Culinary Field Notes: When In Brooklyn….
Plated recipe editor Jennifer En may love her job in general, but once a month, her belly thanks her big time for her career choices. Read her account of one of the perks of being on Plated’s Culinary team—going on a monthly outing to explore NYC’s diverse food scene.
My gig as Plated’s recipe editor requires that I join the Culinary team on a monthly field trip to see what’s good in the food world. We put on our fashion-forward stretch pants to explore the Big Apple, eat a ton, and most importantly, get inspiration for the recipes you see on the menu every week. Our recent outing took us straight to the door of L&B Spumoni Gardens, one of NYC’s oldest and most revered pizzerias.
Situated for more than half a century in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn—a low-key Italian enclave in NYC—L&B Spumoni Gardens is beloved for its Sicilian pizza, or “Grandma-style” slices. Its name, Spumoni, means “ice cream” in Italian, which was the original business concept prior to the Second World War. Since the 1950s, the dessert parlor has grown into a busy, full-scale restaurant serving up a variety of classic Italian-American dishes, its famous square slices, and, of course, its namesake treat.
We started our meal with the eatery’s signature Sicilian pizza because “when in Brooklyn….” Crispy, chewy crust is directly topped with cheese, followed by flavorful tomato sauce, then finished with dustings of pecorino romano and splashes of fragrant olive oil. We love this unique pizza architecture for its simplicity and deference to a handful of fresh, high-quality ingredients. Pasta standouts? Huge platters of rigatoni alla vodka and linguine tossed in a garlicky clam sauce. (Expect to sample some of this delicious Italian inspiration on our upcoming menus!) And then there was the legendary house dessert, a magical creation straight from our sugary dreams: a psychedelic combo of ice cream cones, mounds of tartufo, fudgy brownies, whipped cream, and sprinkles as far as the eye can see.
There’s a nostalgic quality about dining at L&B Spumoni Gardens. The family-style vibes and crowds of people in line for square slices and Italian ices evoke the endless days of summer—especially in the midst of an unseasonably warm December in the Northeast. As we enjoyed our meal amongst other giddy patrons, of course we were already thinking of ways to bring the best parts of dinner back to you—through the menu dishes you see each week.