204 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Cuisine: Italian, Brick Oven Pizza
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great
Cards: All Major
Hours: Mon-Fri, 4pm-11pm; Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-11pm
Booze: Full Bar
Subway: L to Bedford Ave.
Time Out New York says:
Though its name means “hugs and kisses” in Italian, Baci & Abbracci carefully balances its grandma-style Italian rusticity with a Euro-chic sensibility. Subtle architectural touches, like saucer-shaped light fixtures and a chrome-furniture-filled back garden, lend the casual eatery a modern, space-age look. The old-world influences pop up in the kitchen. The bulging wood-burning oven (imported from Naples) evokes the homeland, and Sorrento native Francesco Mastellone tosses the pies. In addition to pizzas, the menu includes classic dishes like sauteed calamari and veal milanese. We especially liked the polpa e patate appetizer, meaty hunks of octopus and boiled potato slices tossed with slivers of zesty raw garlic, olive oil and plenty of parsley. We also enjoyed a sauceless pizza topped with chewy smoked mozzarella, strips of mild pancetta and caramelized onions. Unfortunately, the crust lacked the crispness of a perfect thin-crust pie. A dessert, torta di nonna, with custardy sabayon, chocolate-cream piping, and crushed, toasted pine nuts and pecans, was named for — you guessed it — grandma.
NY Magazine says:
Patrons of this casual, low-fanfare eatery can bank on a warm welcome, if not the kisses and hugs promised in the restaurant’s name. The decor is inviting, too, with rustic tables, a wood-burning pizza oven, marble countertops, and Italian tilework. Balancing confident panache with unpretentious ease, B&A isn’t edgy or superhip and doesn’t strive to be. The kitchen favors solid, well-crafted renditions of antipasto, pasta, and pizza, including the welcome familiars linguini with clam sauce and four-cheese pie (quattro formaggi). Antipasti, served in generous, easy-to-share portions, focus on fresh vegetables and shellfish, and set off richer sauced dishes like the visually ravishing violette di Parma, jewel-toned red beet gnocchi in cheese sauce. But pizza is the high point here: With crusts that are tender, chewy, and crispy in all the right places, these pies boast decision-defying toppings like smoked mozzarella, pancetta, and caramelized onions, and fresh bufala mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and arugula. Lucky locals say that this newcomer is sure to give the now-established Fornino, which opened in 2005, a hearty run for its well-beloved pie. Mangia bene, Williamsburg.
Weekend brunch features frittatas and eggs Benedict along with eggs to order and a breakfast pizza, topped with tomato, mozzarella, egg, and diner’s choice of ham, sausage, or smoky pancetta.
Lattuga alla Trentina salad, $10; Baci & Abbraci pizza, $13