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Entries in Scoops (310)

Tuesday
Oct092012

What to Expect: Brooklyn Central Pizza, Opening Tomorrow

Brooklyn Central, the new pizzeria from Sottocasa pizzaioli Matt Hyland and Roberto Patriarca, will be opening tomorrow in the space last occupied by Pete's Pizzeria, on Fifth Avenue between First and Second Streets.

The space has been completely transformed, and is comfortable and casual. There's a seating area up front with a full bar behind that, and a hand-built wood-burning oven from Naples' Stefano Ferrara dominates the back room. There's a counter surrounding it so you can watch the magic happen, and behind that is an outdoor seating area, which should seat about 35. There's plenty of exposed brick and reclaimed wood; the counter is actually made from an old bowling alley.

But on to the pizza. "Flour, water, yeast, and salt are the only ingredients," said Patriarca, who hails from just outside Naples and whose father ran several pizzerias in New York. "The pizzas are made in strict Neapolitan style, using primarily fresh, local ingredients." The crust is chewy and springy, with just the right amount of char from the blazing oven.

The pizza menu is separated into two sections: "New World" and "Old World." Pizzas in the Old World section are made with imported fresh buffalo mozzarella and fresh tomato sauce, and come topped with prosciutto, sausage, ham, pepperoni from M&S, anchovies, mushrooms, olives, and other traditional toppings. There's also a classic calzone, filled with mozzarella, ricotta, ham, tomato, and basil. "Very traditional," added Hyland. "We're going back to basics with the Old World menu."

Where the Old World menu is classic and traditional, the New World offerings are anything but. There's the North Maple (above), topped with smoked mozzarella, bacon, maple syrup, and pecans. The Canard comes with duck, smoked mozzarella, and a seasonal compote. The Ivette (named after Roberto's wife) has ricotta, onions, bacon, and potato. The Emily (named for Matt's wife, who also manages), has mozzarella, tallegio, truffle spread, pistachios, and honey. There's also a vegan pie, topped with sauce, artichokes, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and scallions. Fresh mozzarella on the "New World" pies is from Brooklyn as opposed to the "Old World"'s Italy, which makes for an interesting comparison when eaten side by side.

There's a solid assortment of appetizers, including a few salads, charcuterie from La Quercia, meatballs, oven-roasted octopus with fennel salad, and "stix," foccaccia rolled in pizza spices and served with tomato sauce (I have a feeling the kids will love that one). For dessert, there's a s'mores calzone (filled with marshmallow, chocolate, and graham crackers), "pizza churros" rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with Nutella, Steve's key lime pies, and Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches. Coffee is from Toby's Estate in Williamsburg.

There will be weekly pizza specials according to what's fresh and in-season, and brunch will be rolled out within a month. A liquor license is also in the works. They'll do orders to go, but are still toying with the idea of delivery. Brooklyn Central will be open from 5- 10:30 during the week, and until midnight on the weekends.

Owners Matt Hyland (l.) and Roberto Patriarca

Friday
Oct052012

Hoi Polloi Vintage Curios to Close Next Week

Hoi Polloi, the "vintage curio" and knick-knack shop that opened last October on Sixth Street just east of Fifth Avenue, will be closing for good next week. There's currently a 50% off sale on.

The shop, which has merchandise very similar to that of the late, lamented Bob and Judi's and Under the Pig, is run by three siblings who grew up in the neighborhood and had assembled a very funky assortment of items over the years through curb rescue, donations, and clearing attics. The space looks a bit like your wild friend's cluttered apartment, stuffed with old furnishings, antiques, and some items that I'm sure haven't been up for sale since the 60s.

They've kept odd hours for the past few months, but should now be open every day until they close for good. If you have a chance I'd recommend dropping by before then, not only because you'll get a great deal, but because this place can truly also double as an Americana Museum.

Wednesday
Oct032012

What to Expect: Beygl, 291 Fifth Avenue

A new bagel place is in the works in the space last occupied by Peruvian restaurant El Pollo, on Fifth Avenue between First and Second Streets, and earlier this afternoon I had the chance to drop by and speak with owners Robert and Joey Massa, two Brooklyn-born brothers who are eager to start serving up some hot, fresh bagels.

"All our bagels will be baked on-premises, in the authentic, honest way of doing it," said Robert, who lives in Staten Island but grew up about 20 blocks away. "When I say that, I mean hand-rolled, kettle-boiled instead of steamed, and slow-baked in small batches. Most places churn them out by the hundreds; we'll be baking only 4-6 dozen at a time."

The commitment to the hand-crafted, artisan technique will also carry over to the other food offered. "All our meats will be roasted in-house, instead of just using Boar's Head," he added. "We'll be making fresh roast turkey, ham, and roast beef here every day, sliced fresh to order." All pastries and muffins will be made in-house as well, and all other bread will be from Baked in Brooklyn, located further down Fifth. Jams and jellies will come from Anarchy in a Jar, usually found only in specialty stores.

According to Steve, the jovial baker, fresh batches of bagels will be coming out of the oven every hour, so there'll always be something hot. "They'll be crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside," he said. "Just the way I like it. Not doughy, soft."

"It's more labor intensive to do it the old-style way, to take our time with it and do it right," said Robert. "But when you try it you'll be able to tell the difference, and to tell that we take pride in it."

If all goes to plan, Beygl will be open by the end of the month.

Owners Robert (l.) and Joey Massa

Tuesday
Oct022012

Alchemy Owners Planning New Restaurant

 

Five years after launching the successful restaurant/pub Alchemy on Fifth Avenue in the North Slope, owners Georgia and Kevin Read are opening up a second restaurant, further south.

Called Hamilton's, it'll be located at 2826 Fort Hamilton Parkway (on the corner of E4th Street), near the opposite end of Green-Wood Cemetery on the Windsor Terrace/Kensington border. It's the space last occupied by a cafe called The Oak & The Iris. Georgia told me that while the general setup and atmosphere will be very similar to that of Alchemy, the decor and menu will be entirely different. 18 beers as well as two wines will be on tap (tap wine seems to be the big trend this year), and chef Joseph Bayley, formerly of Littleneck and Boqueria, is creating "a small, approachable, internationally inspired American menu." There's also a spacious outdoor seating area out front.

If all goes to plan, they will be opening at some point next week.

Monday
Oct012012

Brooklyn Rock T-Shirts Coming to 454 Dean Street

Brooklyn Rock, the handmade t-shirt company that's been around since 2002 and best known for their pop-up shop in the De Kalb Market, will soon be opening up a brick-and-mortar storefront on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street, directly across from the Barclays Center and in the space last occupied by Little Vinnie's.

The shop, run by the husband-and-wife team of Chris Smith and Yukiko Wada, who make all the merchandise by hand, will specialize in "irreverant" Brooklyn-themed shirts, accessories, and other gear. Here's an article about the duo and their business from the Daily News. T-shirts sell for around $20, and range from a simple red hook to slogans like "Brooklyn: Entertaining Manhattan Since 1646." It'll be open from 11 AM- 11 PM.

With the recent nearby arrivals of Impeccable Attire and Hiho Batik, there's been a bit of a boon recently for high-quality handmade apparel.