WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2015
Celebrating its ten-year anniversary this weekend, Prospect Park pizzeria Amorina (624 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn) has been a neighborhood joint “since way before this was at all a food place,” says Ellen Fishman, who, along with her husband, Albano Ballerini, owns and runs the restaurant, where they host and cook.
“People thought we were crazy, and that we’d never last, but here we are, a decade on.
“We live in the neighborhood. Our kids grew up here. My son is working here right now. And we’ve had servers and customers here for so long — we really know people. Last night I was chatting to a couple who had their first date here and had come in with their two children. There’s a family we see quite often — the wife went into labor here! We named a pizza after her daughter Hazel to celebrate.”
Amorina serves up Roman-style thin-crust pizza and seasonal pastas and salads rooted in tradition. “My husband, Albano, grew up in Italy,” says Fishman. “His grandmother founded an ice cream … Read more >
The New Yorker
Amorina is a study in contradictions. The bright lights, set in mismatched fixtures, the neon sign in the window, and the takeout service seem to indicate a neighborhood pizza joint, but the relatively high prices—twelve dollars for most of the individual pies—seem more in line with the artisanal aspirations of Franny’s, another lofty-minded pizza place, two blocks over, on Flatbush Avenue. (On the other hand, Amorina also offers a takeout special, listed on a blackboard behind the counter: two slices and a drink for five dollars.) The Italian memorabilia on the walls—vintage ice-cream and soda ads, a map of Umbria and Le Marche, receipts from the café that the grandmother of the owner, Albano Ballerini, operated in Italy—speak of tradition, but the menu includes such unconventional offerings as the Giallorossa, with dried cherries, nutmeg, and crème fraîche.
Ruth Kaplan, the pizzaiola, produces almost perfectly charred and crispy crusts, and creates their toppings with an eye to detail: thinly sliced, almost transparent zucchini laid out like an emerald mosaic and laced with pesto; atop the tricolore pizza, a … Read more >
(Photo: Kenneth Chen)
After opening what might be New York’s most idiosyncratic wine bar—Prospect Heights’ rustic Aliseo Osteria del Borgo—Albano Ballerini continues to remake burgeoning Vanderbilt Avenue in his own offbeat culinary image. Ballerini’s family has been in the food business since his grandmother opened a café in the Marche region of Italy, and in her honor, he’s transformed a Brooklyn slice joint into a boutique focacceria. Pizza chef Ruth Kaplan, an Aliseo customer and avid home cook whose puffy, free-form pies got her the Amorina gig, has a toppings repertoire that runs the gamut from classic (tomatoes and mozzarella) to creative (dried cherries, nutmeg, orange peel, and crème fraîche). Homey pastas like spaghetti and meatballs perfectly suit the cozy room, which has been outfitted with red-checked-cloth-covered tables, salvaged menu boards, and Ballerini’s grandmother’s yellowing invoices and receipts.
624 Vanderbilt Ave., nr. Prospect Pl., Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; 718-230-3030… Read more >