La Villa's Focaccia di Nonna


La Villa Park Slope

261 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215 (at Garfield Place; map); 718-499-9888;
The Skinny: The focaccia di nonna has a crisp-chewy crust with fresh mozzarella layered under garlicky, crushed San Marzano tomatoes
Pizza Style: New York-Neapolitan
Oven Type: Wood Stone gas-assist wood-fired oven
Price: Small round (reviewed), $14. Large thin-crust Sicilian, $24; large round, $24; small deep-dish, $14

There's an old saying about defecation in the area in which one dines. It's not to be done.

That's what's kept me from really going into detail about La Villa in Park Slope. It's about half a block from my home, and I eat there frequently.

The nonpizza food there has always been good—and the portions are insane. You can pretty much feed two people from one dish or take the rest home for a second meal.

But the pizza, as good as it's been, has never really done it for me. I figured out why this weekend.

It's not like it was ever a question why my pies weren't always optimal examples of the pizza arts. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I get them as take-out and eat them at home (I like to watch trashy TV while I eat). The steam from the box utterly destroys the crispness and springiness of the crust.


The La Villa upskirt.

When I eat in the dining room there, for various reasons, I order nonpizza dishes 99 percent of the time. The last time I was there, I went with the focaccia di nonna, a pizza with homemade mozzarella, crushed San Marzano tomatoes, basil, fresh garlic, and Tuscan olive oil.

It's excellent when fresh from the oven. The crust is crisp, springy, and chewy. The fresh mozzarella is layered under a generous covering of garlicky tomatoes and remains creamy and melty.

The specimen I sampled Friday night was eye-opening, and I think I've got a new routine. I'm ordering and eating at the bar from now on. And I'll take the remaining slices home. This particular pie keeps well. The juicy tomato topping keeps it from drying out in fridge, so it serves up cold brilliantly. I can always eat the leftovers in front of the boob tube.

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