Park Slope’s newest Neapolitan pizzeria, Brooklyn Central, is currently riding the crest of a full blown, wood-fired frenzy — a slow-burning trend first lit in 2004 with Franny’s in Prospect Heights, gathering steam with the opening of Roberta’s in Bushwick in 2008, and finally bursting into flames with a steady, borough-wide slew of openings ever-after, with places like Paulie Gee’s, Fornino, Forcella, Saraghina, Giuseppina’s, Sottocasa, Speedy Romeo, Dellarocca’s, the upcoming Krescendo and more all singing the praises of their fat bellied, Italian made, wood stoked stoves.
Brooklyn Central is, nevertheless, the perfect fit for Park Slope — a refined and elegant antidote for toddler-in-tow parents wishing to escape from Two Boots hell, with just enough easily identifiable foodstuffs (a bubbling crock of meatballs, an unadorned tomato sauce and cheese-topped pie, a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich or dippable sticks of cinnamon/sugar dusted dough, served with a gooey cup of melting nutella) to keep the little rugrats satisfied.
It’s also a highly pleasurable dining option for unencumbered adults (if seated well enough away from the kiddie clatter) to gaze into each others eyes over flickering candlelight and the blistered, puffy crusts of perfect-for-sharing pizzas, or get lost in a wave of scarlet-flame and residual warmth emanating from the recesses of a custom built, Stefano Ferrara stove. Considering it probably accounted for the lions share of their initial build out budget, chef/owners Matthew Hyland and Roberto Patriarca seem determined to make as much use of their incendiary centerpiece as possible — using it as a vessel for roasting the perfectly smoky and tender tendrils of octopus crowning a fennel and citrus salad, crisping croutons for a zesty, cheesy Caesar, or relying on the 900 degree heat to turn out a 20-strong list of pies — both traditional and decidedly non — in seconds.
So is Brooklyn Central breaking new ground? Not exactly. But when it comes to the borough’s best beloved, most signature dish we’re not looking for whimsy — just great ingredients, accomplished pizzaiolo’s, and a state-of-the-art, preposterously hot wood-burning oven.
289 5th Ave, (347) 725-4891