were in comparison to Frannys and Motoriono. In general it had most of the flavor I'm looking for, but was disappointed that there were small pieces of chopped clams as opposed to the previously mentioned places use of whole littlenecks. It was also covered in parsley, something easily remedied by picking it off.
The atmosphere was nice, I liked the classic rock playing at an appropriate volume, and the prices seemed reasonable on most of the menu. What we were both very disappointed with was the service. I was brought the wrong pie once, and my wife the wrong pie twice. It's not a major deal, except that there was a solid 5-6 minutes between when I got my correct pie, and when she got hers. The other pet peeve of mine was that they give you very small water cups, which seems to be a trend recently. There were 2 or 3 different times when we went at least 10 minutes with 2 empty cups, which just seemed a bit much considering it's not a very big restaurant. I'm not sure if/when I'll go back, especially since there's just so many great pizza options in the vicinity, but just wanted to report on the experience.
I thought I had posted reviews of our 2 visits there but it turns out I posted them elsewhere. Here they are:
Dec 12: "We've been there once and I was waiting until we returned before saying anything since we didnt wind up having the pizza. At any rate, we went without knowing about Faulkner's history (a top dessert chef turned pizza maven) and also thought she looked familiar, churning out pizzas from her new oven. We sat at the bar, had a very fresh, interesting salad based on carrots (from their website: "A combination of roasted and raw baby carrots, radishes, avocado-lime vinaigrette, ricotta fresca and sunflower seeds") and then we each had a pasta. Ginny's was a solid pappardelle w/beef & veal red sauce, while mine was a more non-traditional (at least as far as I know) pasta con sarde using fregola. Both were very good. The wine was okay and at a decent price point, the service at the bar was friendly and efficient (the main bartender/mixologist came from SF with her but was overseeing 2 others who were learning how he wants it done). We then had a cassata for dessert that Ginny pronounced one of the best she's ever had & wondered who was doing the desserts at this level in an upscale pizza place. Well, when we got home I googled Faulkner, found out about her creds with desserts & was no longer surprised. They dont take reservations and we just havent gotten back yet to try the pizzas. Unfortunately, the buzz in the neighborhood seems to be that Table 87 (the place you liked on Atlantic) and another place nearby (Sottocasa) are way better, although less trendy (Faulkner's Naples award winning pizza was based on fennel toppings and seems worth a try)".
Jan 5: "Four of us went last night and were impressed. I think that the prices have been one reason that it hasn't gotten the buzz it should get (virtually nothing written on CH and mixed reviews on Yelp), but they're fair enough considering the ingredients are high end and taste it. We managed 3 apps., 3 pizzas, 1 pasta and 1 dessert. The fritto misto ($10) were cleanly fried, salted and contained veggies that tasted like veggies. It was nothing spectacular in its array, but nice with drinks. The Cavolo Nero salad ($12) was a bowl of fried kale w/pancetta pieces (candied), some ricotta, crumbled egg, a couple of croutons & a lemony vinaigrette dressing (sharp lemon) that worked. The Caponata Burrata ($15) was hardly about the caponata (ehh) but the burrata was really, really good (& a large serving size ball -- which it should be for this price). Some good toasty bread with the burrata made this dish a winner.
The pizzas are each sliced into 6 pieces and are medium sized -- halfway between the "individual" pizzas at a # of places & the full pies at the old line places. We had her signature Finnochio Pizza ($16) and it was great. It's a "white" pizza & comes together very nicely -- a favorite all around. The night's Special Pizza ($15) had mortadella and was also excellent. And the Meatball Pizza ($16, but comped on our check "by the Manager"... I think our waiter said something about us having to wait for it but I have to admit I dont think it took that long) was just about perfect with very well made mozzarella and ricotta along with some tomato, oregano and tasty sections of meatball. I'd get this one again in a minute. The crusts on all these pizzas were not thin and had a chew, but in tasty, good way... and held the toppings nicely. All in all, they make a very solid pizza. We also split one order of the pasta con le sarde ($18), made w/fregola as the pasta. As with my 1st visit, I really like this version. We had the cassata for dessert (one order, 4 spoons) and again it was excellent ($9).
The wine list was ok and the 3 bottles of Aglianico we drank (@$52) moved the bill upwards a bit, but all in all it was well worth going and we'll put it on the rotation. No reservations but, even on a Friday, it was only packed between 7-9pm. We (Ginny & I) got there and sat at the bar for drinks at 6:15 when only one table was full & left at 9:45pm when half the place was full. In between there was a very large flurry of customers and every table and bar seat was full for at least 1.5 hours. And did I mention that they were friendly and efficient? Didnt get to meet Chef Faulkner, as she spent the entire time at the open to the room pizza oven, churning them out and smiling".
Three wishes for Krescendo:
1. Lower those beer prices, especially 12-ounce bottles and $7 common crafts.
2. Increase the portions - a beet salad with a single chopped up specimen and a pasta-ragout main dish that may have been all of six ounces.
3. That Ms. Falkner is present on my next visit "churning and smiling". Pies were flavorful yet unexpected crust calibre, likely the oven temp was too low.
re: squid kun
Now maybe my first two wishes will come true. #3 is impossible.
This is the second Neapolitan oven losing its founding pizzaiolo/ola shortly after opening. Same happened at Brooklyn Central, but in that case, remaining partner is totally skilled. Funny when the names of certain pies were changed overnight.
I don't get the 4 olives thing. If they feel it's an expensive handout, there are any number of inexpensive complimentary alternatives, such as chickpea salad, white bean salad, etc. As for the bread, they probably don't serve it until they see what you order. Why would you want bread before pizza anyway? Regarding the tiny water cups, it's probably to get you to buy beer and wine. It's too bad about the clam pizza. Having grown up with it in New Haven at Pepe's, I would think NYC would have mastered it by now. Oh well, thanks for the heads up.