Carroll Gardens’ Lucali is a youthful pizzeria, opened on Columbus Day 2006. The smoky parlor is an old soul, though, with a vested interest in the Henry Street of yore, one dotted with members-only social clubs and egg cream stool-swivelers like Louie’s Candy Shop. Neighborhood native Mark Iacono is the fountainhead of this nostalgia. It was Iacono who rescued a dying Louie’s from gentrification, and in an inspired move decided to dedicate both himself and the boarded-up soda shop to something he had never tried before: the art of pizza making. As a pizzaiolo, he is in the vein of Dom DeMarco. Like the Di Fara master, Iacono handcrafts each 18-inch pie himself; uses a multitude of cheeses including buffalo mozzarella and grana padana; and is liberal with the olive oil. Yet the pizza here is undeniably his own—sliver-crusted, char-bubbled and airy. The brick oven is wood-fired, but the pies achieve a remarkable coal-quality crispness. Ultra-fresh toppings like pepperoni, hot peppers and artichoke hearts don’t detract, and twinned, whole leaves of basil should be de rigueur. Calzones in two sizes—stuffed with any of the toppings—are the only other menu item. This old-fashioned simplicity seems all right with the new neighbors, however, colonized as they are around the rough-hewn wooden tables and huddled in buzzy clusters outside on the sidewalk, sipping from brown-bagged BYO bottles.
575 Henry St. (near First Pl.), Brooklyn; 718-858-4086