Lucali is famous for its wait, the occasional visits from Beyoncé, the fact that the owner and chef had never actually been to Italy when he opened this place, and, of course, its pizza.
Deep in Carroll Gardens, this restaurant is packed full of locals, Manhattanites who've journeyed here for the (maybe) best pizza in NYC, and a couple of in-the-know tourists, every night of the week. Get there early, and be prepared to disappear for a while to wait. On our first visit the wait was around four hours (I'm not exaggerating). The second, it was closer to two. So make sure you have a pre-dinner drinks option planned before you go. We're fans of August Laura, which is only a couple of blocks away.
You could also use this time to go and select your wine to drink with dinner. Lucali is entirely BYO. If you forget, you'll be having Pepsi. So don't do that.
When you do get inside, it's obvious why everyone is happy to spend so long waiting to walk over the guarded threshold. Tables are spaced out through the front half of the room. The back half is taken up by an expansive kitchen space. The lights are dimmed to that perfect this-is-romantic-but-I-can-still-see-you level, wood furniture adds a hint of traditional Italian trattoria, and everyone is talking, whispering, laughing, sipping, and eating slice after slice of pizza.
There's not really a menu. Someone will recite the toppings to you as they open your wine, and the rest is up to you. Select the toppings and the size of pizza. As a general rule, one large pizza between two fairly hungry people is ideal. I'll let you pick your own toppings. Our favorite has to be simply as it comes, topped with all the basil and garlic the kitchen has on hand.
Start pouring the wine, and sip away until your crisp, thin, sizzling pizza arrives on its pedestal. Fold each slice and eat. I guarantee you'll declare this to be the best pizza you've ever had in the city. It's probably true.
Lucali, 575 Henry Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231.