You really have to hustle these days to keep up with all great the new slice joints popping up around town. But here's one, just opened in Downtown Brooklyn on Adams Street, that's not only the best possible food news if you live or work nearby, but is also extremely worthy of a pizza adventure this fall from wherever you are. It's called Norm's Pizza, it's from the same team behind the excellent Upside Pizza near Port Authority, and it instantly vaults into my personal Top 3 slice spots in NYC.
Noam Grossman is your main guy here, the front man and head pizzaiolo who came up with the all-new recipes with help from pizza-ninja Anthony Falco. The kitchen is tiny at Norm's, even smaller than at Upside, so Grossman and Falco had to strip it all down and go simple. The only thing you can get here are classic NYC folds, slices or pies, with no squares, no crazy toppings, no sides. The crust is made from house-milled flour and naturally leavened sourdough, and is pleasantly thin and slightly crisp throughout, all while staying far away from cracker-crust territory. It fills you up but won't sit too heavy in your stomach.
Prices are on the higher end at $3 to $4.50 for a slice, but Grossman remains committed to using high quality ingredients, all selected after months of tastings. The fantastic Pepperoni slice gets its cups from Ezzo, for example; the olive oil drizzled over the superb White slice is Frankie's 457 EVOO (the ricotta on this beauty, with a touch of lemon zest, will buckle your knees); and the Vodka slice is defined by its slightly spicy sauce that Grossman apparently reverse engineered from the one they put over rigatoni at Carbone's.
This latter one was possibly my overall favorite, though the Cheese was also top-notch, bright, sharp, and deftly avoiding the sweetness the shatters so many pizza dreams. Meanwhile, the terrific Margherita features homemade basil oil. Really, I'd order any of the five again in a heartbeat. There will definitely be a line situation here at lunchtime once word gets out.
The kitchen, prep, and storage area may be minuscule at Norm's, but there's actually more space for customers than at Upside, including a nifty seating nook that was still in-progress over the weekend. Otherwise there's one table sticking out from the wall, a counter by the window, and about a half dozen stools. Grabbing one of tables on the sidewalk is the real move though while the weather is warm.
The name of the place is an inside joke, by the way; for Grossman's whole life people have misheard his first name, and called him "Norm."
Norm's Pizza is located at 345 Adams Street, just north of Fulton Street, and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 to 9 p.m. (347-916-1310; normspizza.com)