I’d been cursing this place the entire time ever since we left our warmth and wi-fi on St. Mark’s. It was a place I’d never heard of, I wasn’t so excited about eating there, the reviews were mixed, and it was hella far out of the way. We had some issues getting there that were entirely my fault; I walked Simon a quarter mile when we could have walked six streets to our subway stop, we ended up taking three trains instead of two, and we walked for 20 minutes instead of taking the bus.
Turns out one of the food bloggers at the meetup was sick, so she DMed the other one, but forgot to do the same for yours truly. A meetup is barely a meetup if one person cancels and the resulting meetup is cancelled.
We resigned to order from Il Porto and ask the guy behind the counter what he thinks is good. We got the Eggplant Calzone, White Pizza, and Neapolitan Pizza (pic in order from left to right).
The white pizza was white pizza, better than a lot of places, but it didn’t leave me breathless; it was the only item we didn’t take his suggestion on. Now the Neapolitan was better than most pizza that I have had in Manhattan. Was it better than most Neapolitans? I don’t know, but I don’t tend to order Neapolitans. I attribute this to the quality of the mozzarella and the wood-burning oven. We were pretty happy with the guy’s selections because I thought the eggplant calzone was damn tasty.
Turns out the guy was Vincent David, one of the owners of the 15-month old Il Porto. We told him why we were here and he wasn’t going to let us out of his sight without having the best of what the restaurant had to offer.
He hooked us up with the Gran-Ma (top):
Yelp Reviews: “Some of the best pizza around. It might sound like treachery to make that claim since they haven’t been here long, but it easily rivals the NYC mainstays.” – “It may take an hour, but daaamn. Gran-Ma Pie with pepperoni is like crack.”
My Review (On Yelp): “If you don’t try the Gran-Ma pizza, you are unfit to review Il Porto.”
Yeah, it was that good. Simon and I break it down for you:
The Spinach Salad with Porchetta (above the video) was great as well, you can hear my delight in this salad in the video.
The Dry Aged Steak (pic) was decent. The thing is, they need to have this dish because they are across the street from Steiner Studios (site). What happens when the star wants a steak? You get that star a steak, that’s what. You’re not going to be disappointed by the steak, however, it may not impress you like the Grand-Ma pizza. $26 for sixteen ounces of dry-aged steak is still a good deal. Ask them to hit it with a little Montreal or some Worcestershire for you.
Overall a pleasantly surprising experience at Il Porto; it exceeded expectations one-hundredfold.
Vincent handed me a super-frothy cappuccino as we left. Exactly what I needed on this cold January day. I get the feeling that if I stayed much longer, it might have turned into my favorite place in Brooklyn.
The IRL Arts Foundation and The Wandering Foodie thank Il Porto for providing this meal.
37 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205