New York Openings: Vicolo, Williamsburg Pizza, Brooklyn Central

There may be nothing new under the wood-burning oven, but Brooklyn’s latest pizza arrivals are carving out some space of their own. Thursday night, Bay Ridge welcomed Vicolo, with the only individually-sized Neapolitan pies available in the whole neighborhood. The pizzaiolo is Luigi Olivella, who has something of a cult following thanks to his stints with L’Asso and OliO Pizza e Più. His wood-fired brick oven was specially made in Naples and it’s put to good use here, turning out a mix of rosse and bianche options. Pizza is only the beginning, as a chef from Puglia oversees a full array of antipasti, primi, and secondi possibilities. The focus is Southern Italian classics, with tomatoes, salumi, and cheeses among the ingredients brought in fresh from the Old Country. The dining room works for date nights, an elegant "alley" with white tablecloths, earth-toned accents, and timbered beams overhead. 

On a more casual note, Williamsburg Pizza is a recent addition to the south side mix. A retro striped awning in front calls back to parlors of yore, with brick, tile, and chalkboard on the homey interior. There’s a smattering of tables for hunkering down over large-size pies with your choice of Brooklyn, Margherita, or Grandma crusts. The focus is on high-quality ingredients, although the “Fresh!” sign in front may have already alerted you to that. Toppings are modern enough to range from classic fresh-mozzarella Caprese to a vegan pie with spinach and caramelized onions. The San Marzano tomato sauce is made in-house, as are the cheeses, when they don’t come direct from Italy.
Between those two poles of Kings County stands Brooklyn Central. Park Slope’s latest pizza destination brings killer Neapolitan pies from pizzaolos who did time at The Spotted Pig and I Trulli. The menu divides into Old World classics and New World creativity, tied together by Brooklyn sourcing. Mozzarella and charcuterie are made in-house, and fresh ingredients fill out both the pizza toppings and seasonal salads. Park Slope’s favorite meal, brunch, launches Saturday. A couple of ringers are joining the regular pizza rotation. Ham and eggs meet gruyere and truffle for A.M. gourmets. If you’re shading more sweet than savory, check out the Banana Stonecake, a pancake-inspired combo of bananas, pecans, and syrup. Ladies and gentlemen, start your strollers.

New York: Top 10 Spots for Booze Flights

imageNo matter your poison, level of expertise, or income bracket — there’s no beating comparison shopping. So line up the wine, beer, whiskey, tequila, and even the house-infused vodka for the purpose of weeding out the bad so you can order up more of the good.

10. European Union (East Village) – When you don’t feel like burning your throat with the 5-for-$10 shot-deal at Continental, hit this spot where, for the same price, you’ll get a flight of five hand-crafted artisan beers. 9. I Trulli (Murray Hill) – Always seasonally appropriate with both a garden and a fireplace, the wine flights here go for $14, $15, and $26. 8. La Esquina (Nolita) – Prove wrong all those from Cali who say that NYC can’t master Mexican as you top off your meal with one of three tequila flights — the Blanco ($35), Respado ($40), or Anejo ($45).

7. Eighty One (Upper West Side) – Appropriately posh, the flight here comes with 1-oz. pours of Macallan’s Sherry Oak 12 Year Old, Fine Oak 15 Year Old, and Sherry Oak 18 Year Old — each paired with a changing bite menu that includes dishes like yellowtail tuna tartare with orange honey and yuzu ($30). 6. Artisanal (Kips Bay) – Nosh and kibitz as you enjoy one of 12 beer/wine flights ($27) paired with hand-crafted cheeses. 5. Flatiron Lounge (Flatiron) – There’s nothing simple about this spot’s trio of mini-martini flights ($22) concocted around themes like “a flight to Hawaii” (tropical fruits and rum) and “flight back in time” (Sazerac, Sidecar, Aviation cocktails). 4. Russian Vodka Room (Midtown West) – It will set you back a cool $45 for a flight of six, but for those into house-infused vodkas, there’s nothing quiet like this selection spanning the gamut from garlic to horseradish to peach. 3. Beer Table (Park Slope) – For those looking for a little education with their sampling, Beer Table hosts an informal tasting of five beers — each paired with cheese — every Monday at 7 p.m. ($30). 2. Dos Caminos (Kips Bay) – Give B.R. Guest some much-needed love and order Lick-the-Brick ($45) tequila flight served on a brick of Himalayan rock salt and paired with three flavor-infused salts — habanero champagne, lime sugar, and smoked. 1. Divine Bar West (Midtown West) – A funky décor, a menu full of exclamation points, nearly 20 flight options, and wine-tasting classes offered through their “vino-versity” make this a spot perfect for non-oenophile and connoisseurs alike.