One of the other blogs I follow from time to time is called Nona Brooklyn. The other day, I checked out Nona and read a great post about this new pizza joint in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn called PeteZaaz. Chef/Owner Peter Nentner comes from No. 7 – a delicious restaurant in my neighborhood of Fort Greene and the other Chef/Owner and “Dough Man”, Glen Hudson comes from Pulino’s – a popular Keith McNally pizza spot on the Lower East Side.
PeteZaaz was written about for their inventive and playful approach to pizza. The featured pizza that totally grabbed my attention was the Chili Con Carne pie… described in Nona Brooklyn here:
It’s got an ancho-based sauce. We use dehydrated ancho chilis and we rehydrate them with Sprite. We add garlic, onions, some lime zest, and we puree all that to make a nice little chili sauce. We braise some pork shoulder in the sauce, then we incorporate the rest of the sauce with a tomato sauce for the base for the pizza. We top it with the chopped braised pork shoulder, and I make a cream cheese burrata to top it as well.
We make our own fresh mozzarella in-house, at least twice a day. To make the burrata, I stretch some of the mozz and heat up some cream cheese, then stuff the warm cream cheese into a balloon of stretched mozzarella, and seal it up like a burrata. It’s like a mozzarella and cream cheese water balloon. After cooking it on the pizza, the cream cheese just oozes out.
When we pull the pizza out, we sprinkle it with cold pickled corn kernels, to give you a little acidic burst. Have you ever had Gushers candy? When you bite into a Gusher the juice comes shooting out, and I like that effect. With the cold pickled corn kernels, when you take a bite of the slice you get this burst of acidic flavor.
For crunch on that one we do a Cheez-It gremolata. I love Cheez-Its. I’ve been eating them forever. I mix crumbled Cheez-Its with lime zest, garlic, cilantro, parsley and Thai basil, and sprinkle that over the top for a little crunch.
I like to have an acidic component, a crunchy component and a sweet component as a base for all the pizzas. That’s the rule of thumb when we’re coming up with a pie.
Chilis rehydrated with Sprite? braised pork shoulder, a house-made mozzarella and cream cheese water balloon that oozes over the pie? I was so there. I immediately contacted some friends (Kelly & Val, who live around the block) and Amie and Rob and we made a date for this past Sunday.
Upon walking into PeteZaaz, we realized it wasn’t the best atmosphere for seating a table of six. It’s a long narrow entrance, where you can watch them making pies and grinding their own house-made sausage, which is cool, but the back seating area is pretty tight. We decided to order a bunch of pizzas (thankfully, we were six people, so we could order a lot and try most things on the menu!) and bring them home to Kelly & Val’s apartment.
Meanwhile, I was a little heartbroken when I found out that the chili-con-carne pie was just a special and was not available. BUMMER! But we managed to do alright with the other menu choices.
Here are Adam, Kelly & Rob waiting out front for our food…
So here’s the breakdown of our order:
One Baked Potato Pie (please forgive… the photo does not do this pie justice):
Baked Potato Pie – purple potatoes, applewood smoked bacon lardons
, white cheddar and green onion covered with heavenly creme fraiche
This pizza seriously rocked our worlds. It was definitely the favorite of all of us. It was basically like the best potato skin you’ve ever had (with the most amazing ingredients) served on top of this fresh, slightly crispy, slightly chewy amazing dough. It was to die for. I’m still craving more.
One Pie – Half Brooklyn (Tomato, House-Made Mozzarella and Marjoram), Half topped with House-Made Sweet Sausage
The house-made sausage on this baby was pretty amazing. That was my second-favorite item we ordered (after that life-changing baked potato pizza). Side note… I never ate sausage growing up. Like never. I thought it was gross. Since moving to New York, I have found a total love for sausage. It is now one of my favorite pizza toppings. And this sausage was outstanding.
One Pie – Half Pepperoni, Half Cold-Fried Chicken
Cold-Fried Chicken Pie – Curried Yellow Squash, Fontina, Stewed Collard Greens, Pickled Thai Chilis
I enjoyed the pepperoni pizza – they sliced up their pepperoni in thin strands and scattered them pretty uniformly throughout, which I liked… you got a little bit of pep in each bite! The cold-fried chicken pie was not my thing. The collards were hard to bite through and I just wasn’t crazy about the overall flavor in this pizza. But the rest were winners!
Valerie ordered a Kimchi Roll – House-made Mozzarella, Kimchi Bruschetta, Thai Basil Pesto and Fried Shallots
I’m not a huge kimchi fan, but I had a bite and thought this sandwich was pretty good. The fresh mozzarella was milky and delicious and the fried shallots were super tasty.
And Rob (our poor lactose-intolerant friend) ordered The Reuben Stromboli – Minus the Mozz - Pastrami, Sauerkraut, Chinese Mustard
I also took a bite of this one (it’s for the blog… I need to sample EVERYTHING!!). The pastrami was super yummy – of course, I would have liked it better with the cheese – I mean, look who you’re dealing with here. But another yummy dish – full of flavor for sure!
So – that was our PeteZaaz experience. I would definitely hit this place up again. Kelly and Val are lucky to live so close. And they deliver!! Next time I would have to get the Baked Potato pie again – only because it’s just divinely delicious. But I’m hoping they get rid of the Cold-Fried Chicken pie and add the Chili-Con-Carne pie instead as a regular menu item… there has been some rumor of that according to Nona Brooklyn. Fingers crossed… I have to try that chili pie!!
Meanwhile, even Lola the pup was digging this pizza:
Thanks for a delicious Sunday afternoon meal PeteZaaz
. I will definitely be back for more!