Anselmo's, the new brick-oven pizza joint on Van Brunt in Red Hook, is up and running and already attracted a big lunch crowd. A couple dozen of the nabe's hard-working laborers were already feasting on a bevy of 10" pizzas by noon today.
The place is nicely unassuming, decor-wise. Brick walls, some pressed tin backsplashes on the bar, simple tables and the brick oven tucked back in the right hand corner as you walk in. In a sunken back room, visible through a window, pizza dough is constantly being prepared. Anselmo himself was doing some homemade p.r., greeting every customer personally.
I had the special: goat cheese, red peppers and fresh basil. The 10" is a true individual-sized pie; four filling slices. Very fresh tasting, with the pepper taste dominating, though the goat cheese was possibly a tad too gooey. But it's hard to complain. The 10" pizzas are a mere $6! If you move up to 14", you pay $14. It's these prices—and its location in the heart of decent-pizza-bereft Red Hook—that will likely give Anselmo's an edge in a world where nearby Lucali's pizza is probably better, but goes for $24 a pie. (Makes you wonder: how does Anselmo's manage to get around the supposedly exorbitant prices of flour and cheese, when other pizzerias continue to charge the higher prices they installed last year?)
With Anselmo's, Lucali's, South Brooklyn Pizza, and such standbys at the House of Pizza and Calzone and Sam's, I wonder—could South Brooklyn actually be a better place for pizza that it was even back in the old days, when Italian-Americans were more thick upon the ground?