As native New Yorkers, Lew and I know a good pizza. We suffered through 30 years with the pretend stuff in Washington, DC (with the exception of Vace in Cleveland Park—a shout out to them) and once we returned to the Big Apple we became semi-regular schleppers down to John’s Pizza in the West Village.
So imagine our delight and surprise when lovely neighbors Anne and David gave us a list of places not to miss in our new Red Hook home, and Lucoli Pizza was on it. How good is Lucoli? We can’t remember the last time we were at John’s. THAT’S how good.
Lucoli’s is a no-frills spot in a non-descript business center on Broadway in Red Hook. But don’t let that fool you. Walk in and you will be transported, as we were, by the smells and bustle of the place. What makes Lucoli’s so great? A few things:
- Fresh mozzarella made in-house DAILY
- Thin crust. Really thin crust. So think it crackles. Because as any true pizzafficinato knows, it’s NEVER about the crust. Lucoli’s crust is so good it holds its shape in your hand-you actually don’t even need a plate.
- A virtual plethora (I love that word) of toppings. All fresh and locally sourced. We’re working our way down them. I’m personally looking forward to the lamb/tahini ones.
- Every pizza is cooked when you are there in their custom built wood and gas fired brick oven. You call up and place your order. They assemble it while you drive over. When you arrive, they put it in the oven for a few minutes until it is cooked. The pizzas are then put in a nice thick cardboard box, sliced, and you are sent home with a fresh, hot pizza pie!
- Homemade sauce from fire roasted, local (when possible) tomatoes.
- Friendly service. They’ll chat you up while you’re waiting for your pizza.
A review of Lucoli’s would not be accurate without a discussion of the oven. It’s the custom made oven that separates Lucoli’s from all other pizzarias. Nobile, who owns and operates the pizzeria, designed the oven which is both wood and gas fired. Nobile prefers the combination of wood and gas because together they infuse just the right amount of smoke into the dough as the pizza cooks. Lew loves to watch the pizza cook in the oven. Here is a video:
Last night we treated our houseguest/honorary daughter Torie to Lucoli’s, choosing roasted garlic, onion, and red pepper toppings. Here’s a picture of it when Lew got home:
I wish I had set a timer on the phone because an “after” picture of an empty box would have been shot about six minutes later. Not a crust, pepper, garlic clove left. Comments (between bites) ranged from “I can’t stop eating this” to “Oh hell, it’s all gone.”
On a subsequent visit, Lew ordered a pizza with roasted garlic (notice a trend?) and sausage. Another delicious combination with generous amounts of both toppings:
Lucoli’s offers take-out or eat-in. The shop is very small with only a few tables so if you want to eat there, you may have to wait on a line—we prefer to bring it home. Options abound: a large pizza with choice of toppings, individual pizzas with either pre-selected from their menu or again with your choice of toppings. They also offer homemade soups and salads. Lew ordered the red lentil soup, made with organic red lentils and roasted onions.
How good is this soup? I’ve made lentil soup for years and my best efforts don’t even come close to this. From the first taste subtle spices emerged and then stayed on my tongue, getting stronger and richer as I devoured the bowl. How good is this soup? So good that I messaged Nobile to see if I was correct in tasting curry, cumin, and red pepper blended with the lentils. And he messaged me back to confirm my delighted palate with the following info:
Thank you very much for your comment. Yes you have guessed all the spices in addition there is red and black pepper as you noticed the ratios cumin to curry is two to one. Cook the onions, garlic and spices with olive oil separately and boil the red lentils in water and salt over hot flame until lentils are not recognizable as beans then combine the onions, garlic and spices with the cooked lentils while still as hot as possible and mix well. Enjoy and thanks again.
For dessert, they have housemade cannolis. Freshly filled so the shells are not soggy. Yum!
Lucoli’s is becoming a nearly weekly outing for us, in fact I now wait until Thursday to drive up from the city. Because when I drove up on Wednesdays, I realized they were closed and my disappointment was just too much. So go. And start working your way down the menu, just as we are doing.
Know Before You Go:
When you call to order you’ll be given a short time frame for pick up. But understand that when you arrive, the pizza is assembled but not yet cooked. They put the pizza in the oven when you arrive so it stays hot and fresh. It takes only a few minutes in the oven.
The small shop is very kid-friendly. If you want an evening out without any clean-up, bring the kids there to eat.
7476 South Broadway, Red Hook NY 12571
Hours of operation:
Monday and Thursday : 3PM-9PM
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12-9PM
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday