F & F Pizzeria Opens, Immediately Becomes a Top-10 Brooklyn Slice
F & F Pizzeria may be NYC’s most anticipated slice since Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop (2018). Its rep (buds Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli co-own Frankies Spuntino and Franks Wine Bar) and that of luminaries who helped them, Chris Bianco and Chad Robertson, lend the pedigree of dreams. Pizzeria Bianco is the O.G. list-topper—in ‘05 Serious Eats’ Ed Levine named it America’s best—and Robertson (of the Caliifornia-based Tartine) is one of the country’s bread gurus.
Other pizzerias are collectively self-flagellating, “Why didn’t we thinka that?”
You may be unaware of a controversy below the surface of an opening like this. Some pizza chefs believe pizza’s NOT bread. That argument calcifies against natural leavening. “Sourdough,” some argue, “should have nothing to do with pizza.” What’s that mean here? F & F uses sourdough starter.
Outside, the open, high-ceiling joint echoes Bianco. Inside, it’s a calming yellow. A backyard patio has tables and chairs, but folks makeshift seats out front. There are four slices: regular, tomato, Sicilian, Sicilian with pepperoni.
The plain is light and THIN—a three-stacked-crêpe crust—crisp but with a bendy fold (no crack), a dying art. There’s rise to the cornicione and a narrow lip, but dedicated crumb with AIR inside. It tastes like good bread.
Some newish pies (L’Industrie Pizzeria, Stilettos, and Manero’s) seem to bridge New York City and Neapolitan pies, but this perhaps most faithfully achieves a hybrid. Leopard-spotting underneath recalls Neapolitan flavor but within New York City sonnet structure. That is, till the crust, which is TANGY. I dig.
Rest of the slice? Flavors are great. The sauce is a little tart, about as sweet, and slightly chunky—well-seasoned—but sparse. Cheesing is thorough, but light. The sauce-cheese meld the best classic slices have doesn’t happen—they’re separate. And the cheese chews. But I’m nitpicking. I prefer wet slices.
It’s already a top-10 Brooklyn slice. I’ll order a fresh pie for peak flavor/structure with extra cheese (if that’s allowed) to see if that hits my sweet spot.
The tomato slice, a shout-out to a traditional Neapolitan pie stalwart, is the second such slice of note recently (the other being at Manero’s). It’s even lighter than the plain cheese with a drizzle of olive oil—refreshing, with a light herb accent.
You walk away having eaten a plain cheese and a tomato slice and feel like you just ate the equivalent of one typical New York City slice.
You really have to admire the structure, bend, flavor, and crispness. On my first of two trips, the tomato slice may actually have been my favorite. It was just so light, fragrant and satisfying. I could see ordering a plain cheese and a tomato and that being the move. But it’s a good thing F & F's round slices are light because the squares are not.
As it's been noted, you need to bring it with a good square these days if you're opening a spot.
F & F's squares are called "Sicilians" but they're more like focaccia—soft and bendy without crunch. It’s not dense at ALL, but bready in that moist squishy-bread way—and tangy. The pepperoni features a hearty, crisp cup-and-char that develops crunchy edges.
But where the rounds eat like a half-slice each, the square feels like 1.5. Don’t get misunderstand, it's good, and you can finish another plain after for good measure (I did in the hope that I'd get a fresh one out of the oven). It just doesn't really feel like a -Sicilian-.
If Mama's Too!'s square feels like a hybrid of a New York Sicilian and a Detroit square that's gone through Al Santillo's penchant for a darker bake, F & F feels like a Sicilian by way of focaccia with a light Prince Street Pizza pepperoni-ing.
If that's not a meta, what is? "Ya lost ya mind, Pizza Cowboy!”
Does it HAVE to have a crunchy crust to BE e a Sicilian? Eh. My knee-jerk is yes. But hey, call the Pizza Po-Po. Wee-aw, wee-aw.
Interestingly, on the other end of the block is the now vacant storefront that was once home to what was widely considered to be Brooklyn’s oldest bar, P.J. Hanley's.
Its former owner, Jim McGowan, you'll remember, also owned the adjacent, and similarly shuttered South Brooklyn Pizza. South Brooklyn Pizza's Manhattan shop was once considered by some to be heir apparent to Di Fara.
Looks like the force is strong with this stretch of Court Street. — #pizzacowboy🍕🤠
F & F PIZZERIA: 459 Court St, Brooklyn (SUBWAY: F, G)