I'd heard scuttlebutt and seen Internet reports that the famous prosciutto balls of the shuttered Joe's Superette were being made at a Soho pizzeria called Prince Street Pizza. I've been in deep mourning ever since that low profile Carroll Gardens institution closed last year. So I was curious.
I didn't manage to get to the pizzeria until a few weeks ago. I saw prosciutto balls on the menu on the wall. And when I saw a laminated New York Times article about Joe's (below) on the counter, I was hopeful. But it wasn't until I saw Louie—looking straight-jacketed in an official Prince Street Pizza polo and baseball cap—that I knew it was all true. Louie was the guy who made the balls at Joe's, taking over the duties after his boss Leo Coldonato—the inventor of the delectable treats—got sick.
I had a true Brooklyn encounter with Louie. I greeted him, told him I used to go to Joe's a lot, and had heard the balls had migrated there. He didn't betray a glimmer of recognition or gratitude; just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't remember you," and walked away.
I ordered a batch of prosciutto balls. They were as I remember. Yet, somehow different. Bigger, and richer with ricotta. I recall eating six very easily at Joe's. Here, four of the balls nearly overwhelmed my senses. Still, very good. Though not exactly the same.
I also learned a bit of Joe's history from Louis. I always assumed that Joe's closed because Leo died. That's not exactly true. Louie said he closed because the landlord hiked the rent, indicating he would have continued on if the rent had stayed the same. He also said a Greek restaurant was going into the space.