After several nights of witnessing a seemingly never-ending line outside, I finally managed to sit down for a pizza at famous Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge.
I really didn't know what to expect of this place; I've heard everything from rave reviews, tourist accolades dismissed by locals, and territorial jeers from competitive Brooklynites. Controversy aside, the pizzeria deserves the mile-long weekend lines because the pizza is great.
This is a small (16") plain pie, and I think it looks beautiful. The cheese is definitely applied first, followed by the fresh tomato sauce.
Damn. Look at that mozz. It was so tasty and stretchy, but not to an absurd, comical degree. Each pie takes about two minutes to bake in the coal-fed oven. The undercrust has a killer char to it-
There was a little inconsistency going on, as half of the pie had blackened edges while the other didn't. Grimaldi's reminded me a lot of Angelo's, one of my favorite by-the-pie spots in the city, only Grimaldi's cornicione had more of a crunch while still being relatively chewy.
After biting into that endcrust I was in another world. That famous coal oven sure does the trick, leaving a delicious charred flavor on the pizza. While Grimaldi's- much like Angelo's, puts a noticeable amount of oregano in their sauce, it's definitely sweeter than their midtown competitors.
Not having eaten breakfast that day, I scarfed all six slices in a fury (and was commended by the women sitting next to me). The only way to stop eating a slice this beautiful is to eat every piece in front you; just look at that mozzarella.
A brief history explaining Grimaldi's- Patsy Grimaldi is the nephew of Pasquali "Patsy" Lancieri, founder of the famous original Patsy's in E. Harlem. He grew up watching his uncle make pizza after pizza in his legendary coal-fired oven. Eventually (date?) Patsy Grimaldi opened up his own place also named Patsy's in it's current location under the Brooklyn Bridge, coal oven and all.
Here's where things start to heat up (see what I did there?): After Patsy Lancieri passed away in '74, his wife eventually sold the original Patsy's to two former employees, John Brecevich and Frank Brija. In 1991, John and Frank sold a licensing agreement to pizza entrepreneur Nick Tsoulos (cousin of Nick Angelis, owner of Nick's in Queens and Angelo's in Manhattan). This allowed Tsoulos to open six (sub-par) Patsy's all around Manhattan.
Needless to say, Patsy Grimaldi was pissed. Eventually he begrudgingly changed the name to Grimaldi's (he claims it was on his own volition and not out of legal obligation). He no longer presides over every pie like he used to, but according to current owners, "He may not be here, but he's here." Grimaldi's has since opened locations in Queens, Long Island, Hoboken, NJ, Nevada, Texas, and Arizona.
Dramatic? Yes, deliciously so.