Elizabeth Faulkner has done well at the TV chef-lebrity thing, appearing as both contestant and judge in programs such as Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America, as well as popping up in many other similar shows from the world of Reality Cooking TV. Faulkner also had a good run in her native San Francisco, running the kitchens of a pair of popular spots, Citizen Cake and Orson.
But late last fall Faulkner embarked upon the toughest, most fraught-with-peril leg of her career yet: slinging pizza here in Brooklyn, where there are already more great slices and pies than you can swing an oven paddle at, and is home to a population of eaters that is notoriously, shall we say, opinionated about such things. Faulkner’s Brooklyn restaurant is called Krescendo, it’s an unassuming-looking place on the Boerum Hill stretch of Atlantic Avenue, and, good news for her and the residents of Brooklyn, the pizza here (and most everything else!) is first rate.
Krescendo Has Not One, but TWO Pizza Ovens
There are two pizza ovens at Krescendo, because the Krescendo menu offers two kinds of pizza: a trio of simply-topped, cheese-and-tomato pies under the heading Pizza Napoleta; about eight far more ambitious creations in the Pizza Italiana Classica section. Here you’ll find the Californication, a multi-ingredient pile-up of mozzarella, goat cheese, padron peppers, prosciutto, walnut arugula pesto, arugula proper, AND a “hint of honey”. The potential for disaster is high on a pie like this, but all reports indicate that Faulkner pulls it off.
Likewise with her “‘Mark’ Vetri”, which combines creamy fior di latte, sharp pecorino, drizzles of extra virgin olive oil, chunks of mortadella, and pistachio pesto. And then there’s the pie I’m currently crushing on at Krescendo, the Finocchio Flower Power, which won something called the Caputo Cup Worlds Pizza Championship in Napoli last year and is like throwing the greatest ever fennel festival in your mouth, plus cheese. Seriously, this beauty’s got braised fennel, plus fennel fronds, plus fennel sausage, plus fennel pollen, and then also adds on some creamy panna, some shaved provolone, some Calabrese chili powder, some olive oil…. It is delicious.
Krescendo Offers More than just Great Pizza
And even though pizza’s definitely the thing here at Krescendo, don’t sleep on the rest of Chef Faulkner’s menu. The pastas all sound pretty appealing (especially that one with sardines… or that other one, with all the meat), and have received lots of internet acclaim. And I really enjoyed my Fried Cod Fish starter, which for some reason is in the Isalate section–because of the celery and greens, I guess–but is really about the moist, rich fish, the potatoes, the cannellini beans, all doused in a lemony dressing. This is one of those great piles of flavors and textures that always makes me wary of overkill but, in this case, totally works.
The service at Krescendo is friendly and efficient in that classic neighborhood spot sort of way, which certainly fits in with whole low-key atmosphere of the place. Chef Faulkner seems to be perfectly happy making good food for her new neighbors, the residents of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Brooklyn Heights, but that doesn’t mean that Krescendo isn’t worth the trip from points father north and south and, even, yes, from across the river in Manhattan.
Krescendo is located on Atlantic Avenue between Hoyt and Bond Streets and is open for dinner from Tuesday throug Sunday from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., and for lunch on the weekends from noon until 4:00 p.m. Closed Mondays. More info and the complete Krescendo menu, here.