Giardini's Square Slice
Don't you love it when your expectations are exceeded? On a blistering hot summer Sunday afternoon, when the air is so clear and bright and everyone is sheltered indoors, and Brooklyn's expanse appears like a dead Western town, I stumbled into Giardini's pizzeria on Smith Street. Looking like every other corner slice joint in the city, I had low-to-zero expectations. But their square Sicilian slice was great and in fact had me returning just the other day.
Their claim to gourmet pizza may be dubious and I have not tried their regular round pies or thier so-called Pizza D'Italia, which is nothing more than pizza with a thick layer of toppings. The spaghetti pizza, for which they are "internationally recognized," sounds borderline frightening. When navigating such unchartered territory, I try to keep it simple.
And that's what turned my attention to the simple square Sicilian slices. If I have the choice between a slice topped with bagged grated "cheese food" or fresh mozzarella, I always go for the fresh mozzarella slice, which is how the square slice was prepared. It was simple -- unadulterated tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella on a crisp dough. And I really dug it. The crust is thinner than most Sicilian pies giving it a nice crunch, not chew. The sauce is simple and smooth and layered not only on the base but on top of the fresh mozzarella too.
They also offer a cheeseless slice with big chunks of tomato, chopped fresh garlic, basil and olive oil, given a nice punch when reheated in the oven -- pizza simplicity in all its glory.
Giardini is located on 363 Smith St, 718-596-5320.