A few months ago Erin and I went to check out a new place in our hood. It was a week after the place had first opened on a Friday night after 8pm. We knew we were going to be screwed to get a table so we just accepted the fact that we would be drinking alot before dinner. We went in, they tell us it would be about an hour and we scurried to the bar. While at the bar we met a guy named Justin talking about his new place he was opening in the hood. We proceeded to have drinks and we had a great time as he went into passionate detail about his new place, Speedy Romeo. He sounded so excited about it that we couldn’t wait til it opened. It almost sounded too good to be true.
Weeks later we see an episode of Chopped and there is Justin Bazdarich in the thick of competition. Everything he was making looked really good and I figured this will bode well for his new place he told us about opening. He almost won that episode with some very to the point flavors. He also spoke some more about Speedy Romeo, shit I almost forgot the name by then, and it got us interested again. I did a little research and started to follow all the buzz about this place. I told Erin as soon as they open we were in there. One week after opening we decided to take my mom and dad there to check it out… and were we ever so happy we did.
As you get to the corner of Greene and Classon in Clinton Hill you will notice this old facade of an auto parts store with a “liquors” sign on the corner. Yup, you are at the right place. As you walk in there is a very nice and warm feeling from the decor. Open kitchen and bar to the right and seating on the left. It’s a perfect and cozy layout. It was a Friday night and it was really busy but the staff took care of us right off the bat very well. They had a table for us within 15 minutes. I do suggest though that if you are coming on a Friday or Saturday night get there by 7:30.
My mom, dad, Erin and myself sat down and made a selection of drinks from their varied beer and wine list – The list is nice and a well rounded compliment to the menu. We then decided to go with some appetizers, a pizza and our main entree. The first pizza we ordered was their house special Saint Louie. This is a great example of what this place is all about. Midwest meets Italy with a slap of new Brooklyn thrown in for good measure. This brick oven pie had Provel (a type of mixed cheese from the Mid West), Italian Sausage, Pepperoni and the best pickled chilies (btw they give you these on the table to put on everything… my dad and I couldn’t stop eating them). The creamy cheese with the sausage and amazing spicy chilies gave it this perfect blend of tart, spicy and creamy that I wish every one of my meals started off with.
I am not going to bore you with every single dish, even though they were all amazing and I will be back for more, but I will pick some highlights. Besides the Saint Louie there was the Speedy Romeo pizza. Grilled dough, amazing ricotta, basil with a splash of lemon and chilies. Such a perfect pizza in its simplicity and execution. The Mozzarella salad is a must have too. The combination of the eggplant and mint gave the home made mozzarella a perfect contrast to shine it’s home made creaminess. Don’t sleep on the grilled octopus appetizer either. Its exactly how I expect grilled octopus to be done…simple and to the point. I don’t need no fucking foie gras melted on mine… I want it straight up with a little almond romesco…period…donezo.
Speaking of grilled… get anything that is grilled. We ordered three things off the grill and were all so happy. Look, if you cook anything over a wood grill its alot better than that blue flame garbage you get off of your cousin Joey’s Weber backyard grill. My mom ordered the Whole Branzino which she likened to how she gets it in the Adriatic in Istrian restaurants… simple and perfect. My short rib was exactly how I like to cook it for myself… done through, with a little tooth to it. Sorry but this trend of mush style shortrib is a joke, I still want it to look and feel like meat and here it did. Add the baked potato and whipped Lardo and damn this is just over the top goodness. My dad ordered the steak and said it was one of the best steaks ever. This is coming form a guy who eats at some of the best steak houses in NYC on the regular.
And just when you think the meal is over the deserts come. Now most of these new Brooklyn eateries tend to just throw whatever onto the menu when it comes to deserts. Now I ain’t expecting them to do some El Bulli madness but give me something to end my meal on. Put the effort into it already people. The folks at Speedy Romeo not only put the effort into it but hit you over the head with deserts that are a perfect end to the meal. The highlights included the olive oil cake with citrus salad and pine nuts. This desert, in its weird combination of ingredients, reminded me of Venice for some reason. The flavors all together reminded me of cakes I had there as a child on family visits. Moist, crunchy and tart all together. And even though it was an olive oil cake it never felt heavy handed at all. The other highlight was chocolate cake with branded marshmallow and graham crumbs. This is basically the cake equivalent of a camp fire Smore. All those familiar textures and flavors you remember from your camping trips put onto this one little plate with a cake that is off the hook. If you are a chocolate freak this one is for you.
Now I would love to tell you how this place sucks so that you never go there and I always have a seat…. but I just can’t do that. Speedy Romeo is such a great place on the Brooklyn culinary map. It’s exactly what it should be… an Italian inspired Brooklyn eatery with amazing food and a warm and friendly staff. Everything we had was on point and exactly how Justin described it that first night. You can tell the passion that goes not only into the food but also the entire experience of Speedy Romeo which has officially vaulted itself to the top of my list and winning the race.