Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Brownstone Pizzeria in Eagle Rock

Casa Bianca this, Casa Bianca that. Every night (except Sunday and Monday) you'll see the people lined up, patiently waiting, sitting in white plastic chairs, standing around, waiting up to an hour, on the corner of Colorado and Vincent, for that famed Casa Bianca pizza.

Others would see Casa Bianca and its citywide legend as an intimidating force that could never be defeated. Did not Casa Bianca own the pizza market in Eagle Rock (putting aside Pizza Man and Capri for the time being)?

Brownstone Pizza saw Casa Bianca's outsized reputation and its overflow of demand as an opportunity. Brownstone had the temerity to challenge the supremacy of Casa Bianca on Colorado. And as an eight-year resident of New York City, I'll tell you this: Brownstone is giving Casa Bianca a run for its money. There's more than one pizza game in town, and Brownstone is not to be slept on.

They've got a thin New-York style crust at Brownstone. The crust is crispy and light, with just the proper amount of thickness. The pizza dough has a great flavor that I haven't found at any other L.A. pizza place, and haven't come close to since I left the East Coast. The amount of sauce and cheese is just right. The slices are neither too hard nor too floppy. There can be a tendency for things to slide when the pie is hot, with extra cheese or a lot of toppings and you're bringing it home in the car -- but with the standard cheese, margherita, pepperoni, vegetarian, etc., the pie will almost always be excellent.

The owners at Brownstone realize they're still making a name for themselves and that their main competition has a nearly sixty-year head-start on them. But the people at Brownstone are savvy. They've teamed up with the good people at Colorado Wine Company, next door. It's easy to order a pie from Brownstone, go into CoWineCo for a nice glass of wine or beer, get your pie, and enjoy it in the sweet lounge area at the back of the wine store. Of course, Brownstone has a decent selection of beer available in their store.

Another possibility: call ahead, pick up a pie at Brownstone, and take it down the street to The Black Boar. The Black Boar will let you bring in whatever food you want. They've got nice big tables at The Black Boar that would work great for a few pints and a huge extra-large pie from Brownstone. Result: easy and convenient good time in your neighborhood. If delivery to the pub could be arranged, I might never leave the 90041 again.

I can't help but root for Brownstone. They're the new kid on the block, and they're offering the neighborhood an excellent product. I've never been disappointed. Keep waiting in line at Casa Bianca if you want, by all means. But know that just a few blocks away, a great New York-style thin crust is available in just a few minutes, with no waiting around. Heck, you can even have a glass of wine and chat with the friendly folks at CoWineCo while your pie cooks.

Inexplicably, Brownstone closes at 9 p.m. -- just when some people are working up an appetite. Brownstone, stay open later! We will come and eat your pizza late! I guarantee you that.

What a neighborhood. Count your blessings.


Tokyoastrogirl said...

Nice review, thanks.

Could you post more food photos in your restaurant reviews? I live in Highland Park but haven't been to a few of these.......would love to take a look at the grub they are offering.


Nancy said...

I hear you on the 9 p.m. thing. Spitz is around that time too. Why does Eagle Rock go to bed so early? I usually have to satisfy late-night pizza cravings at Two Boots in Echo Park. (Which I highly recommend!)

gilliebean said...

My husband and I went to Brownstone the other night. While there wasn't any vegan dough for my vegan friend who decided to keep going up the street to The Coffee Table, I really enjoyed their antipasto salad. My husband had the margherita pizza. He liked it.

Anonymous said...

As a native Californian who has also spent some time living in New York, I can tell you Brownstone Pizza is the real deal. One thing they do better than most NYC pizzerias, in my opinion, is they only par bake their pies that are going to be sold as slices, and finish baking when you order. So the dough is a little more elastic, and less crispy. The common practice in NYC is to fully bake, then reheat, which results in the occasional burned spot, as well as a crispier crust. They do this so they can show the finished product in the display case, which certainly whets the appetite as well as helping one make a selection.

Yes, LA is pretty barren of real New York pizza. I suggest you might also want to try Tomato Pie, in Silver Lake and also near Fairfax High on Melrose. Owned by a native New Yorker who makes real New York pizza. There is also La Monica's in Westwood, but I can't comment on their pizza as I haven't been there in over 10 years. And Mr. Pizza on Fairfax across from Canter's. A real NYC pizza, but they use a little too much romano for my taste, and their crust is super thin yet still stretchy.

For my money though, it's Brownstone, then Tomato Pie.